Thursday, 23 May 2024

Calisthenics, Roundup

15 Best Calisthenics Equipment For Home | Bars, Handles & Gear

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You’ve decided that calisthenics is the discipline that gets your blood pumping and drives your desire for results. Now, you’re ready to invest in the best calisthenics equipment for your home gym.

It doesn’t matter what your fitness level is, everyone can benefit from calisthenics training. Calisthenics exercises can be done with only your body weight and little to no equipment at all.

However, if you have the burning passion to progress and see greater results with this discipline, we suggest you purchase a few pieces of equipment.

But, between calisthenics rings, power towers, the pull up bar, massage guns, and exercise sliders, what do you really need? We’ve put together this list to help you pick out the right pieces of at-home calisthenics equipment to help you reach your goals.

Best Calisthenics Equipment for Home

Man using a calisthenics equipment rig

Calisthenics equipment does make a difference in your form, range of movement, and exercise versatility. The right equipment allows you to take on more advanced movements as you get stronger, such as the gymnastics iron cross, human flag, and muscle up.

Below, we’ll take you through the best calisthenics equipment for your home gym. We’ll tell you what it’s best for and who it’s best suited to. Keep reading.

Calisthenics bars

Pull-ups are a fundamental part of calisthenics and can be included in any pull session, upper-body split, or back workout. This exercise helps to build strength and muscle in your upper body.

Couple showing back muscles on pull up bar

For this reason, pull-up bars are a standard piece of fitness equipment you’ll find in most calisthenics home gyms, either stand-alone or as part of a bigger machine.

The pull-up bar is a reinforced bar with padded grips (or knurling). The bar comes in a few forms. Some can be mounted on door frames. Others form part of larger equipment like power towers, rigs, or racks.

Some calisthenics pull up bars offer a variety of handle positions so you can target different muscles with your pull ups and chin-ups. You can also change your grip to perform wide-grip pull-ups, L-pulls, or close-grip chin-ups, among others. 

In calisthenics, compound movements are the name of the game. A pull-up bar is for you if you want to work the back, shoulders, and arms all at once.

Plus, you’re not limited to pull-ups. Depending on the amount of space available to you, you can use a calisthenics bar for exercises like:

  • Rows
  • Chin-ups
  • Leg lifts
  • Muscle-ups

Purchase a pull-up bar in combination with other calisthenics equipment like a suspension trainer or gymnastic rings (both mentioned later), and the exercises available to you grow even more. 

If you’re looking for the top calisthenics workout bars on the market…

Check out our best pull up bar roundup and buying guide.

We outline the top pull-up bars including portable, extendable, doorway, freestanding, and outdoor calisthenics bars.

Not keen on more reading? No worries. Here’s our editor’s choice for the top calisthenics pull-up bar.

Editor's Choice
ProsourceFit Multi-Grip Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar
  • Strengthen entire upper body and abs with pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups, dips, and leg raises
  • Portable design makes it easy to squeeze in workouts and stay fit at home
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL - 12 comfortable grips and various handles allow you to perform wide, hammer, close-grip exercises
  • Made in USA
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Power tower

A power tower is a piece of calisthenics equipment with a variety of benefits. The versatile piece of exercise equipment allows you to build your upper body, abdominal muscles, and more.

This product gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It doesn’t take up much floor space, yet still offers a variety of different exercises for you to perform.

Woman using a power tower

A power tower is excellent for advancing with different variations of dips, push-ups, and pull-ups. These movements are three of the four fundamental calisthenics exercises, alongside squats.

Power towers can be used in push, pull, split, or full body calisthenics workouts. Here’s a list of the exercises you can perform in a power tower workout:

  • Pull-ups
  • Chest dips
  • Triceps dips
  • Knee raises
  • Low incline push-ups
  • Chin-ups
  • Isometric holds

This calisthenics equipment is an asset for any home gym. However, there are some factors you’ll need to weigh up when looking for the right one for you.

For help, view our power tower buying guide here.

Or, check out our top power tower for calisthenics training below.

Editor's Choice
Sportsroyals Power Tower
  • Supports vertical knee raise, push-ups, dips as well as pull-ups
  • Ergonomic design with PU pads for elbow protection
  • Height of pull up bar can be adjusted from 64.56" to 88.18"
  • 7-Position adjustable backrest
  • Upgraded armrest
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Gymnastics rings

Gymnastic rings take the form of two wooden, steel, or plastic rings with cam buckle straps and webbing.

The rings are portable and can be attached to any secure points, such as ceiling rafters, a gym rig, or pull-up bar. Or, pretty much anything solid and secure enough to bear your weight.

Gymnastics rings are among the top calisthenics equipment out there. If you’re looking to give this discipline your all, you’ll want to invest in a good quality set of rings.

Woman exercising on gymnastic rings calisthenics equipment

From the famed Iron Cross and planche to the muscle up and ring dips, you can perform plenty of calisthenics exercises with these rings.

You can also challenge your stability, concentration, strength, endurance, and mobility by doing other traditional bodyweight exercises with gymnastics rings, like push ups and triceps extensions.

In terms of muscles targeted, you can get a full body workout with these versatile rings. These are compatible with push, pull, core, and leg exercises.

Check out our top choice for calisthenics rings below.

Editor's Choice
Rogue Gymnastic Wood Rings
  • Used in past three CrossFit Games
  • More natural feel compared to plastic & steel
  • 1.25" Diameter
  • Grip-friendly surface
  • Versatile, suited to calisthenics exercises
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Weighted vests

A weighted vest is a vest that adds some extra pounds to your upper body. It provides a simple way to take your bodyweight training up a notch.

In calisthenics, we aim to achieve progressive overload. This can be accomplished through increasing weight, advancing to more difficult exercise variations, or adding reps.

Weighted calisthenics increases the intensity and challenge of different exercises, which can, in turn, yield positive results.

Man wearing weighted vest doing a pull up

In fact, according to a study, wearing a weight vest that weighs 10-15% of your body weight can allow you to burn up to 13% more calories.

Weighted vests give an edge to your bodyweight training and also have the excellent benefit of being compatible with most exercises. You can wear one during cardio or strength training exercises.

Here’s a list with just a fraction of the exercises you can perform with a weight vest:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Skipping
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Lunges
  • Dips
  • Crunches
  • Crawls
  • Climbing

Weight vests are designed with different fits, materials, and weights. The type you want will depend on your activity needs and desired results.

We have a full buying guide and top five list if you’re keen to find out more about these vests.

View our best weight vests for training calisthenics.

Editor's Choice
5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier Vest
  • Type: Strength and conditioning
  • Material: 500D nylon (water and abrasion-resistant)
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs – 30 lbs
  • Slender design
  • Sits higher on chest therefore suitable for running, jumping, crunches, climbing & more
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Calisthenics handles / parallettes

Rooted in gymnastics, parallettes were designed to mimic the feel of parallel bars. Today, these are commonly used in strength training and calisthenics as it supports a variety of dynamic bodyweight exercises.

Parallettes are portable calisthenics handles that come in a set. These take up minimal floor space and are easy to store.

Parallettes outside in garden

If you’re looking for calisthenics gym equipment that helps to develop your upper body and core, parallettes are ideal. The parallel set of bars creates space between your body and the floor, allowing for a full range of motion.

You can perform movements ranging from basic pushups and dips to more advanced movements like planches and swing-throughs. These blocks are great to assist with handstand training too.

Also known as calisthenics blocks, these sets are incredibly versatile. You can use them anywhere, from your living room floor to the great outdoors.  They’re also extremely affordable.

While calisthenics bars allow for effective workouts, finding the right set for you can be a challenge. They come in different sizes and shapes and serve varying purposes.

View our calisthenics handles guide to help with your purchase.

Editor's Choice
Rogue Bolt Together Parallette Set
  • Type: Calisthenics
  • Material: 11-gauge steel
  • Size: 24” x 15” x 14” (L x W x H)
  • Durable & withstand any bodyweight
  • Rubber feet ensure no shifting during use
  • Textured black powder coat finish
  • Customizable handle width
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Dip station / dip bar

Dip bars and stations are designed to be used for dip exercises, strength training, and calisthenics push movements.

Dips are an ideal way for fitness enthusiasts to build muscle and strengthen joints.  These are compound movements that target different muscle groups.

Dips target the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Over time, by repeating this movement with good form, you’ll be able to increase your upper body muscle mass.

Calisthenics dip bars are a great option as they are usually portable and compact. So even if you don’t have a designated gym space, you can use these calisthenics floor bars anywhere in your home or outdoors.

Dipping calisthenics stations are also versatile as you can use them for strength training and calisthenics pushing exercises.

Dip stations can either come as a set of bars, a stand, or as part of a power tower.

View our in-depth guide on dip stations for the whole scoop. 

Editor's Choice
Rogue Monster Lite Matador
  • Comfortable 178” diameter handles
  • Handles angled for different grip widths
  • Compatible with the Rogue Monster Lite Rig or Rack
  • Easy to set-up
  • Heavy-duty design
  • Fully adjustable
  • Space-saving
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Suspension trainer

Suspension trainers have stolen the hearts of fitness fans worldwide thanks to their portability and versatility. It’s a great partner for home gymmers and calisthenics enthusiasts who are after a full-body workout without spending a ton of money.

A suspension trainer is a system of webbing, ropes, handles, and/or straps that enables users to work against their bodyweight.

Man using suspension trainer and best calisthenics equipment

It adds a new dimension to bodyweight training. Suspension trainers offer enhanced muscle engagement, improved mobility and balance, better functional performance, and superior core training.

Those who train with these systems can tap into a huge pool of pushing and pulling exercises and home workouts.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep dips
  • Atomic push-ups
  • Chest presses
  • Squats
  • Jumping lunges
  • Hamstring pull-in
  • Glute bridge
  • Single-leg burpees
  • Spiderman push-ups
  • Planks
  • Side planks

Suspension trainers cater to a wide array of exercise progressions and variations. This means they come in handy for the entire fitness journey from beginner to elite level.

Before diving in and buying a suspension system, make sure you have an idea of what makes a good suspension trainer.

Quality, brand, comfort, capacity, and the mounting mechanism are all important factors that make the difference between a great design and a nightmare.

Take a look at our suspension trainer buying guide for all the details.

Editor's Choice
TRX All-in-One Suspension Trainer
  • Anchoring system: Indoor (door), outdoor
  • Strap material: Nylon
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Made for full-body workouts
  • Includes: suspension trainer, a suspension anchor, a door anchor, a getting-started guide, and access to the TRX Training Club app
  • Safety tested for up to 700 lbs, has locking loops to prevent slipping, adjusters to quickly change the length during your workout, durable foam handles for comfort, and foot cradles
  • Weighs less than a pound, easy setup, and comes equipped with everything you need to train inside, outside, and on the go
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Ab roller

Ab rollers offer a fun yet challenging way to work out. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars and it’s a brilliant piece of calisthenics workout equipment for core and full-body workouts.

An ab roller is a small device that comprises a wheel and handles on each side. You can roll the wheel forward, backward, or sideways on the floor, by applying pressure with your body weight.

Woman with ab roller on floor

The wheel allows you to change things up from trunk curls, situps, and crunches. Interestingly, it offers more than you’d expect from the name “ab roller”. You can also work upper body muscles and engage your lower body.

Like jump ropes, resistance bands, and dumbbells, ab rollers are an excellent option if you have a small calisthenics home gym or are on a budget. These wheels are also portable, making them ideal for frequent travelers.

If you’re looking for a simple and cost-effective way to drive your ab development, the ab roller is the perfect piece of calisthenics equipment for you.

If you want some help deciding on whether you need a single or double-wheel option, or plastic or rubberized tread, we can help.

Check out our guide to finding the best roller for your calisthenics core training.

Editor's Choice
Perfect Fitness Ab Carver Pro Roller Wheel
  • Ultra-wide ab roller with built-in resistance & ergonomic handles
  • Interior kinetic engine uses a carbon steel spring to provide resistance & amplify abdominal and arm workout
  • Ultra-wide wheel tread offers stability when carving left, right, or center for targeted work on obliques
  • Ergonomic hand grips are angled to activate arm and core muscles; handles are removable for easy storage and transport
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Resistance bands

A resistance band is a simple elastic loop of equipment. You may have seen them in your local gym in the form of mini bands, tube bands, and more.

Resistance bands are essential to any training program, from calisthenics exercises and building foundational strength to recovery and stretching.

A resistance band generally adds more resistance and restriction to a movement, increasing the degree of difficulty. These tools further engage your muscles and your workout intensity.

A resistance band activates your fast-twitch muscle fibers, helping you to develop more explosive movements.

Another benefit of resistance bands is that you can get a full-body workout as you can place the loops on multiple areas of your body, including arms, legs, hands, and feet.

Easy to store and affordable, this calisthenics equipment is a great addition to any strength-focused workout. The resistance bands keep your muscles under tension for longer, which increases endurance and mass.

For calisthenics, bands are a great tool for two reasons:

  • Bands can make a specific exercise easier
  • Or, make an exercise more challenging
Man using resistance band for calisthenics

If you’re on your way to doing your first pull-up, a resistance band is a great way to help you nail the form. Loop the band on the bar and pop your feet in the loop and you can perform assisted pull-ups.

If you’re looking to make push-ups more challenging, sling a resistance band around your back. Place your hands on top of the band as your starting position and then push up. Thank us later!

Resistance bands have a huge variety of uses so we strongly recommend having a set for your home gym. Go for a set that has bands with different resistance levels so you can change things up.

View our best resistance band roundup and buying guide here.

Editor's Choice
Rogue Echo Resistance Bands
  • 8 Different resistance level bands
  • Color-coded
  • Great for rehabilitation
  • Exclusive branding
  • Type: Resistance band loop
  • Material: Latex Rubber
  • Length: 41 Inches
  • Best for: Full-body workouts
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Exercise sliders

Exercise sliders are small disks used during exercises to increase the intensity of the workout. These can be used horizontally on the floor, or vertically against a wall.

You can use your hands or feet on the disks and slide them across a surface. You can also target specific muscle groups.

Like the ab roller, you apply pressure to move and stop the sliders. This makes them a great addition to any bodyweight training.

We recommend using these in calisthenics workouts as you can intensify moves like lunges and mountain climbers. These also help you to pick up the pace of your workouts thanks to the sliding motion.

However, if you hate planks, the disks may not be for you. Many of the slider exercises involve some sort of plank position. Exercise sliders challenge your stability, core, and shoulder strength too.

You can also perform exercises like:

  • Body saws
  • Windshield wiper push ups
  • Plank jacks
  • Slider pike
  • Sliding burpees
  • Army circles
  • Curtsy squats
  • Double knee tucks

These fitness sliders are great for low-impact strength training and flexibility. An excellent way to get your heart rate up and can be used in even the most compact of home gyms.

Sold on the exercise sliders but not sure where to start?

Take a look at our exercise slider guide for the perfect starting point.

Editor's Choice
Synergee Jet Black Gliding Discs Core Sliders
  • Perfect for fun and challenging full-body workouts
  • Small, light, and compact, which makes it easy to store them when not in use
  • Includes 2 Core Sliders & color-printed exercise manual
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Jump Rope

Skipping is one of the best ways to get your body warm before a calisthenics workout.

It’s not just calisthenics athletes that use jump ropes either. Everyone from boxers to CrossFitters treats the rope as a training staple.

Jump ropes are versatile and offer many health benefits. With a jump rope, you can improve speed, balance, mobility, cardiovascular endurance, and strength in your legs, arms, and shoulders.

Close up of feet skipping

In terms of types of exercises, you’re limited mainly to jumping options, such as double unders and speed skipping. However, it’s still a great option to get your heart rate up between sets of squats and other exercises.

You don’t have to stick to the traditional jump rope either. There are steel, PVC, and weighted jump rope options – each suited to different activity needs. There are even products with displays and tracking functions.

Check out our jump rope guide to find the best skipping rope for your calisthenics workouts.

Editor's Choice
Froning SR-1F Speed Rope 2.0
  • 10” adjustable PU cable
  • TPE overmold handles
  • High-speed bearings
  • Epic design
  • Lightweight
  • Material: Polyurethane cable
  • Cable length: 120 inches (adjustable)
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Calisthenics Gloves

Grip strength is key to proper form, good technique, and stability across most calisthenics exercises. It’s a crucial component for push and pull movements, from pull-ups and dead hangs to muscle ups and planches.

This is where gloves can make or break your workout.

Gym gloves act as a protective layer, reducing the likelihood of blisters. These also safeguard the skin on your hands when you’re using equipment like calisthenics bars or gymnastic rings.

Calisthenics gloves on hands

In addition, gloves improve grip and reduce sweat, making it that much easier to hold onto the thing you’re gripping.

Investing in a good set of gloves is the difference between callous-ridden hands and poor staying power, and a strong grip and improved hang time.

Whether it’s full finger, fingerless, or ones with built-in wrist wraps you need, there is a perfect set of calisthenics gloves out there for you.

Check out our roundup of the best workout gloves to find your perfect calisthenics pair.

Editor's Choice
Ventilated Workout Gloves with Built-in Wrist Wraps
  • Made of Silicon Printed Neoprene, resistant to water, dangerous chemicals, oils, heat and aging making for a long last durable pair of gloves. 
  • Built-in wrist wraps
  • Extra tight grip gives extra grip for calisthenics bar work
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Liquid Chalk

Liquid chalk is another staple that helps when it comes to grip.

It is regular chalk mixed with liquid that applies easily to your hands and protects them.

Gone are the days of messy, explosive powder that gets on and in everything. This magic solution enhances your grip, allowing you to safely perform a variety of calisthenics movements.

Similar to gloves, liquid chalk helps with exercises like pull-ups, dead hangs, hanging leg and knee raises, rows, and more. The solution gives you more staying power, or grippiness, for your workouts.

Woman using liquid chalk for calisthenics equipment

Liquid chalk comes in a small bottle, which means it’s portable and easy to put away in your gym bag, cupboard, or storage space.

It’s way less messy than traditional chalk so it helps to keep your home workout space clean and low maintenance. It also lasts longer than normal chalk powder.

Discover more about liquid chalk benefits for calisthenics.

Editor's Choice
Liquid Grip
  • Invisible
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Single application
  • Washes off easily with soap and water
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Best Calisthenics Gear for Recovery

Couple stretching on the floor

Recovery is essential in any training regime. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out with a calisthenics program or you’re at an elite level. You need to take action to support muscle recovery.

Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, can manifest as tender muscles, body soreness, and muscle fatigue. This can come a day or two after a workout and can feel debilitating.

Time is the only true treatment of DOMS, but there are actions you can take to ease the stiffness and soreness.

Massage is one treatment that many people swear by. A study on DOMS, swelling, and recovery of muscle function found that massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30%. It helped to reduce swelling too.

If you are seeking the power of massage to transform your muscle recovery, keep reading.

Massage guns and foam rollers are game changers for recovery and a great addition to your home calisthenics equipment setup.

Foam Roller

Foam rollers are cylindrical tubes made from foam, or comprise a bar or hollow core wrapped in foam.

Clseup of foam roller calisthenics equipment

You use it by placing the roller on the floor and the affected body part on it. You then apply pressure to roll the roller against the sore or worked area.

One of the main benefits is myofascial release therapy. Your stiff muscles are stretched and massaged to release knots and tension.

You can use a foam roller on your legs, neck, shoulders, back, and arms.

As far as calisthenics equipment goes, foam rollers are excellent tools. Calisthenics can be high intensity and utilizes a lot of compound movements, which makes recovery an absolute necessity.

Fortunately, foam rollers are quite nifty, affordable, and easy to move around. These are suited to any type of home gym, big or small.

Check out our top foam rollers and benefits guide for the big picture.

Editor's Choice
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller for Exercise, Deep Tissue Massage and Muscle Recovery
  • Very lightweight at 1.32 lbs
  • Dimensions 13” x 5.5”
  • Multi-density design
  • Purchase includes free instructional video
  • Made with EVA foam with a hollow core for added stability
  • Can hold up to 500 pounds
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Massage gun

Massage guns give you all the benefits of massage therapy from the comfort of your home and at a fraction of the cost.

A massage gun is a portable, handheld device that pounds the muscles repeatedly. In so doing, they increase blood flow to the symptomatic body area, which alleviates tension and inflammation.

If you put yourself through regular AMRAPS (as many reps/rounds as possible), you’ll know how painful and crippling muscle soreness can be. The massage gun provides a simple, effective way of targeting your affected muscles and offering some, errr, handheld relief.

Massage guns have become very popular, which means the market has become saturated by the devices. This can make choosing the right one difficult. You have to separate the gimmicks from the products that will give you exactly what you need.

View our buying guide for massage guns to help you cut through the noise.

Editor's Choice
Theragun Elite
  • Weight: 2.2lbs
  • Stall force: Max. 40lbs
  • Five-speed settings
  • Multi-grip design
  • Five attachable massage heads
  • OLED Screen
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Best Calisthenics Home Gym Equipment: Final Thoughts

Man doing an L-Sit on best calisthenics equipment

After reading this guide to the best calisthenics equipment, you will have a better idea of the products that suit your fitness goals and workouts.

Home calisthenics equipment can help you to reach unbelievable heights with your training. Whether you’re looking to achieve your first strict pull-up or want to bust them out like they do in the military, there is a perfect calisthenics setup for you.

For core crusaders, ab rollers and exercise sliders will raise the intensity of your ab workouts.  For improved recovery, foam rollers and massage guns offer quick and easy tension relief.

Whatever your focus, there is home equipment that will assist you to take your calisthenics training to the next level. 

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