Looking for some calisthenics workout equipment to help upgrade your workouts? In this article I’m going to talk about some of the best pieces of equipment you can use in your calisthenics training to make it more creative and challenging.
Let’s start off by looking at some of the more established training accessories, followed by the more unique and creative pieces.
Essential 1 – Resistance Bands
The resistance band is an extremely versatile piece of equipment as it is incredibly valuable for both the beginner, and advanced calisthenics athlete.
For beginners, resistance bands provide a very simple way to make pull ups and dips easier. They create the benefit of being able to do these movements with some assistance, get stronger at them, and eventually transition to being able to do the exercises completely unassisted.
If you want to be able to do bodyweight dips and pull ups, but currently find them too difficult, then resistance bands have the solution you need.
Here is a quick example of how they can be used for the beginner:
As shown in the picture above, a resistance band can be tied around a chin up bar, and looped under the base of your foot.
The band essentially acts as a large elastic band, when its stretched it will tighten up, and will want to revert back to its original shape.
So at the bottom of the pull up the band will be stretched, giving you the extra assistance you need to pull yourself up.
It’s fantastic because it gives you just enough assistance so that you can complete the exercise, but still leaves a large amount of the work for you so you can get the benefit of the training.
Additionally, resistance bands come in a number of strengths and sizes, which allows you to pick how much assistance you need, depending on your current strength level.
For the advanced calisthenics athlete, the resistance band can also play a key role in workouts.
Instead of the resistance band making an exercise easier, they can be used to make it harder. This will be beneficial for those of you who find body weight exercises like push ups and dips easy.
When doing a push up, a resistance band can be looped around your back and held in your hands, as a result it will stretch and become tighter as you push up, making each rep more challenging.
The same technique can be applied to a number of exercises to make them more difficult, particularly the dip.
As you can see resistance bands are a must have piece of equipment if you need ways to make certain exercises easier/harder depending on where you are in your calisthenics journey.
Essential 2 – Rings
Everyone who does calisthenics will have access to a chin up or pull up bar.
These bars are great for stuff like chin ups and pull ups, but there are a number of exercises which need something lower to hold on to.
That’s where rings come in handy, they hang from a regular pull up bar, and basically provide floating handles for you to do all sorts of unique exercises that would not be possible otherwise.
Some of my favourite exercises that you can do with rings are:
- Inverted rows
- Ring push ups
- Ring dips
- Ring bicep curls
- Ring chest flyes
Since the rings hang in mid air, you have to do a lot of work to just keep them stable during an exercise. All of this stabilization work makes for a tougher workout, and will definitely be an awesome way for anyone to spice up there current workout plan.
Essential 3 – Towel
Rings and resistance bands are considered to be the top two picks when it comes to calisthenics workout equipment. However there are some other, more obscure items that are actually incredibly beneficial additions when used in the right way.
The towel is the first of those items. Unlike the resistance bands and the rings, the towel is a more specialized piece of equipment that will help you build one of the most under trained, yet critical parts of the upper body, the forearms.
Most people are unaware of the benefits of training forearms, so let me detail them quickly here:
- Many people are keen on increasing the size of their biceps and triceps since they want big arms. But the forearms account for a large portion of the overall arm mass too, and when trained properly can contribute greatly to the overall impressiveness of a big arm.
- Forearms are responsible for grip strength. Grip strength is vitally important if your looking to get better at calisthenics, or just be a better athlete. No matter would kind of activity you do, you need to be able to control what you grip, whether it be a bar, bat, ball etc. It all will benefit from having a stronger, sturdier grip.
All you need to do with a towel is wrap it over a pull up bar, hold each end of the towel, and perform pull ups with it. Doing pull ups like this is really going to challenge your grip, and develop those forearms.
Additionally you can change how hard the towel is on your grip by changing how thick the towel is.
- If you want it to be easier, use a towel which isn’t as big or thick.
- If you want it to be harder, use a thicker towel, or use 2 towels, grabbing one in each hand.
Essential 4 – A Notepad
The last piece of equipment that I recommend is a notepad, and although it’s not something you’d expect to be called “essential calisthenics workout equipment”, I would certainly classify it as that, simply because of how crucial it can be to your overall progress.
No matter what your goal is with calisthenics, whether it’s to:
- Get bigger muscles
- Get stronger
- Get better at calisthenics in general
- Be able to do increasingly harder calisthenics movements
All of them require you to progress in some way. Progression is key when in comes to improving in calisthenics, and if you are going to get anywhere you have to make sure that progression is something that is happening on a regular basis in your workouts.
Progression comes in many forms, here are some of the most common:
- Increasing reps
- increasing sets
- Picking a harder exercise
- Making an existing exercise more difficult
When you have a notepad, you can write down all the things you did in your previous workout, and refer to those notes in your next workout, making sure that this time around your going to do something to improve upon your previous performance.
Its this continual act of reflection and building upon the last workout that will consistently allow your workouts to get progressively harder over time, which will help you stay on course with your specific goal.
If your serious about making progress then writing down your workouts will only benefit you.
If You Have Enjoyed This Article
Thanks for taking the time to read this article on essential calisthenics workout equipment. Thank you to Tykato Fitness for his contribution to streetworkoutacademy.com.
Thanks for reading!