Bodyweight Equipment

Top 20 Calisthenics Equipment Guide 2022 – Build Muscle More Efficiently

Body weight training can be done effectively with minimal equipment, this article will guide you through which pieces of Calisthenics equipment can be useful to you.

Body weight training started for me as a way to solve various back problems I was facing at the time. Not only did it save my back, but it got me hooked to the shear strength, power, and aesthetics you can develop with it, or just how anyone, anywhere, can use it to stay in shape, develop qualities which will carry over to other sports, or simply unwind during a long office work shift. Body weight training, or Calisthenics is highly advantageous because it can be performed anywhere, from a tight office space, a bus stop, your bedroom, a local park, or simply anywhere !

Your body is your gym.

Now don’t get me wrong, going to a gym can also be great, and I believe that as long as you are exercising in a way that makes you happy and want to come back and do it again, you are doing it right.

However, this guide is here to show you how to use the practicality made available through using your own body weight, to transform yourself, or simply stay in shape – as they say; use it, or lose it! – with as little material as possible.

Nonetheless, on this article you will find different items or tools, that will provide you with absolutely everything you need whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced !

Calisthenics Equipment

1. Gymnastics Rings

Before writing this article, I did some extra research as to what others were saying about gymnastic rings as a piece of training equipment, and we were disappointed at the poor level of love they were receiving. Rings are extremely versatile piece of calisthenics equipment in the sense that you can hang them anywhere, and reduce or lower their height to adapt to your level, size, and different exercises you want to do with it. You may adjust the rings to the most comfortable mechanical position for your body to do an exercise in, and therefore put less strain on your wrists, shoulders and elbows.

Hang them high if you want to do pull ups, or hang them low and do push ups ! Hang them chest-level and you can perform dips, bicep curls, and practically any movement you would do in a gym, but with your own body weight, and in the comfort of your own home, garden or even office, if you wish. The possibilities with this tool are practically endless and the results it can give you is undeniable.

 

Why are rings number 1 in our list ?

As I already mentioned above, rings are a versatile tool than can be hung from a ceiling, a staircase, a pull up bar a the park; you can carry them in a small backpack and attach them to a nice horizontal tree branch for example ! Another huge positive it the extra stability required to perform a movement on rings which adds that boost in your muscle, strength, and connective tissue development, due to the added difficulty.

  • Cheap ( 25 – 50$ )
  • Versatile
  • Adapt to your level by adjusting the length of the straps
  • Barely take up any space and can be hung anywhere
  • Great to build muscle, strength, or just maintain all around muscle and joint health

Amazon link to best priced rings:



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If you are unsure and want more information about which rings to get, or even how to build you own, check my in depth ring guide here.

2. Power Tower


Another useful piece of calisthenics equipment, especially if you are looking to get a fantastic workout in from the comfort of your own home. The power tower allows you to do all the essentials; dips, pull ups, leg raises and more, the only drawback is the added need for space. When choosing one of these, one needs to look carefully for a stable build, that won’t shake all the time when you are using it.

Click on the video above to see the various exercises you can perform on a power tower.

Why is the power tower number 2 in our list ?

This is a practical piece of equipment that gives you access to a large quantity of exercises – everything you need for whatever purpose you wish to train for. If picked right it’s durable, sturdy, and an all around good investment towards your goals.

  • Durable piece of equipment
  • Great for both pushing and pulling movements
  • Good for beginners
  • ranging from 80-200$

What to look for in a power tower ?

  • Make sure to take measurements before purchasing so that you are sure that you will have the right space to accommodate one and use it comfortably.
  • Check how far the dip bars are spaced from one another, and if it is comfortable for you.
  • Be sure to place it on a flat space to reduce any unwanted shaking or wobbling.

Amazon link to best priced power towers:



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You can also take a look at our in depth power tower guide here.

3. Pull Up Bar


A basic doorway pull up bar offers access to a wide variety of grips for you pull ups; wide grip, close grip, hammer grip, whatever grip fits your goals. Do you want extra focus on your biceps ? Go for a  supinated close grip. Do you want extra focus on your back ? Choose a pronated wide grip.

Why is the doorway pull up bar number 3 on our list ?

This is an all around useful piece of calisthenics equipment for someone just looking to do pull ups with different grips, but not as useful as the power tower mentioned above, the reason being that you are rather restricted in terms of the pushing movement you can perform on it. However, it has the benefit of coming at a cheap price, with a wide selection of different pull up bars to choose from.

  • cheap ( 20 – 60$ )
  • comfortable hand placements
  • easy/quick to set up
  • doesn’t take up space

Amazon link to best priced pull up bars:



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For a more in depth guide of which pull-up bar is right for you, click here to see my best pull up bar review.

Other Calisthenics Equipment Worth Mentioning

 


While in our above, top 3 we covered the most essentials pieces of calisthenics equipment to have as both a beginner, and an expert, there are a few other things worth mentioning that could help you on your journey of getting healthier, stronger, and gaining some insane muscle mass ( if that it what you want ).

Resistance Bands



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These can be used as a source of external resistance, sort of like weights in a gym. You can either use them to take resistance away from the exercise, like in the picture on the left; or you can use it to add resistance, and make the exercise harder. Resistance bands can also be used for a complete full body warm up, before you jump on to your main exercises. Always remember to warm up !

Jumping Ropes



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Pair them with the resistance bands I talked about above, and you’re in for a fantastic, and thorough warm up. Not to mention that it’s one of my personal favorites when it comes to cardiovascular training. You may start with regular single unders, and gradually progress to doubles and even triples as you get very good. Jump ropes are easy to transport, improve cognitive function, coordination and can add a lot of intensity to your workouts.

Ab Wheel



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The ab wheel can be a sensible addition to your home gym. Add it to your other abdominal exercises to help you build a stable core, and decrease your likely-hood of injury. This won’t only target your abdominal muscles but also your lower back. However, many beginners tend to use this piece of equipment with poor form, thus diminishing the results one can make. Be sure that you know how to perform the exercise correctly with a posterior pelvic tilt and straight arms. You can make the movement easier by doing it on your knees, and harder by placing yourself on your toes.

Parallettes



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An item that I use on an almost daily basis for handstand practice, push ups, core exercises and more. It can be used for more advanced exercises such as planche training, handstand push ups, or deeper ROM ( range of movement ) push ups. An all around great tool to develop functional upper body power, strength AND mass. I also find that it saves my wrists quite a bit due to the grip you are using. I have written an in depth parallettes guide here.

Weighted Vests



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Whenever your regular body weight exercises become too easy for you and you wish to take your training to the next level, weight vest are a great tool to increase the intensity of you workouts. You can easily adjust the extra added weight to your liking – from 12 lbs to a whopping 150 lbs for some vests. Train this with the right training and you are guaranteed to make some impressive size and strength gains over time. Some vests even come with handy storage pockets for you phone/music device and a water bottle. I have written a thorough weighted vest review here.

Battle Ropes



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I underestimated the power of these things before I tried them out myself and ended up being sore for next 3 days. They will help you build power, coordination, endurance, but mostly, they will shred that fat off of you when paired with exercises such as burpees for a very efficient cardio sessions. The battle ropes come in many different lengths, and will last you many, many years of pain in your workout session.

TRX Training Straps



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Similar to the gymnastics rings I talked about above, the TRX suspension trainers are very popular in the fitness world, may it be in addition to weight training, yoga, or just pure body weight workouts, I find them pretty easy to set up, and they open the door to literally hundreds of different exercises for you to perform anywhere you find a decent anchor points to attach them to. One can build some impressive strength and size, just using those.

Pull Up Grip Training Balls



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One of the best tools you could possibly own to increase your hand and grip strength. these little wooden grips will give you an entirely new challenge when doing pull ups and thicken up your forearms. Pair it up with a little bit of chalk when you have sweaty hands and increase the intensity of your workouts.

Training Board



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Favored by climbers, this is another great tool for finger, hand, and grip strength. I personally thought I had decent hand strength until I tried to do pull ups on this and could barely do one. I recommend this one especially if you want to increase you finger and hand strength for climbing, ( or finally opening that resilient jar lid that won’t budge ). All jokes aside, this is a serious piece of equipment that will increase you hand strength dramatically.

Fat Grips



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Attach this to any pull up bar, barbell, or dumbbell, and train more efficiently. Thick bar training is used by NFL players, MMA fighters, bodybuilders, cross-fitters, power lifters and many pro athletes. Fat grips create less stress on joints, less injuries, less imbalances and recruits more muscle fibers. You also work your whole grip without even noticing it and when it’s most important.

Weighted Belt



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One of my favorites, it allows you to hang practically as much weight as you want on it without it feeling uncomfortable or risk breaking. I use it to add weight to my pull ups, dips, and I’ve even found a way to weight my push ups with it by doing them with my feet and hands on boxes or regular gym benches, so that the weight can hang underneath without touching the floor. If you want to progressively add more weight to your exercises and don’t like the idea of using a weight vest, this is for you.

Foam Roller



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I see too many people who are dearly focused on pushing their body hard every workout but don’t put as much effort into recovery, and end up getting injured. Stretching before and after workouts, warming up, and foam rolling should all be considered and part of your routine. Foam rolling enables you to increase your and optimize your motion through myofascial release. You can read more about how foam rolling works and how to use one properly here.

Gloves



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Gloves will protect your hands through those tough workouts which can often cause your skin to rip through repeated, heavy friction. It will also protect you from calluses to a certain degree. I also find that they are useful for training outside in the winter when the bars are freezing cold as they offer some protection without hindering my grip. The are useful especially if you perform lots of movements like muscle ups, and pull ups in high volume, or doing gripping on to bars hurts you hands too much.

Chalk



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You’ve probably seen climbers of power lifters use this to increase their grip strength or prevent their hands from becoming too slippery. It’s a basic and highly effective powder that will greatly increase your grip on slippery surfaces, or when you have moist/wet hands. You can find it in the from of powder, but also as liquid chalk. I personally prefer the latter as I find that you lose less chalk than when you are using the powder version, as it doesn’t crumble.

Neuro Grips



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The neuro grips will definitely add some challenge to your push ups and are a cool little piece of equipment to try out. The extra stability required to perform a movement on these will recruit more muscle fibers and reward you with greater strength results. Be sure to master a normal push ups before attempting these, as they could otherwise be hard on your wrists, and nobody likes falling flat on their face.

Fitness Ball



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Also called stability, exercise balls, balance balls, Swiss balls; these things provide you with an unstable surface, furthering the challenge of planks, push ups or squats. I’ve used these things for exercises like hamstring curls and ab roll outs.

Outdoor pull up bars

Anthony

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Anthony

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