Calisthenics is a great way to keep your body in shape because they help you to achieve all the aspects of fitness including strength, cardio, and flexibility. Even though calisthenics focuses on using your own body as resistance, there is some great calisthenics equipment that can improve your workout.
It’s great to have this calisthenics equipment because it keeps your calisthenics fresh and dynamic. The equipment that we are going to go over will be easy to use, improve many of your bodyweight moves, and great to take when traveling.
1. Yoga Mat
A yoga mat isn’t only used for yoga. Many calisthenics moves are done on the floor such as the pushup, plank, and most of your ab moves. If you don’t have a soft floor this can get very uncomfortable.
Ever try to elbow plank on a carpeted floor? You’ll have rug burn for days. This mat can be rolled up and even has a handle so you can bring it with you to the park, to the hotel room, wherever.
It can protect your knees, tailbone, and elbows from bruising. It is washable too which is a plus since you’ll be sweating all over it. This little mat will be your favorite workout buddy.
This is a nifty little gadget that attaches to any door jam in your home without screws or tools. The way it is designed allows it to stay using your body weight as resistance. With this simple contraption you can do pullups anywhere you find a door jam.
Its main function is to do pullups, but it can also be used off the door jam to do dips anywhere without a chair or bench. This is done by flipping it upside down on the floor and gripping the two curved pipes as your platform.
It can also be used in this position to perform incline pushups by holding the straight pipe with both hands and performing pushups like that.
These are useful in calisthenics because it adds weight to your body, making your muscles work harder.
Calisthenics often involves some fat loss, decreasing your bodyweight, making it easier on your muscles to perform the moves as time goes by. You want to continue to progress in your strength and wearing a weighted vest can easily add 20-60 lbs. to your bodyweight.
Instead of holding dumbbells to add resistance, which restricts which moves you can perform, a weighted vest can be used with any bodyweight move you choose.
This will help you to pack on muscle mass without using weights and continuing to perform functional moves.
4. Push up bars
These bars are hard to understand at first. What benefits do you get from gripping these instead of pushing off the floor? Actually, there are many.
Using these bars for pushups helps to keep some of the stress off your wrists by lining up the hand, wrist, and arm. They also allow you to go down further than a regular push up because they add a few inches more to go down. This helps you work the chest at a deeper level and create bigger pectoral muscles.
You can use them for decline pushups or place them farther apart to perform wide stance pushups, engaging more chest muscles. These bars are also known to add strength to your wrists as well.
These bars can also be used for more than just pushups. You can use them for dips or to do handstands.
These bands are so versatile, and they are compact and perfect to bring along on a trip. They are also very affordable but can add powerful results to your calisthenics workouts. They come in various weights or degrees of resistance and can be wrapped and stretched in any way needed.
Some are a connected circle that can be stepped into and used during squats or bridges for an added challenge to the leg muscles. Others have handles on both ends and can be used like dumbbells by using your legs to step on the middle or finding a tree or post to wrap it around.
You can do curls while lunging or overhead presses while squatting. This helps to make any move a compound move, working the body harder and in more body parts at once.
The use of these bands is only limited by your imagination.
This ball can add challenge to your bodyweight moves by requiring the core to balance your body while performing the move of your choice.
The rolling of the ball forces your body, mainly the core muscles, to stabilize the body falling. As you try to maintain control, your entire core is activated.
You can do crunches on the ball, pushups on the ball, elevated or declined, planks, bridges, and many more. The stability ball will help you with posture, balance, and coordination.
Performing any move on a stability ball forces you to slow down your moves, making each muscle work with more intention. You’d be surprised just how much more challenging this makes your workout, all from a plastic ball.
7. Gym Gloves
This isn’t really equipment. It’s more like apparel but it can help you to do more reps of pull ups, chin ups, or any other move that will put blisters or calluses on your hands.
After galivanting around parks and other areas using bars for various bodyweight moves, your hands can really take a beating. This can actually make it harder to perform your pullups and hanging leg lifts with correct form because you are in pain from blisters.
These gloves will not only protect your hands from getting to this state but will also increase your grip. They are designed for fitness so the fabric is breathable and lightweight but durable.
Most gloves come with a velcro strap to secure around your wrist tightly, so you won’t risk them slipping off and you falling to the ground during your workout. As a bonus, they make you look tough.
This is a portable little workout machine that you can do anywhere while you are sitting. You can use it while you’re at work, watching tv, or riding in a cab.
This device strengthens your grip by increasing the strength of your forearms, wrists, hands, and fingers. This can translate into more pull ups and chin ups because for many people their weak grip can make pullups harder to do.
All you need to do is grip the trainer and squeeze. The resistance is adjustable so as your arms and hands get stronger you can continue to progress by adding resistance. There is a spring in the gripper that gets more difficult to squeeze as you adjust the resistance.
9. Foam rollers
As you workout, your muscles get tight and sore. Foam rollers are the answer to those who can’t afford a massage every week to work out those kinks.
Foam rollers are small cylinders made from strong foam covering a stronger core. It is usually ridged for added muscle relief. You can use these foam rollers to help reduce lactic acid build up in the muscles, help decrease muscle recovery time, and increase flexibility.
You use them by placing it under the muscle that is suffering, or that you just worked and rolling your body over the cylinder in a slow and controlled manner, focusing on the point of pain. They come in different sizes for different body parts.
10. Ab rollers
This wheel on a stick can really sculpt your abs. You’d be amazed. Using this piece of equipment can be one of the most intense ab workouts you’ve done.
To use the ab roller you grab the handles on both sides of the wheel, kneeling on the floor keeping your body aligned from knee to neck. This position is similar to a plank on your knees but instead of having your hands on the floor, you’re holding the ab roller. Roll the ab roller away from you slowly until you feel you are reaching a point of no return. Holding your core tight, roll the ab roller back in towards your chest. At first, you might only be able to roll a foot away from you but in time you’ll be able to roll to almost a complete extension.
All of the calisthenics equipment listed in this article are relatively cheap that anyone can afford them. They are also small enough to fit into the trunk of your car or hide in a carryon bag. They either add resistance, convenience, or comfort to your workouts, helping you to remain consistent and see results whether you train in your home gym, outdoors or while traveling.
As you know, calisthenics doesn’t require any fitness equipment but there’s no shame in using the extra gear available (like the ones listed above) to get you a step ahead of the game. Besides, with all that money you are saving by not having to pay for a gym membership or expensive weights, you’ve got a little extra spending money in your fitness budget.