The majority of gym memberships in America are $20 or - more likely - higher. Add in the initiation fee, and you’re looking at over $300 for the year. Every year.
Wouldn’t it be much nicer to spend $300 total and have a gym that not only satisfies all of your muscle-building, fat-burning needs but was also completely private?
How is this possible? A weight plate collection and dumbbells cost hundreds of dollars each! There’s no way you can build muscle on a budget.
This limits the amount and types of equipment you need for a home gym. Basically, you’ll require systems that help you use your body as the weight.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll show you how to choose the best calisthenics equipment to build an amazing home gym.
Let's get to it.
Here is quick access to the full list. Keep reading for a deeper dive into each.
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Ab Roller Wheel
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What Are The Benefits Of Your Own Home Gym?
Is there really a point of purchasing your own fitness equipment (other than when there is a global pandemic)?
The answer is HELL YES!
Limitless benefits await you when you construct your personal calisthenics gym:
The long haul is something we rarely think about, but when it comes to home gym vs. professional gym, the long haul is important. Like we mentioned before, it costs roughly $300 for the average American to have a yearly gym membership. An at-home gym costs about the same. The difference is, you don’t have to pay for it year after year - you already have the equipment. Equipment that you can always sell and receive a decent portion of the money back. Which makes purchasing your own fitness equipment a great financial decision.
Save for your latchkey cat, your personal workout zone will be empty. No more waiting for that piece of equipment. No more people “curling in the squat rack.” No more Top 100 Pop Music. Blast the tunes you want and have absolute freedom!
What I mean by this is you will most likely take care of your home gym better than the employees at the actual gym take care of their equipment. You won’t have to sit on a bench pockmarked by uncleaned sweat over the years. You won’t grab bars and handles riddled with neglect. Your equipment will last longer and be in better shape.
It’s built with your goals in mind
Do you do circuits? Never do ab wheel roll-outs? Like to end things with an assault bike finisher? You can create your personal space based on the lifts you enjoy doing. The layout, the type of equipment, all of this matters when you’re working out. Make it simple and easy; build a home calisthenics gym and crush your goals with ease.
It’s your space
Slam equipment around. Blast music. Tack things to the wall. This is your temple of gains. Do whatever you want. No one can tell you otherwise.
These are just a few of the amazing attributes a home calisthenics gym can give you.
The ones listed above should be enough to convince any serious calisthenics athlete to look into building a bodyweight playground in their backyard, spare bedroom, or garage.
One last thing before you get started. In order to properly prepare your muscles, and avoid injury, make sure you properly warm up. Here is our dedicated article on calisthenics warm up exercises that will prepare you for your home workouts.
Here are the top pieces of calisthenics equipment you should add to your home gym!
Must Have Gear For A Home Gym
Check out our below list for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about each option.
- Specially designed hardware to be durable to withstand up to 400lbs
- Bars for push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and vertical knee raises
- 14 gauge heavy square steel frame construction
- Assembled size: 41"L x 43"W x 88"H
Perhaps the best calisthenics equipment in the arsenal, a power tower is a worthwhile investment. It doesn’t take up much space, it allows you to do multiple calisthenics exercises on one piece, and it’s affordable.
True, it might be costlier than the other pieces on this list, but it’s well worth the expense; a power tower gives you incredible value for a one-time payment, incorporating everything from your dip station to your pull-up bar in one convenient location. Think monkey bars for adults.
When it comes to which power tower to get, I’d recommend the Sportsroyals Power Tower station for exceptional bodyweight strength training.
It has been engineered to be durable for ages, has various bars at different levels to up the number of movements you can do with it, and it’s made of solid steel for structural support.
If you were to only get one thing for your home gym, a power tower has to be the go-to because nothing beats the number of calisthenics exercises that are possible on this.
If you'd like to learn more about power towers with dip stations, we have an article dedicated to it. The Sportsroyals is our top pick there, and you can read more about it. Check it out here.
If you have decided a pull ups bar makes sense for you but would rather have it in your backyard or somewhere outside, check out the best weather resistant outdoor pull up bars here.
Doorway Pull Up Bar
No time to leave your home office room? Just hang this in your doorway and get your pullups going in between meetings.
The ideal type of pull-up bar is a total workout bar or one that detaches from a doorway and therefore can be used on the ground.
This gives you a freestanding bar that you can use as a grip for push-ups, a handstand, dips, and more. Nice thing about bodyweight exercise is that it can happen anywhere you are; similarly this doorway pull ups bar can go anywhere with you. Just store it under your desk at the office until you need it.
This specific pull-up bar is really affordable, can fit any doorway, and has multiple grip positions for different kinds of pulls.
It utilizes leverage on the doorway, so you don’t have to screw or nail this pull-up bar into position. This allows you to put it on the ground for push work too, as previously stated.
Lastly, this bar even comes with an eyelet to hang a punching bag for an additional aerobic workout.
Victorem brings a quality resistance band to the market, offering various sizes, support, and materials.
For a full array of weight and resistance, it’s ideal to get a couple different exercise bands to use during your workout routine. The feel is not rubbery because the material is a fabric that breathes. There are not many good resistance bands out there that are made of fabric, but still have the properties of a stretchy rubber band.
There are a couple of big benefits of a fabric band - first, they don't hurt when squeezed against the skin. Secondly, all experienced resistance band users will know that from time to time the bands will slip out and smack you in the face or some other body part, when setting up for an exercise. This is when you wish you had a fabric one rather than a rubber material that will hurt!
The bands are color coded for resistance and cover the full range for 95% of adults range of capabilities. They are also pretty long so easy to do exercises that require length, like a shoulder workout while holding down the band under your feet.
This is akin to doing an over the shoulder barbell workout except with bands that are much easier to take with you.
Related: Top 7 Best Resistance Bands
These resistance bands also come with a bag, making them the ultimate calisthenics workout companion. Easy to take them on your business travel trips.
However you can always take it to the park with you, while you enjoy an open space, where can see people without getting too close to them.
Lastly, there are several sources of resistance exercise routines included in this article, or with a simple search. However, if you want a fresh new set of workouts, Victorem provides a pdf document with these.
- Every items comes with weights included
- Weights can be removed in all models
- One size fits most, manufacture warranty included
- Shoulder pads options also available
Before you call this cheating or count this as weight training rather than calisthenics training, hear me out.
You could be unbelievably jacked, mastering most of the calisthenics movements and looking for both a challenge and a way to build more muscle faster.
A weighted vest is something worth getting when you've expanded beyond your basic calisthentics training and need an extra challenge. While bodyweight workouts are hugely effective as a form of strength training, one of the obstacles many athletes face when doing a bodyweight workout is that their body weight fluctuates. If you lose weight as a result of your efforts, you'll be moving less weight during your bodyweight workout routine.
So, weight vests are basically adding body weight to your body weight exercises
The top weight vest out there is the RUNFast/Max weight vest.
This is a cool piece of equipment because you can add or drop the weight attached to the vest.
So, if you progressively overload your lifts – which you definitely should – this is perfect for incrementally bumping up the load.
This vest ranges from 12 lbs all the way up to 140 lbs (if you get that version).
It’s one size fits most, can come with shoulder pads for extra comfort and has pockets for your bottle and headphones.
Do you want to upgrade your calisthenics workouts? Grab a weight vest and see how many gains you can get!
- Simple, portable, yet multi-purpose
- This high-quality dip bar station with stabilizing challenger bars
- Lightweight and stable. 28.5"H x 25"W
- Each stainless steel bar features a durable solid foam grip to increase friction and minimize hand and arm fatigue for a superior grip
For a mighty pair of dip bars that don’t take up much space, let Lebert Fitness equip you with its EQualizer Total Body Strengthener.
Portable and weighing a whopping eight pounds (this is sarcastic), the EQualizer supports up to 400 pounds, which is an astounding difference.
These come in numerous sizes and colors, but the main version gives you 28.5” in height.
While this doesn’t allow you to perform weighted dips with a dip belt, you can still use a backpack or upgrade to a taller version.
The nice thing about this simple calisthenics workout equipment is that they are separate and sturdy, which allows you to dictate the width and be secure when repping out your exercises.
Work everything from your triceps to your core, and perfect your balance and athleticism over time. Someday, you may even be able to do a handstand on these babies!
A solid brand that’s been perfecting the dip bar for quite some time, Lebert Fitness brings nothing but high-end equipment to your home gym. Get the EQualizer today.
If you need more options, here are the best portable dip bars to build upper body strength at home.
- These rings allow you to perform ring dips, pull-ups, muscle-ups, ring rows, and more.
- Made from sturdy, solid wood that can support a weight capacity of up to 600 lbs.
- Adjustable straps. These buckle straps are extra long, measuring 15’.
Continuing the theme of versatility, gymnastic rings definitely have a place in your calisthenics home gym.
The movements you can do with these are limitless, so I won’t even list them out. Basically, you can do most of what you can do on the bars with rings.
The difference is…rings are tougher. WAY tougher.
If you’re at the point in your training where exercises are getting easy for you, grab a set of gymnastics rings and prepare to be humbled.
These wood rings with cam buckle straps are perfect for your gym room. They are heavy duty, as well as thicker in the rings for a more comfortable grip.
You can strap them to your pull-up bar for a bit of irony, or any high horizontal bar will do.
Another super portable, ultra-durable piece of equipment, gymnastics rings are how you can gain crazy balance and crazy strength from the comfort of your own garage.
Fat Gripz - Hand Grips
- Highest rated hand grips on Amazon
- Easily used with various type of equipment
- Really work the hand, forearm, biceps
A really cool way to upgrade your workouts, Fat Gripz are unique pieces that deserves a spot in your gym.
Essentially, Fat Grips slip over any and all bars, widening the diameter and therefore forcing you to grip harder.
According to Fat Gripz themselves, “using a thicker diameter bar causes much greater muscle activation in the arms which leads to incredible size and strength gains.”
The cool thing with these grips is they fit over almost every other piece of equipment.
Pull-up bars, parallel bars, any part of a Power Tower…Fat Gripz can make any area of your home calisthenics gym tougher to grip.
So, if you want to give yourself a challenge on those classic exercises like pull-ups, dips, Australian pulls, and other calisthenics movements, Fat Gripz are the way to go.
- Ergonomic handle grip
- High quality design and material for easy adjustments and
- Easy to replace cable without replacing the handles
It can’t be a complete calisthenics gym without a cardio element. Enter the jump rope.
Pound for pound the fastest calorie burner on the planet (save for boxing), jumping rope is the ultimate street workout and amazing for your overall health.
Single unders, double unders, criss-cross, backwards, you name it; a fun piece of equipment that burns efficiently.
Whether you use it as a warm-up or a finishing move, you need to ensure your jump rope is high quality.
BeMaxx Rope provides quality in a comfortable fashion. Adjustable handles, steel bearings for lightning fast swivel, and a multitude of colors to customize your calisthenics zone.
A fairly inexpensive addition to your home gym, this speed jump rope is where it’s at when it comes to cardio conditioning.
- Durable rubber exterior wheel for any type of surface
- Strong and Robust stainless steel handles
- Heavyduty PVC material that will make this wheel last forever
To round out your kickass calisthenics gym, you need something abdominal-centric. The ab wheel is perfect for this task.
An ab wheel is tremendous for targeting all abdominal muscles.
At the end of a workout, the last thing you want to do is to tax your midsection even more, which makes this the absolute best movement you can do. (You shouldn’t listen to your brain when fatigued.)
Fitnessery has an ab wheel worthy of your home gym. It comes equipped with a heavy duty PVC wheel, comfy performance grips, and fluid movement with a non-slip rubber wheel.
Easy to disassemble and pack around, you can take your favorite piece of equipment anywhere you want.
For the ultimate core killer, putting an ab wheel in the corner of your calisthenics playground might just do the trick.
- Ideal for most floor types
- Versatile with isolated and full-body workout options
- Great for low-impact workouts and rehabilitation for injured athletes
Sliders are one of the most effective calisthenics training accessories to enhance your bodyweight workouts without adding weights. Use these to replace the expensive, bulky home gym equipment without sacrificing your training. Sliders can be used for leg curls, push-up variations, and even compound cardio movements.
- High density
- Ideal for developing balance and flexibility
The foam roller has long been a staple for CrossFitters looking to workout knots and keep their muscles feeling limber. Add this piece of equipment to your calisthenics workout equipment for pre-habilitative and rehabilitative training to improve your mobility and reduce the occurrence of DOMs after training.
Portable and easy to clean, the Amazon Basics brand is both affordable and high-quality.
Related: Foam Rolling vs Stretching
Calisthenics Workout Equipment FAQs
Still not sold on calisthenics equipment? Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions to help sway you in the right direction.
Can you make your own calisthenics equipment?
Just because you can make your own calisthenics equipment doesn't mean you should. It's better to buy something that's been built and tested in various settings, especially for hanging exercises. However, you can also get creative and use PVC pips as floor-level parallette bars or towels instead of sliders.
Does calisthenics require equipment?
The only equipment you really need to do calisthenics is your own body. However, exercises like pull-up and dips require a dip bar or something from which to hang. If worse comes to worse, you can always get in a street workout on the monkey bars at the local park.
One Last Thing
There’s one more amazing benefit to having your own calisthenics equipment:
You can workout anywhere you go!
This is especially true for gear like gymnastics rings, jump ropes, resistance bands, and ab wheels.
You might have to find a horizontal bar somewhere, but if you do and you have your easily portable equipment packed with you, you’re five minutes away from a soul-crushing workout!
If you wanted to not bring any clothes or trinkets and just wanted to pack workout equipment for your vacation, you could go hard and bring your parallel bars and the best outdoor pull up bar too.
The point is this: You can bring some of your calisthenics help with you.
No matter what pinch you may find yourself in, you’ll never have the excuse that you didn’t have the equipment for a grueling workout.
Building your own calisthenics gym is not only smart – it’s insanely awesome!
No more speed-walking to claim a bench or bar. No more sweat marks from other people. No more lame-ass music.
It’s your space, your dojo. You get to set the rules, and set up the equipment you need for your fitness goals.
Peruse the list we’ve provided and create your own list of things you want. Then go out and actually get them! The benefits severely outweigh the costs, so you have nothing to lose.
Best of luck with building your home calisthenic gym!