If what you´re looking for is freedom, then calisthenics is just one of the sports for you. To train you need only one thing: your body. However, if you want to get serious with Progressive Calisthenics, you will definitely benefit from the following tools. In this guide we show you the must-have calisthenics equipment that will make your workouts a whole new thing. To make a optimal search for your new equipment, take a look at our calisthenics shop. You will find most of the items shown in this article.
What you will learn in ths article:
Chairs & Table
This is not a real workout tool. Chairs are really good if you don’t have any kind of equipment and still want to make your workouts as comprehensive as possible. The biggest pro of the chairs is that you can do exercises that are impossible on the ground. You can do dips, knee and leg raises, step ups, exercises to target your back and bicep as well as calisthenics skills. Please always make sure that your chairs are stable enough and that you’re sticking to a safe execution.
Another good tool that you can find at home are tables. Similar to the chairs you got many different exercises that are impossible to do on the ground. In our Home Workout Program we follow the same approach. All exercises can be done with your furniture or no equipment all at. If you want to know more about the program just head over to calimove.com.
Push Up Handles & Parallettes
The next tools are push up handles and parallettes. Push up handles are great if you’re looking for a handy piece of equipment that easily fits in a backpack. They are also pretty useful if you’re suffering from wrist problems. To minimize wrist pressure simply use them in any exercise that you would normally do with your hands flat on the floor. Another benefit is that you can get a bit deeper than on the ground and with that increase the range of motion for many push focused exercises. There are even push up handles that allow you to rotate your hands during the movement, which can be great if you suffer from shoulder pain in fixed positions.
Parallettes on the other hand are often a bit longer and higher. The additional height can be quite helpful to perform L-Sit Variations, Full ROM Handstand Push Ups and any kind of transfers between a supporting and an overhead position. The downside is that they are not that handy compared to push up handles and that it’s a bit harder to kick yourself up into a Handstand. The additional height could also scare you a bit in the beginning but this should get better over time.
For some exercises it can still be good to have a partner that spots you until you get used to the parallettes. When it comes to the height we suggest anything between 25-35 cm. This height is not too high or too low. We also prefer parallettes with wooden handles but this is more of a personal preference. Of course you’ll find the push up handles, the parallettes and all other tools from the video on our website, just click on equip and check our offers.
These are very similar to regular parallettes, but also offer a few more benefits. The biggest pro is that you can do more exercises on them. Due to the additional height you can do dips, different row variations, leg raises, pull up holds and even front lever training. The downside is that they need way more space than the lower parallettes and that all kinds of handstand kick ups, press ups and transfers are way more challenging, even more than on regular parallettes.
So always practice these exercises on lower parallettes first and make sure that you are able to exit the handstand safely every single time. Otherwise you might learn it the hard way. When it comes to the height we suggest anything that allows you to extend your arms at the bottom of rows without touching the ground. Usually this is between: 70-80 cm.
Pull Up Bars
Next on our list are doorframe pull up bars. While high parallettes allow you to do some pull focused exercises, the pull up bar actually allows you to do real pull ups as well as hanging leg raises, skin the cat and other exercises that you can do in a hanging position. Also make sure you get a solid pull up bar that you can attach savley, at least If you don’t want this to happen, we suggest doorframe pull up bars like this one. They are safer than most telescope bars and you can also set them up at max height!
Rings are really a must have calisthenics equipment. They are the BEST tool for the upper body, period! No other piece of equipment offers the same usability in combination with utility. Rings are great, because they allow your joints to move freely and don’t force them into certain positions. Exercises that are way better on rings than on bars are Uneven pull ups, Archer pull ups, Archer Push Ups and False Grip Muscle Ups to name just a few. There are also some bodyweight exercises that can only be done properly on rings like chest flys, Ring Rollouts, 360 Pulls, iron cross variations and many others.
Rings are also very handy and cheap. Just put them into your backpack and train outside. You can fix them on beams, trees and any other stable object you can find out there. The only downside is that the additional stability component makes supporting exercises way harder on rings. So if you’re a beginner we recommend learning all basic exercises on rigid bars or on the ground first. If you want to get a pair of rings we suggest wooden ones with a thickness between 2.8cm and 3.2 cm. Also look for numbered straps and a stable buckle.
When it comes to calisthenics you can use bands to make exercises easier, like when training for skills. You can also use them to make exercises harder like when doing regular push ups. The most important thing about bands is the effect on the natural strength curve. For that we take a look at band assisted pull ups and dips. When it comes to the dips, it matches the natural strength curve. It supports yourself in the lowest position, which is the hardest part of the dip more than at the top. When it comes to pull ups it’s the opposite. So the band supports yourself way more in the lowest position, which is the easiest part of the pull up, than at the top.
This is not optimal but should be no problem if you include other beginner friendly pull up exercises into your workout as well. Good options are negative and feet assisted pull ups. One last thing you need to know is about the strength of the band. A thinner band offers less, a thicker band more resistance. Depending on the band the resistance lies between 5-60kg. In any band you have a range of resistance, because the more you stretch it the higher the resistance. A good allrounder is a medium band with 10-30kg resistance. Bands are not mandatory but are a great addition to your calisthenics training.
Weight Vests & Weight Belts
Adding additional weight can not be called pure calisthenics anymore but this is no reason to neglect it. Of course weights are not essential because you can modify nearly all calisthenics exercises in other ways. For example: If pull ups, rows and push ups are too easy try the archer version. Some people still prefer additional weight because it allows you to do the basic form of the movement with a higher intensity. Weight vests and belts are both good but for some exercises it’s way better to use a vest such as any form of push ups and leg exercises. That´s why we decided to include them in our must have calisthenics equipment guide.
The belt on the other hand offers a better way to modify the weight easily. Weight vests are usually limited to a certain weight. Depending on the type it can be a bit more laborious to add or remove some of it. We recommend vests with comfortable shoulder pads. This keeps the edges of the straps from causing excess friction. In addition, the fit of the vest is important to consider. A good vest fits close to your body while still allowing you to move freely. Too loose can be uncomfortable and impractical. For belts make sure you’re getting one with a high quality chain & carabiners.
In case you have no belts or a vest you can also use a backpack filled with books or water bottles. If you’re short on money we suggest getting rings. They are cheap and offer the most bang for the buck. If you’re an absolute beginner you could also stick to high parallettes in combination with a doorframe pull up bar. Only make sure you are able to do pull as well as push exercises. Of course we also included options for all of these tools in our calisthenics workout programs. No matter if you want to train on rings, do weighted calisthenics or train with no equipment at all, we got you covered. Just head over to calimove.com and pick the right program for your needs.
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