- Doing Calisthenics from Home
- Reasons for Home Calisthenics Equipment
- What Home Calisthenics Equipment You Need
- Level 1: The Core Setup
- Level 2: The Advanced Setup
- Level 0: Optional Attributes
- The Bottom Line: Buying Calisthenics Equipment for Home Gyms
- Frequently Asked Questions About Calisthenics Equipment for Home Setups
So, you’ve decided to better your life through Calisthenics or, you no longer want to visit a gym for your workouts. Whatever your reason for reading this article, you’re looking for Calisthenics equipment for a home gym. It costs less to build a Calisthenics home gym than you might think and, adding in the subscription fees for a professional gym might save you money in the long run. In this comprehensive article, we’ll tell you what you need and where you can get it. We’ll add options for different budgets and for different levels of Calisthenics. You’ll know exactly what Calisthenics equipment for home gyms is appropriate, so you don’t waste money and time and can go ahead and get in shape.
Doing Calisthenics from Home
Many Calisthenics practitioners never set foot in a professional gym. They have all they need from their own bodies and with the Calisthenics equipment at home. The fact of the matter is, you don’t need a whole lot of Calisthenics equipment for a home setup. The recommended Core Setup consists of just 3 pieces of Calisthenics equipment. This gets you 90% [sic] of the full Calisthenics experience and will be sufficient for most beginner Calisthenics practitioner for months if not years to come.
If you think about it, what does Calisthenics really do other than using your own bodyweight to train with? Nothing, right? The beauty of Calisthenics is its simplicity and so, Calisthenics equipment for home gyms are also pretty simple.
Doing Calisthenics from home is easy but it requires a level of discipline from you. If you’re going to a professional gym, you’re going there for a reason. You’ve mentally set yourself to go to that gym and workout for a certain amount of time or to do a certain routine. Once you’re in the car or on the bike or in the train, chances are you’ll go through with it to the end. It’s just setting that first step out the door that will switch something in your brain and you’ll carry through.
This can be different with a Calisthenics home gym. You are already home and the home gym is always there. Physically, it’s a lot easier to get to your home gym, but mentally it is much easier to say to yourself: I’ll do it in half an hour, I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it after the weekend. Delay is the beginning of defeat and having such convenient and easy access makes it all the easier to procrastinate.
Reasons for Home Calisthenics Equipment
There are several reasons why you’d acquire Calisthenics equipment for a home gym. Some of these were reasons why we bought all the Calisthenics equipment for our own home gyms, others we heard from friends or people we work with.
Maintaining this blog next to our full-time jobs is very time consuming. You come back home after a long day and then you have other things to do like eating, social time and hobbies. Where do you find the time to go to the gym? This becomes a bigger problem as your workout routine starts requiring a bit more time. Just driving there takes a lot of your precious time away, time you could be working out. Your Calisthenics home gym is right there in your home.
A related reason we hear often is from people who are on the road for their job. Truck drivers, sales peoples, representatives, and so on, are already driving around or otherwise traveling the whole day. They don’t want to jump into their cars or take another bus to the gym when they get home. Having the Calisthenics equipment there in your home just saves a lot of time.
We believe body shaming is a form of bullying and that no one should be ashamed of their bodies. Now a reality check. That you shouldn’t be ashamed of your body doesn’t mean you aren’t. These aren’t opinions you easily change for yourself. Having a Calisthenics home gym in the privacy of your home can make all the difference between feeling too anxious to even try and getting the shape you always dreamt about.
For some people there’s other reasons they want to have some privacy. Maybe your face is well-known or the dress required to do proper Calisthenics is too revealing in the eyes of your personal or religious beliefs. For whatever reason, privacy means a lot to many people. Having the Calisthenics equipment in your home is a great way to ensure that privacy.
Building a core Calisthenics home gym with all the needed equipment doesn’t have to be expensive. You’re investing into your long-term health and you’re likely to avoid a lot of medical bills the same you, who in a parallel universe didn’t get fit, is paying right now. Visiting a professional gym isn’t free of charge either. If you’re committed to Calisthenics and to maintaining a healthy body and life, then the accumulated costs of gym subscription fees will far outweigh what you spent on your Calisthenics equipment at home.
Lower Entry Bar
It may be easier for you to use your Calisthenics home equipment sooner than going to the professional gym. This has some overlap with the privacy and time reasons. You look at the clock and it’s already 7PM and you need to be in bed by 11PM. You’re going to drive half an hour to the gym and risk being all pumped up with energy by the time you go to bed? No, you skip today.
Say you’re self-conscious about your body. You know the professional gym has a lot of eyes and people look. That’s what our eyes are for and as social animals, it’s only natural to stare. The bar is just so much lower to start if you can do it on your own and in your own time.
Maybe you just need the psychological kick in the behind to get started. Not having any barriers to do that can help tremendously to pick yourself up and go and do it.
The last couple of years have made us all very aware of the microcosm that’s around us, constantly. Did you know every human being has a unique cloud of bacteria and viruses floating around them all the time and everywhere they go? It’s called the microbial cloud and its composition is unique to every person. Most gym users clean up after themselves, but truth be told unless they’re wiping everything down with a detergent it’s not going to be clean.
Your own Calisthenics home equipment is as clean as you keep it. And, it will at the very least be only your microbial cloud present.
What Home Calisthenics Equipment You Need
In the next part of this article, you’ll find out how to get your own Calisthenics home equipment together. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to get started and how to advance from there in the future should you want that. We’ve broken all the Calisthenics home equipment up into 2 levels with an additional level of helpful but non-mandatory options.
- Level 1: The Core Setup: these are the core equipment for a fully functional, Calisthenics home gym. This setup will not just get you by, it is meant to offer you a full workout and you can rely on this setup indefinitely.
- Level 2: The Avanced Setup: if you’re looking to further your Calisthenics career, the Advanced Setup is the logical next step. This setup builds on top of the Core Setup and can be readily integrated with the existing Calisthenics home equipment you already have from the Core Setup.
- Level 0: Optional Attributes: these are optional but very helpful additions to your Calisthenics home equipment, or can offer more functionality like combining different equipment into one.
Aside from the recommended specific equipment, we will link to more in-depth articles about that kind of Calisthenics equipment where we discuss many more options for you to choose from. Although we feel confident with our pick of Calisthenics home equipment for a core setup, don’t feel held back to investigate further options.
Cost of Home calisthenics equipment
We can hear your brains churning and worrying already. Will this cost a lot of money? It’s true, you can make Calisthenics as expensive as you want it to be. But we want everyone, no matter how light or how heavy your purse, to be able to have a healthy body and experience the joy of Calisthenics. That is why we’ll add options for a varying budget for each setup and each piece of Calisthenics equipment for your home gym. Obviously, concessions need to be made with cheaper options but we’ll do our utmost best to find you the best value for money. We will also try to acquire, find and list any discount codes for you to use to save a little extra.
Level 1: The Core Setup
With the Core Setup, you can start doing Calisthenics from your home and expect to do a full workout. We’ll focus here on building up core body strength, arms and shoulders. For this, you only need three things: a Pull-Up Bar, a set of Dip Bars and a Resistance Band. With these three in your Calisthenics home equipment set, you’re set for years to come. By far and large most Calisthenics practitioners never advance past this level and that is perfectly fine. You’ll have your pick of hundreds of different techniques which can combine in a near infinite number of workout routines.
Pull-Up Bars are essential for exercising your back muscles as well as your core body strength. Upper-back, lower-back as well as your abdomen can all be trained with a Pull-Up Bar. A Pull-Up bar is responsible for many, core Calisthenics exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, knee raises, back levers and many variations thereof. There are many different variations of Pull-Up Bar and there are many options out there. Since it is one of the most ubiquitous Calisthenics equipment found in the home gym, you will (sadly) also find many poor-quality examples.
A basic Pull-Up Bar consists of a horizontal top bar, fastened to a mounting point. Pull-Up Bars come in 3 main varieties: free-standing, door frame-mounted and wall-mounted Pull-Up Bars. The free-standing Pull-Up Bar stands by itself and has its own legs and base. The door-mounted and wall-mounted Pull-Up Bars need either a door frame or a wall to be mounted on.
More expensive Pull-Up Bars may have additional protrusions or functionality aside from the horizontal top bar. Others are of more novel designs. We recommend choosing one with a simple, long horizontal top bar. Other protrusions or functionality is a bonus but mustn’t be at the sacrifice of quality. For a Calisthenics home gym situation, we do not recommend a door-mounted variant.
That leaves the choice between Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars or Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars. The Free-Standing versions do not require a permanent fixture to a wall but generally take up more space and are a bit more expensive.
Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars
Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
Door Pull-Up Bars
Ceiling Pull-Up Bars
- More on: Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
- More on: Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bars
- More on: Door Pull-Up Bars
- More on: Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bars
The second, fundamental exercise in Calisthenics is the Dip. Together with the Pull-Up, it consists the core of workout routines which involve Calisthenics home equipment. Many get by using two opposing chairs to do their dips between, or resort to resting their hands on a staircase for a shallow dip. These aren’t the safest solutions out there and we recommend getting a good set of Dip Bars early on as part of your home Calisthenics equipment. Not only are Dip Bars more stable than using chairs, you can grip them properly and perform a deeper dip. This actuates your muscles far better and is more comfortable to your wrist.
Dip Bars are very suitable to train your shoulders, chest and of course the triceps. But there is a myriad of exercises you can do which focus on building up your abs, legs and back as well, all using the Dip Bars. This makes a set of Dip Bars a quintessential addition to your Calisthenics home equipment.
- More on: Dip Bars
Resistance bands work in two ways. The most common way of using Resistance bands is to make exercises easier to do. By allowing the Resistance band to take part of your weight, the difficulty of doing Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups can be decreased, allowing you to focus on proper technique and gradually building up enough strength to go for a lighter Resistance band. You do this until you graduate from them completely. You can also do exercises with them as-is, and there are many exercises using Resistance bands.
We highly recommend getting at least one, quality Resistance band as part of your core Calisthenics home equipment so you can learn proper technique without worrying about the number of sets and reps you can achieve or about injuring yourself in the process.
Level 2: The Advanced Setup
For the Advanced Setup of your Calisthenics home equipment, we’re looking to make your Calisthenics exercises more difficult to do. A harder workout means better results. At some point, your body will have become so strong that adding sets and reps will only make you out of breath but will no longer add strength. You’ve hit a ceiling (or a plateau as we call it). To break through that ceiling, you’re going to have to bring in additional difficulty from the outside. We do this by weighing our bodies down and by activating muscles we don’t ordinarily use that much. This is very much an addition to your Core Setup and we’ll assume you have these essentials in home Calisthenics equipment in place already or are looking to buy them at once as well.
It’s not just Olympic athletes who use the Gymnastic Rings. Calisthenics athletes also make good use of them during their exercise. The techniques you use with Gymnastic Rings for Calisthenics are very similar to those done by gymnasts. The difference is that every exercise now becomes very challenging! Aside from having to execute the technique properly and working out those muscles, you now also have to maintain your balance on the rings. This puts a load on muscles you otherwise never would have used (or knew you had).
Gymnastic Rings are an excellent way to keep doing the Calisthenics you’re used to, but instantly add a new layer of difficulty and stress for your muscles. It is one of the easiest ways to take that next step to build up more muscles as well as tremendous core strength. Muscles you didn’t think you had will start to grow as well, giving you a more finished and refined look.
There are two basic variations on the Gymnastic Ring; those made of wood and those made of plastic. We always recommend going for wooden Gymnastic Rings since they provide you with a natural kind of grip and just feel nicest in the hands.
- More on: Gymnastic Rings
You see them often, in the gym and outside in Calisthenics parks. The Weighted Vest is worn to artificially increase the wearer’s bodyweight. Once you’re at a certain point, no amount of exercise will make you stronger – just more tired. You’ll find out naturally when you’ve reached your body’s peak on its own. It can support your weight without any real trouble and until you’re out of breath, but you won’t notice any strength gains anymore.
It’s time to weigh yourself down. Once of the most versatile and mobile ways of doing this is by wearing a Weighted Vest. The Weighted Vest is a strong vest with a number of weights on or in it. You wear it like any other vest, while you’re doing Calisthenics exercises.
We have worn and reviewed many Weighted Vests in the past and to us, Gravity Fitness sticks out head and shoulders above the competition. They are an immensely popular choice and if you’ve ever seen someone wear a Weighted Vest, chances are high it was a Gravity Fitness product. They’re the only ones which lasted us more than 2 years so these are the ones we’ll recommend.
Dip Belts function similarly to Weighted Vests in that they weigh down your body. But, instead of wearing it like a vest, the Dip Belt is worn around your waist (your natural waist) and has weights suspended from it, usually by a chain. The Dip Belt is a lot less mobile than the Weighted Vest since you’re always hauling free-swinging weights around. However, where Weighted Vests peter out at 60 to 100 pounds, Dip Belts can take a lot more weight. A whole lot more weight! There are versions out there which allow you to carry an additional 1000 pounds.
Dip Belts are meant for a specific set of exercises which don’t involve a lot of movement. Think off Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups and Dips.
- More on: Dip Belts
Level 0: Optional Attributes
These are entirely optional attributes but which we find very useful to have while doing Calisthenics. Though not strictly necessary, we find that most Calisthenics practitioners will at some point add one or more of these to their workout or home gym. That would include ourselves.
The Power Tower is a combination of a Pull-Up Bar and a Dip Bar. Often, they come with a workout bench as well. A Power Tower can be a cost-saving alternative to buying a Pull-Up Bar and Dip Bars separately. Like Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars, they do tend to take up more space on their own and they’re not as easily moved and stored when not in use. Power Towers are also a lot more cumbersome to take outside. Going for a Power Tower over a Pull-Up Bar and Dip Bar is a matter of personal preference and indeed, the space you have at home.
- More on: Power Towers
A fine add-on to your home calisthenics equipment are Parallettes. They allow you to do Push-Ups, Dips, L-Sits and so on. Although you can get by with Dip Bars fulfilling a similar role, Parallettes are much better at doing close-to-the-ground exercises like push-ups.
Liquid Chalk provides you with additional grip when you need it, without throwing around dust everywhere. Just like the old-fashioned chalk ball, Liquid Chalk leaves a coating of chalk on your hand. This dries up any sweat and generally increases the friction your hands can create. Especially when you’re doing Chin-Ups or inverted exercises on your Pull-Up Bar or Power Tower, you want maximum grip. Liquid chalk is fairly inexpensive, so we have no classification for price here.
- More on: Liquid Chalk
The Bottom Line: Buying Calisthenics Equipment for Home Gyms
After going through our list an endless number of times, we feel comfortable in saying that this will create a competent Calisthenics home gym. All the home Calisthenics equipment here, we have used or are using to date for our own workouts and we stand by them. The bottom line now, the costs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Calisthenics Equipment for Home Setups
For a core setup to do the majority of Calisthenics exercises at home you will need: a Pull-Up Bar, a set of Dip Bars and a set of Resistance bands. By far most Calisthenics practitioners find this equipment sufficient for their home Calisthenics needs. A more advanced setup would include all of the above and a Weighted Vest, a Dip Belt and a set of Gymnastic Rings.
There are many different kinds of equipment used in Calisthenics whether at the gym or at home. The most common ones are: Pull-Up Bars, Dip Bars, Power Towers, Weighted Vests, Dip Belts and Resistance bands.
Calisthenics are as expensive as you make it. With budget Calisthenics home equipment solutions, you can have a core setup for around 200 dollars. This would include a Pull-Up Bar, Dip Bars and Resistance bands. That would be everything you need to enjoy most of Calisthenics has to offer and is what the majority of Calisthenics practitioners never progress beyond this point.
The simple answer is to start doing Calisthenics. Building your body to a fit state is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. Persevere in doing a workout routine which fits your schedule and your goals and eventually you will get there. To help you, Calisthenics has some innovative home equipment like Pull-Up Bars and Dip Bars.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.