Did you know that the equipment requirements for effective Calisthenics training is minimal?
There are only a few items of Calisthenics equipment that you will need for a complete, full body workout.
That is one of the best things about Calisthenics training. You can greatly improve your muscular development, flexibility, and functional strength with very little expense.
While many Calisthenics exercises require no equipment at all, if you want to reap the full body benefits that Calisthenics has to offer, you should invest in a few key pieces of equipment and a proper training program.
The equipment items needed are generally pretty basic and relatively inexpensive. However, you will need them to perform some of the most beneficial exercises, namely the dip, pull up and press up.
In addition to the equipment requirements, a structured Calisthenics program will help you reach your goals much faster and reduce the risk of injury. This is because any training program worth its salt will explain, in detail, how to safety execute all of the exercises and give you progressions.
For these reasons, I strongly recommend following a program or training manual written by an experienced Calisthenics practitioner. Some of the more well known trainers/practitioners are Al Kavadlo, Paul “Coach” Wade and Frank Medrano.
More on them later….
Let’s list some of the equipment you will need to a complete Calisthenics program.
Pull Up Bars…
Pull up bars are one of the most important pieces of training equipment you will ever use. Pull-up bars/Horizontal bars allow you to do a wide range of full body exercises including (but not limited to) pull ups, muscle ups, and leg raises. These exercises will seriously sculpt your back, biceps, shoulders, lats, and abs.
Pull-ups are one of the best exercises for developing functional strength. They should be a part of any regular training program.
If you don’t want to buy a pull up bar, most outdoors parks and fitness centres possess pull up bars.
There is nothing better than doing some pull-ups on a nice day outside at the park!
Just like the pull up bar, the dip bar is great for improving your upper body strength. They are ideal for developing your chest, shoulders and triceps.
For home use, you can purchase either portable bars, wall mounted bars, or use a combination Pull Up Dip Station (aka a Power Tower).
Alternatively you can trek on down to your local park. You would be hard pressed to find a park these days that does not have set of parallel bars that are suitable for dipping on.
Rings and/or Suspension Trainers…
Gymnastics Rings and/or Suspension Training Straps are great for complementing your Calisthenics training. However, they are not a necessity so if you can’t afford them don’t fret.
Rings and Suspension trainers allow you to change up your routine (which is good for moral) and allow you do some cool exercises like the body weight fly, which targets the chest and shoulders.
Do to the recruitment of the smaller “stabilizer” muscles during exercises, Rings and/or Suspension Trainers help build develop your functional strength.
Rings are especially useful for advanced Calisthenics users who are in need of a more challenging Calisthenics exercise such as Ring Dips, Rings Muscle Ups the Iron Cross etc.
One of the most overlooked aspects to effective Calisthenics training is following a structured training program that has been developed by an expert.
There are several “old school” Calisthenics authors out there who have written great books and training guides on the subject.
Following their advice will consistently challenge you and force you to go through progressions. These Calisthenics books are fantastic and give you full training programs for every level athlete. My favorites are Convict Conditioning and Convict Conditioning 2 by Paul “Coach” Wade, and Pushing The Limits and Raising the Bar by Al Kavadlo.
Although training manuals are not technically “equipment”, I consider them “must have” items.
They provide a HUGE amount of valuable information to keep you training at your limits. They also help explain how to progress while reducing the chance of injury which is very important.
If you want to have great results you need to have structure and follow a good program. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
I don’t have enough of the green stuff…
If you really can’t afford some of the basic equipment then you should search your local community for a suitable park to train at. Most modern parks will have a least a pull up bar and some parallel dip bars.
If you can find a suitable park relatively close by, training here is a great option. This is because you don’t have to purchase any of the equipment or pay for a gym membership.
Just make sure to pick an environment where you feel motivated and can train in regularly. The only downside is that it can be a bit s#@t if come workout time its pissing with rain, the temperature is near freezing and its blowing a gale but hey….it was your call.
Another popular trend that is growing all the time is group training or boot camp style training. This is perfect for the individual that lacks motivation. Group training allows you to train with like-minded individuals such as yourself. This is keeps your motivation levels high and will help you to stay committed to a program.
I know for a fact that whenever I train with others it keeps me motivated and pushes me to work out harder. If you attend one of these groups, you will find that you feed off of the energy of everyone else and this should help you reach your fitness goals much faster.
I hope this article has helped to clarify what you need to effectively train with Calisthenics.
The beauty of Calisthenics is that the equipment that is required is pretty inexpensive. You can probably kit yourself out with everything you need for less than it would cost you for a years membership at a decent gym.
And if your really can’t stump up the cash, you can always go to the park or a group session.
Time to finish up here and go and “get some in” myself (training that is).
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First of all I want to say that you wrote a great article. You included everything about calisthenics equipment. I may add that the best choice when buying an equipment is a power tower. You can do every exercise on that for small amount of money.