Calisthenics equipment

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Calisthenics is bodyweight training and the equipment we need is therefore minimal. However, some calisthenics equipment is hard to do without, whereas others are more optional.
Below, we will look at the calisthenics equipment we can’t do without and the things we might need. Also, I will give you my experience with some of the equipment.
But before we jump into all the calisthenics equipment and apparels we can spend our hard-earned money on, let’s just take a moment to list all the free things that bodyweight training offers.body weight workout plan
  • No gym membership – you save 50-150$ a month
  • No commuting to the gym – you save ???$ a month
  • No fancy fitness machines – you save ???$


Mandatory calisthenics equipment:

Let’s first talk about what we can’t do without.


Unless you are a nudist and live in a nice hot place, you need to have some apparel 🙂


Basically any sports shoe will do, but you might consider two pairs. One for running and for strength training.
I will not touch so much upon the shoes for running. Some prefer them with a soft heel, while others prefer those that have a flat sole with good ground contact. I will let that be up to you.
When it comes to the strength sessions you might want to consider more flat shoes like:
Reason for this is that when doing exercises like squat and pistols you want to have a good contact with the ground for stabilization.
Other things to consider is the durability. Exercises like handstand against wall, handstand pushups against wall and burpees might be hard on your shoes. Therefore, they need to be able to take some hits. Also, as calisthenics often are done outside they need to be able to resist different kinds of weather.
Of course bare feet can be an option if the condition allows it.

T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, joggers:

Not much to say here – it depends on what works for you.
Here are some companies that specialize on apparel for calisthenics.

Gloves & Grips:

Working out on bars can be rough for your hands. Same goes for training outside on hard surface. Therefore, you might want to consider gloves or grips.
For the gloves, it’s rather easy to google “calisthenics gloves” and you will get some results.gloves
Some of the issues I have had with gloves and that you might experience yourself is sweat and bad grip-feeling.
If you work out in a higher pace or indoors, your fingers might get sweaty and wearing a pair of gloves will become sticky experience.
For the grip feeling, I often have an issue with gloves as they make my grip weaker and that combined with sweat, messes things really up.
I still have a pair of CrossFit gloves from Rouge that I still use now and then, but only for shorter workouts.
On the other hand, if you work out outside and in a colder climate, like here in Sweden, it’s almost mandatory with gloves especially in the wintertime.
Grips are still my preferred way to protect my hands when working out on bars and I have nailed it down to two types that I use.
Jaw” and “The Natural GripJaw gripthe natural grip
In general, why I like grips is that you avoid the issues with sweating. Furthermore, the grips that I mention here are very thin, which gives a better grip feeling.
Additional with these grips are that you can add chalk to them as well.
The downside with such thin grips is then that they don’t last forever. A pair of Jaw will have a lifetime of around 6-12 months, which is still quite good.
Let’s now leave the apparel and move to other types of mandatory equipment.

Pull-up bar

Even if you have not nailed the pull-ups yet, you will soon need a pull-up bar where you can train the progression towards pull-ups, toes to bar, levelers and muscle-ups.
We will look at three types.
Door pull-up bars might be the less expensive and the most flexible solution. In one version you simply hook it to the door frame and then remove it when you are done, whereas another requires a bit of mounting.door pull up bar
Pros: Cheap, flexible, requires little mounting
Cons: Not the most stable solution; limited height, so the legs have to be bent; can’t do muscle-ups on them.
Wall & Roof mounted pull-up bars will require a dedicated space and a solid mounting. If you are lucky to have your own garage or garden gym, this might be a good solution.wall mounted pull-up bar
Pros: Stable – if height in the room allows it you can do bar muscle-ups on them.
Cons: Normally more expensive than the door pull-up bar – Will require a solid mounting.
Power Towers are built for both pull-ups, dips and normally leg raises. It’s a standalone equipment, so there is no need for wall nor roof mounting.power tower
Pros: You both have a pull-up bar and dip station. Flexible as they don’t require any mounting on the wall or roof.
Cons: Normally expensive, 100$ and upward – limited height, so you’ll need to bend your legs when doing pull-ups and dips. Assembling takes more time than the other solutions. They are rather big and not easy to store.
When selecting a pull-up bar also consider the following.
  • How thick is the bar – will it work for your hands.
  • How is the surface – smooth or rough.
  • Can you variate your grip.

Dip stations:

Power Towers with a dip station. We have already covered this above.
Classic Dip Stationdip station
Pros: Normally a very stable solution but it of course comes in different qualities.
Cons: They are rather big. You can dip on them and not much more.
High parallel bars are normally used for L-sit, handstand, planche etc., but they can easily be used for dips as well.high parallettes
Pros: Can be used for different exercises. Normally lighter and easier to store than a classic dip station.
Cons: Often not as solid as a real dip station
What you may additionally want to consider when choosing the right dip station are:
  • How thick is the bar – will it work for your hands.
  • How is the surface – smooth or rough.
  • Can you variate your grip.
  • How high is it – do you need to bend legs
  • Can it be used for horizontal pull-ups – if you don’t have pull-ups yet you might want to do horizontal pull-ups for progression.


We already mentioned them and you want them for your L-sit, advanced handstand and advanced planche. However, for L-sit they are a basic equipment.
Which form you choose depends on personal preferences.

Gymnastic rings:

Some might say that they are not mandatory; however, they will give you access to many good exercises like ring rows, dips, L-sit, muscle-ups, ring pull-ups etc.rings
Working out on rings are always harder than on the bar, as you need to stabilize more.
Basically, rings comes in two versions. Plastic and wood.
Plastic Rings are cheaper than wood rings but they are also more slippery than wood rings.
Wood rings are more expensive but the grip is better.


The final equipment you might consider as mandatory is chalk. When fingers starts to become sweaty it will be difficult to keep a good grip. That’s where chalk can be a good thing to have.chalk

Optional calisthenics equipment:

A yoga mat might be a good idea for exercises like hollow hold, push-ups, burpees etc., especially if you work out outside. has som where high quality matsyoga mat
Weight vest can be a good solution for progression. In calisthenics it often becomes an issue to progress in some exercises and that is where a weight vest could help give you a bit more resistance.
The weight vests come in many variations but you want a good quality that sits tight and still allow you to move freely.
Also, you want a weight vest where you can variate the weight.
Some good quality weight wests can be found here at Rouge.weight vest
Jump rope is great for condition training. Again, what you should be looking for is a good quality rope where you can change the wire.
As a beginner you want to have a thicker rope in order to feel it. When you become better you can change to a thinner wire which will make your jumps faster and lighter.
Especially when working with double unders or tripe unders, you need to have this kind of mindset for progression.
One jump rope that fulfils these requirements is Rx Jump rope.jump rope
Rubber bands can be used for many things. Strength training, mobility and support when progressing.rubber bands
I use them very much for mobility and when learning new skills like muscle-ups, planche etc.
Why I like them is that you can do a complete exercise with full range of motion, but of course with the help from the rubber band. Instead of splitting the new exercise into supporting exercises, you can start to work on the exercise right away.
Rubber bands can be found with different thickness, which again give different resistance or support. Some examples here.
Climbing ropes – of course you can live without them and yes they are difficult to mount. But if you have the possibility why not? They are really good at developing your pull and grip.climbing rope
Grips with different shapes can develop your grip and forearms. So when things become too easy or you just need a new toy, you can consider some different grips.grip
Peg Boards are starting to become popular in CrossFit and again it’s absolutely nothing you need, but now and then it’s just fun to try out new things.pegboard

Additional thoughts:

Instead of buying these things, you of course also could find a gym that have some good calisthenics equipment. Normally, CrossFit boxes have these pieces of equipment.
Also take look here and see if you have nearby outdoor gym that you can use for free.
Or if you have a lot of money, then these companies can deliver complete packets.
Finally, how about building your calisthenics equipment by yourself? Here are some suggestions on how to do that.

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