What Equipment Do You Need For Calisthenics

If you’re just starting out with calisthenics, not much equipment is needed since getting the basics down should be your top priority. Typically, finding a need for equipment for your bodyweight workouts doesn’t come until building the strength and the form from the basics.

When filling out your space for calisthenic workouts. The most common types of calisthenic equipment you would need are pull up bars, parallettes and dip bars. These tend to be the staples of what is needed to begin advancing in the world of bodyweight exercises. In addition to these staples, adding in gymnast rings, weighted vest and power towers are other great options, given the need and space for them.

Calisthenic equipment tend to take up very little space. Making it the perfect at home workout. They are also very versatile. Meaning you wouldn’t have to change anything as you grow with your workout routine. You would be using the same equipment just with different variations of your exercise to further challenge yourself.

If you’re living area has limited space or you just don’t want to go through the hassle of heavy machinery and clunky weights. Starting in calisthenics is likely your best option. There are plenty of other reasons as to why this is a great choice but that would be outside of the scope of this article.

You can find out a little bit more about calisthenics here.

Finding the right calisthenics equipment should first be determined by your level of fitness and where you plan on setting your goals. There’s no need to buy all the products on the market if it doesn’t meet your needs and if you wouldn’t be utilizing the main purpose of each.

Calisthenic Equipment You Need

Now we can take a better look at what calisthenic equipment would be nice additions for you. These are the most common types of equipments you would find in a calisthenics gym. And would like be all you need, especially if you’re just starting out.

  • Parallettes – are typically used for push ups and its variations/progressions. But can also be used for L-sits and handstands. Parallettes are useful for building strength in both the body and grip. And are also a way of controlling ones balance.
  • Dip Bars – There is a larger variety of sizes for dip bars. Finding the right one for you would come down to your fitness needs and the space you have. The bigger they are doesn’t necessarily mean better, it really would depend on what you plan on doing. With dip bars you can work core muscles and triceps and also perform modified pull ups.
  • Pull Up Bar – Whether it is a door way pull up bar or something you would be installing from scratch. Pull ups are a great way to not only work arms, but core and back muscles simultaneously. These exercises are a great way to build upper body strength.
  • Floor Mats – Some type of layer between your floor and workout should be used if possible. For one, it helps protect your existing floor from any accidental damage when working out. Also, providing some layer of cushion can do wonders for your muscle and joints. There may be times where you will be landing harder than expected from a workout. And having something soft to land on would be ideal.
  • Resistance Bands – very simple and inexpensive. Resistance bands have many uses for stretches and workouts alike. Using them for warmups or cool downs is a good way to get some easy resistance with light workouts.
  • Calisthenics Gloves – depending on how your grip strength is, investing in a pair of calisthenic gloves may be a good idea. During a workout, perspiration could be an issue that causes grip to be slippery or not stable. Having the right pair of gloves eliminates that problem.

Why Is There Equipment For Calisthenics

One thing that makes calisthenics so appealing is not only the quality of workout you get. But also how little is needed to get started and to even continue with. Calisthenics is based off of bodyweight exercises. Which means you workouts use your own body as the main form of resistance (think push ups, sit ups, pull ups, etc).

The equipment you would end up needing, typically will assist you in performing variations of the basic workouts that require the push and pull motions. Through these motions is where you build strength in your upper body, lower body and core.

The varied exercises that are available with calisthenic equipment allows the user to create added weight to the area of the body they are working on. For example, when the regular push up has become not as challenging as you would want. Using paralettes to either incline or decline your body positions, adds more body weight to your arms.

Men’s Health Paralette Push Ups

Many calisthenics athletes also do different types of push up progressions for the same reason. However, most progressions do not require any equipment, just different movements altogether.

Push Up Progressions

Something you should note is that investing in calisthenics equipment allows you to have a wider range of exercises. As well as the ability to focus primarily on working certain areas of the body.

parallettes calisthenics equipment

Extra Calisthenic Equipment Down The Road

  • Jump Rope – You need to get the cardio in. Jumping rope is a great exercise to get your heart pumping and breaking a sweat. A good substitution for jogging if you’re unable to get outside or if you’re just looking for the workout warm up / cool down.
  • Power Tower – In place of pull up bars and dip bars. A power tower could be a solution to not having too many extra workout equipment. The issue with most of these items is that they are tall and wide making them fit into areas a bit trickier.
  • Weighted Vest – When you begin to feel less challenge on your workouts, adding a weight vest could help you progress. Instead increasing your reps, use the vest to make your workouts more challenging by increasing resistance.
  • Gymnast Rings – This piece of equipment would be more applicable to the advanced calisthenic athlete. Many of the workouts that would be performed on gymnast rings are suitable to those who already have some bodyweight exercises mastered under their belt. There are beginner exercises you can do with gymnast rings, but they are also other types of equipment you could use to reach the same goal.

Can You Build Your Own Calisthenic Equipment?

There are alternative options when building the same equipment on your own. If you consider yourself pretty handy and have the time to set it all up. Then a couple of quick google searches should provide you step by step options on building the right kind of calisthenic equipment you’re looking for.

Some nails, PVP pipes and a wood board could get you some make shift parallettes or dip bars. And at the fraction of the cost of what branded versions would be. They also wouldn’t take much time to produce.

Making calisthenics equipment on your own, should come with some caution though. Making sure they’re they’re put together correctly and secure enough to handle your exercises should be the top priority.

I would recommend having the piece of mind of using equipment specifically made for the purpose of bodyweight exercises. The cost is a bit higher, but they should last you for years down the road.


Having workout equipment that you won’t need to change because you have outgrown your workout is such plus in my books. Unlike heavy workout equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals where the likelihood of them breaking down as years past is high. Or bulky weights and all-in-one gyms that take up more space then you would like, not to mention the heavier or lighter weights that you don’t use, just hanging around.

Utilizing calisthenics equipment and learning the workout strategies that come with them, opens up a door to a different level of fitness. There is no conclusion saying it is better or worse than other types of workouts out there, as it all comes down to preference. However, if you’re looking for an exercise style that utilizes functional movements. Than finding yourself some calisthenics equipment and creating your own gym space would be a great route to take.

Some related calisthenics topics:

How to start calisthenics: https://thebasementwarrior.com/starting-calisthenics/
Is it a good home workout: https://thebasementwarrior.com/is-calisthenics-a-good-home-workout/

Beginner calisthenics workouts: https://thebasementwarrior.com/beginner-calisthenics-exercises/

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