The Best Calisthenics Home Equipment For Beginners
It can be a challenge to sift through the countless videos, blog posts and forum threads when you start your journey into calisthenics. So how do you figure out which calisthenics equipment is the best investment for your home?
“What equipment do I need? Which basic exercises should I start with? Will this be a costly investment?”
All of these questions start coming to mind and it seems like everyone has their own opinions. In this article, I’m going to explain my recommended home equipment for calisthenics and also the reasons behind my recommendations.
Dip Bars: They’re For More Than Just Dips!
The first piece of calisthenics equipment I recommend someone invest in is a nice set of dip bars. The reason why – believe it or not – isn’t necessarily for dips. There’s a lot more you can do with these bad boys, but one specific exercise that’s perfect for someone who’s starting calisthenics is shown in this thumbnail image from my YouTube channel:
Don’t get me wrong, dips are a great push exercise, but when you’re first starting out you’ll also need a pull exercise option that’s easier than pull-ups. The horizontal pulling exercise shown in the image above is known as “bodyweight rows” and is a great option that can be accomplished easily and safely with a set of dip bars to hang beneath.
Of course, you can always use the dip bars for their intended purpose – dips! – that’s a given. But talking specifically about pulling exercises, as you build the horizontal pulling strength with bodyweight rows, you’ll eventually find yourself ready to advance to vertical pulling exercises, which brings me to my second recommendation…
The Doorway Pull-Up Bar For Calisthenics
Quite possibly one of the greatest home fitness inventions in history, the doorway pull-up bar is a simple masterpiece of engineering that allows someone to hang safely from a bar that’s suspended on a standard-sized doorframe.
I’ve had my doorway pull-up bar for well over 3 years now and it’s still going strong. The only wear and tear it’s suffered through the years is the foam grips have torn and peeled off the bar from repetitive use.
At first I was little bummed about losing the foam grips, but then my wife got me a nice set of workout gloves. Now I just wear the gloves if my hands or calluses start to hurt. I don’t have to worry about calluses tearing, blisters forming, or anything like that slowing me down.
The pull-up is an essential pulling exercise if you want a wide, solid back when building strength and muscle mass with calisthenics, so I highly suggest investing in a bar and using my beginner routine video to learn the pull-up (the video contains all the progressions you need!).
Fitness Bands For Assistance & Resistance
When you’re learning pull-ups, you’ll reach a point where pull-up negatives (the downward phase of the exercise) are getting easier, but you still don’t have the strength to do the positive (upward) motion of the pull-up.
No worries, I got your back (pun intended). This is where a trusty set of fitness bands come into play.
You can loop a fitness band around your pull-up bar and step into it while doing pull-ups.
This will make the band assist you in pulling up, reducing the resistance and providing an ideal progression exercise between negatives and real pull-ups.
Fitness bands are dual-purpose. You can use them to add assistance to your exercises, making the movement easier to perform, but you can also use them for resistance, which opens plenty of opportunities for new movements and even isolation work.
Taking Calisthenics To An Intermediate Level
The equipment I recommended above is all the essentials a beginner needs for starting indoor calisthenics. It’ll allow you to pursue the pull-up – one of the most challenging yet foundational bodyweight exercises – while also being able to advance with pushing, squatting and core exercises.
Once you feel like you’re graduating beyond beginner, you can start easing into intermediate-level calisthenics skills with a sturdy set of parallettes, which are basically dip bars but kept very low to the ground.
The low height of parallettes makes them ideal for certain exercises, such as the L-Sit, because it’s more challenging than on dip bars since your legs are closer to touching the floor.
At the same time, parallettes allow for increased safety when pursuing more dangerous skills, like a bent-armhandstand on parallel bars.
Once you have the parallettes, pair them with some gymnastics rings and you’re good to go for a long time in terms of building your calisthenics strength and skills. The only other investment I’d recommend in the future is a free-standing pull-up bar for muscle ups, but that’s a whole separate blog post in itself.
Is It Cheaper To Do Calisthenics At Home?
If you’re still reading this post and wondering if the equipment I mentioned is worth the investment, here’s something you should consider.
A typical gym with this type of equipment will have a joining fee. On average, I’ve seen those fees exceed $100.
On top of that joining fee, you’ll also have a monthly membership fee. If it’s a nice gym with high-quality equipment and plenty of space? You’re looking at $50 per month, easy.
If you tally up ALL the home equipment I recommend on this page, which isn’t all necessary for starting out, you’ll come to a total that’s less than half of what the first year at the average gym costs. And the best part? That home equipment you bought? It will last you YEARS – even decades – if you take great care of it.
Time Is Of The Essence
And what about time? What if your time is limited and that’s a factor preventing you from consistently working out?
Let’s say the closest gym is a 10-minute drive from your home. Well, when you factor in the drive there and drive back, that’s 20 minutes each time you go. That might be more than you’re willing to spare.
And if you work out 3 times per week? That’s 1 hour per week spent driving your car only to get to a place where you can exercise.
That may not sound like a whole lot of time on the surface, but multiply that by one year and you have 52 hours per year you could save. That’s over 2 entire days that you’d spend driving to the gym each year.
So when you think about it, having some dip bars and a pull-up bar at home to get started with calisthenics can save you some pretty significant time. And time is something a lot of us don’t seem to have enough of these days.
Home Calisthenics Workouts FTW!
So are you ready to take action?
Here’s a quick recap of what to do:
- Get yourself some dip bars and a doorway pull-up bar
- Watch my beginner routine video on YouTube and take notes
- Start off performing the routine with your new equipment 3 days per week, as recommended in my video.
- Once 3 days per week feels too easy? Advance to 4 days a week, then 5 days and even 6.
- And once you’re doing that routine 5 or 6 days per week, you’ll be in great shape, but go ahead and check out my YouTube channel for intermediate level workouts!
Good luck any happy training! 🙂