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The Best Calisthenics Equipment for Home Workouts

One of the best things about calisthenics workouts is that you can easily get started using just your own bodyweight.

You may never need to hit the gym again! However, if you want to get more serious about upping your calisthenics game and building some real muscle, it may be wise to invest in a few choice pieces of calisthenics gear for your home workout space. 

To that end, I’ve put together a list of the best calisthenics equipment for your home workouts. 

**I was not paid to write this review. However, this post does contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) These are my own opinions and honest thoughts after using the app. Full disclosure here. **

Overview:

1. Dip-Bars – Relife Rebuild Your Life Dip Station

 

 

 

2. Parallettes – Lebert Fitness Parallette Push Up Bars

 

 

 

3. Ab Roller – Core-X Ab Roller

 

 

 

4. Exercise Mat – Gorilla Mats Premium Extra Large Mat

 

 

 

5. Doorway Pull Up Bar – Kaufman Pull Up Bar

 

 

 

6. Suspension Bands – TRX GO Suspension Trainer System

 

 

 

7. Gymnastics Gloves – JerkFit WODies Hand Grips with Wrist Wraps

 

 

 

8. Weighted Vest – Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

 

 

 

9. Foam Roller – Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

 

 

 

10. Sliders – A AZURELIFE Exercise Core Sliders

 

 

 

11. Training Log Book

 

 

 

1. Dip-Bars – Relife Rebuild Your Life Dip Station

Dip bars are versatile pieces of equipment that are a must for anyone serious about calisthenics. 

You can use them to do bodyweight tricep dips but are perfect for a wide range of other exercises like hip lifts, pushups, Bulgarian lunges, and more. 

This pair of dip bars from Relife Rebuild Your Life is made from heavy steel that supports up to 300 lbs. The foot covers are adjustable to facilitate steadiness and the height is also adjustable between 31-34 inches based on your height. 

If you are very tall you may find the bars don’t come quite high enough and some users report that it does wobble a tad. However they are very sturdy considering they aren’t bolted to the floor.

Plus, they’re easy to assemble and are easy to tuck away for storage when you’re not using them.

Pros

  • Built with steel for durability and stability
  • Multi-use piece of equipment
  • Easy to assemble and store

Cons

  • May not be ideal for very tall people

2. Parallettes – Lebert Fitness Parallette Push Up Bars

Parallettes are like the dip bars’ younger brother. They are low to the ground and better used for L-sits and pushups. They are also more ideal if you have very limited space or need a more lightweight alternative to dip bars. (They’re also a little more budget-friendly than the dip bars.) 

These parallettes by Lebert Fitness are perfect because they are only 12” high and weigh 5 lbs each. Yet, they support up to 400 lbs!

They’re also equipped with commercial grade non slip grips and come with two downloadable PDF workout guides. They are high-quality in appearance and look great in any home gym.

The only real downside with these is that some users report that the bars emit a strong chemical smell, so if you are working out in an enclosed, poorly ventilated area it may be a problem.

Pros

  • Compact but sturdy alternative to dip-bars
  • Supports up to 400 lbs

Cons

  • May emit a chemical smell 

3. Ab Roller – Core-X Ab Roller

I’ve already declared my love for ab rollers in the past but it bears repeating here among my top pics for home calisthenics equipment! 

Ab rollers are convenient due to their portable size and are one of the more cost-effective options on this list. And if you need something that’s going to take your ab workouts to the next level, one of these rollers is certain to do the trick. 

It looks easy when you watch someone else do it, but the amount of stability and strength you need to roll all the way out and back in is tremendous. 

My top recommendation is the Core-X Ab Roller because it’s very sturdily built with ergonomic, non-slip handles. The curved hand grips allow you to roll out in different directions which helps you zone in on all parts of your core muscles.

It also comes with a few extras like a knee pad and a 21-day workout sheet! If you need a list of other options for ab rollers, be sure to check out this post!

Pros

  • Ergonomic handles
  • Comes with knee pad and workout sheet
  • Will crush your abs!

Cons

  • It’s not very versatile; there are only so many exercises you can perform with this type of equipment. 

4. Exercise Mat – Gorilla Mats Premium Extra Large Mat

Yes, this seems basic but an exercise mat can make all the difference between a fantastic workout and a terrible workout. Seriously, if you get a cheap mat that bunches, tears, slides around, or doesn’t cover enough surface area – you’re gonna have a bad time. 

Calisthenics does tend to involve a lot of floor-work so protecting those joints with enough cushion is crucial as well. 

I am in love with these exercise mats by Gorilla Mats. It’s definitely on the upper price range but you will be hard pressed to find a better quality mat that covers a large surface. It’s made with durable, shock-absorbing rubber that is free from chemical smells. 

They also come with a lifetime warranty which lends some extra peace of mind with your investment. 

If you need some other options for exercise mats, check out this post for my top picks for any budget and purpose.

Pros

  • High-quality mat perfect for calisthenics workouts on any hard surface. 
  • Durable, eco-friendly materials
  • Smell-free

Cons

  • A bit pricey as far as exercise mats go. 

5. Doorway Pull Up Bar – Kaufman Pull Up Bar

The pull-up is arguably the most quintessential (and difficult!) exercises in calisthenics workouts, making a decent pull-up bar mandatory. But at home, you may not have a lot of space for the kind of pull up bars you’d find at the gym.

Not only are these great for pull-ups but you can use them for other exercises like hanging leg raises, crunches, and modified push ups. 

That’s why I recommend the variety that you can use in your doorway. 

I love this Kaufman pull up bar particularly because there are no screws or anything to assemble. You just hook it on your doorframe and you’re good to go – it can accommodate up to 440 lbs. 

This model also offers more grip options than most other pull up bars, with handles for wide pull ups, narrow pull ups, and parallel pull ups. The plastic pads prevent scuffing your door frame and you can easily unhook and tuck it away when not in use.

The only thing to watch out for is to check the specifications to make sure it will fit your door frame. Some consumers found that it didn’t fit properly in doorways with moulding. 

Pros

  • Well built and can accommodate up to 440 lbs
  • Versatile and compact
  • Multiple grip options. 

Cons

  • May not fit all doorways perfectly

6. Suspension Bands – TRX GO Suspension Trainer System 

Suspension bands help you take your bodyweight workouts to the next level. You can use them for pushups, pullups, planks, lunges and more. 

TRX is the go-to brand for suspension training gear. This set is perfect to get you started.

It comes with a Suspension training strap, indoor and outdoor anchors, 2 workout guides, a training poster, and a bag. 

Setting up the TRX is easy and just requires a door frame with a closing door. You close the door on your anchor and then you just attach the bands. 

This is a super lightweight option and great if you need a way to work out while travelling. Just throw it in the mesh bag and take it anywhere with you.

The suspension kit accommodates up to 350 lbs but some consumers find this entry-level kit isn’t as durable as the pro version. 

Also if you don’t have a closing door to use with this you may find having trouble finding a place to anchor. However, TRX does sell this mount you can buy separately that allows you to attach the bands to the wall. 

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and portable
  • Easy to set up
  • Enhances bodyweight workouts without using weights

Cons

  • If you don’t have a doorway with a closing door you may have to buy the mount
  • May not be as durable as the pro versions

7. Gymnastics Gloves – JerkFit WODies Hand Grips with Wrist Wraps

Gym gloves are a must in calisthenics because you spend so much time gripping bars, rings, and straps. The right pair will prevent blisters and make your workout a less grueling experience!

I like this pair from JerkFit because not only do they protect your palm, but they provide wrist support as well. The wrist support gives you that extra stability you need for those tough exercises like L-sit.

The material is made of a latex-free elastic that won’t bunch up and offers flexibility. 

As an added bonus they come in a variety of colors and sizes. 

However, some users find that they need to chalk up a lot with these grips and slide on the bars after a while. It’s a good idea to use chalk anyway but something to keep in mind if slipping is a concern for you.

Pros

  • Sturdy, well-constructed gloves
  • Wrist support

Cons

  • Some people find you need to use a lot of chalk with these

8. Weighted Vest – Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

The problem with bodyweight exercises is that after a certain point, you can increase the resistance any more. So if you want to keep making gains, you need to start adding some weight.

Weighted vests are a common option among calisthenics enthusiasts because it adds hands-free resistance to your bodyweight workouts. You can even wear them for cardio exercises like running. 

This vest by Aduro is a great option because they are one size but adjustable size and come in 7 different weights running from 4 lbs to 30 lbs. 

It’s made from breathable neoprene material and features mesh pockets for storage. The odorless weight filling is balanced within the vest and won’t slide around during your workouts. 

Pros

  • Weighted vest available in 7 different weights
  • Adjustable for different sizing  

Cons

9. Foam Roller – Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller

I have always compared foam rolling to flossing your teeth. It’s time consuming and kind of a pain in the butt, but the health benefits are worth the commitment. 

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release to treat muscle tightness or soreness. Regular rolling can improve your range of motion and maximize your recovery time between workouts.

Trigger Point’s GRID foam roller is a great choice because it’s made from high-quality EVA foam and can support up to 500 lbs. It’s patented design facilitates rolling out your tight muscles and knots. 

You’ll notice this roller has a hollow core for durability and is firm enough to be compared to a sports massage.

In fact, some users find it’s a little too firm so if you aren’t used to foam rolling you will need to ease into this one!

Pros

  • High-quality foam roller for optimal self-myofascial release

Cons

  • May be too firm for beginners

10. Sliders – A AZURELIFE Exercise Core Sliders

Sliders are another great tool for adding a layer of extra challenge to regular bodyweight exercises. They force you to utilize your small stabilizing muscles that you might otherwise not normally use. 

I find that slides really force you to focus on your form, which is key to maximizing your results with each exercise.

You can use these for pushups, plank variations, glute exercises and more.

Sliders are not complicated pieces of equipment so any pair you find online should do the job. But I like these ones from A Azuirelife because they come with an illustrated workout guide. 

Plus they come in three different colors!

Keep in mind these slides are best used on carpet or hard floors. They aren’t likely to slide very well on any kind of exercise mat. 

Pros 

  • Portable exercise tool for adding challenge to bodyweight workouts
  • Comes with exercise guide

Cons

  • Won’t work well on rubbery surfaces (like an exercise mat)

11. Training Log Book 

If you’re serious about progressing with calisthenics, its crucial that you track your progress. Because weighing yourself once a week isn’t going to cut it.

You need to take measurements and track other metrics like how many sets you do of each exercise and the weights you use. That way you can look back and see how much progress you’ve made and what you need to do to progress further.

This simple training log book can help you track all those things and more. My only beef with this notebook is that there isn’t much space for tracking your nutrition, only a couple of lines for notes. 

Then again, I like to use Cronometer for tracking my nutrition so you can think of this notebook as for exercise-only. 

Pros

  • Affordable notebook for tracking exercise

Cons

  • You’ll need to track nutrition separately from this log book

Calisthenics Odds and Ends

There are a few small items you will likely need for your calisthenics workouts as well, namely:

Chalk: If you do a lot of exercises using bars, rings, and parrallets, chalk will help you keep a firm grip and prevent slippage.

Mat Tape: If you’re using an exercise mat on a smooth floor surface, you may need some double sided mat tap to prevent slippage. 

Towel: A microfibre, sweat-wicking exercise towel is a must for those more intense workouts. 

Choosing the Best Calisthenics Equipment for You

We covered a lot of different equipment and tools you can use to enhance your calisthenics workouts, but do you really need to invest in all of these?

Of course not. 

Which equipment you invest in will depend on your current fitness level, goals, preferences, and environment. Take each of these into consideration before you buy anything!

Current Fitness Level

If you’re brand new to calisthenics, chances are you won’t benefit from a lot of this equipment right away. If you’re just getting started, focus on form and foundational calisthenics exercises. 

In this case, you will want an exercise mat and a foam roller at the very least, and probably a pull-up bar to start working on your pull-ups. As you build strength you can start investing in some more equipment to enhance your gains. 

Goals & Preferences 

If you goal is to simply get into great shape, you can make do without a lot of this equipment – or you can fall back on more traditional types of resistance training with dumbbells or kettlebells. 

But if you want to develop specific skills like pull-ups and L-sits, you will likely want to invest in some of this equipment to help you reach your goals.

There’s also a matter of what you like to use. If you get a TRX suspension set but hate using it, then it’s not going to do you any good! In other words, get the equipment you know you will actually use. 

Environment

If you have a roomy, dedicated workout space then the sky (or maybe the ceiling) is the limit when it comes to what kind of equipment you can get. 

But if you live in a small apartment or need to work out in your living room, you’ll definitely want to stick to equipment that is lightweight and easy to store.

Sliders and TRX bands are great for compact spaces, for example. 

Getting Started with Calisthenics

If you’re just getting started with calisthenics, you want to focus on learning the foundations before you invest in a lot of this equipment. The basic exercises are squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, handstand, planks, and crunches. 

Some of these exercises – like pull-ups and handstands – take time and practice to master, so it’s a good idea to find a program that teaches you an effective progression to these moves. 

There are many cost-effective programs out there. In fact, I have a whole post about the top calisthenics apps for getting in shape with just your body weight!

Summary 

As you can see, there’s a ton of equipment you can add to your home gym to enhance our calisthenics workouts, and at first it can be a little overwhelming.

Remember you don’t need all of it, especially when you’re first starting out. Factor in your goals, fitness level, and environment to fine-tune your workout space and assemble the best calisthenics equipment for your workouts! 

FAQ 

What equipment is needed for calisthenics?

There’s lots of equipment you can invest in to enhance your calisthenics workouts including: dip bars, parallettes, ab rollers, weighted vests, pull up bars, suspension bands, and sliders.

Which calisthenics program is best?

The best program will depend on your current skill level and fitness goals. Check out my list of top calisthenics apps to find the best program for you.

Is calisthenics better than gym?

Calisthenics with bodyweight only can be a great way to lose weight and get toned. However, without investing in some of the aforementioned equipment, you may not be able to keep building muscle beyond a certain point which is why some people still favor the gym.

That said, it’s completely possible to get fit at home without the use of a gym and using only a few choice pieces of equipment.

Can you build muscle with only calisthenics?

Absolutely! The key is to make sure you are continuing to challenge the muscles as you progress. This means you will need to add resistance to your workouts after a while. This can take the form of suspension bands, or weighted vests.

Is 20 minutes of calisthenics enough?

20 minutes, 3-4 times a week is enough to see results but you need to use that time wisely. Compound exercises that utilize multiple muscle groups at once are the way to go when you have limited time to exercise.

 
Best calisthenics equipment for getting fit at home

Corrie Alexander is an ISSA certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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