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? Weighted plates 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 build a kickass at-home gym for calisthenics, as well as why each specific piece of equipment is on our comprehensive list. Also read Calisthenics for beginners: 9 key workouts and more.
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?
- Must Have Gear For A Home Gym
- Power Tower
- Doorway Pull ups Bar
- Resistance Bands
- Weight Vest
- Dip Bars
- Gymnastic Rings
- Fat Gripz
- Jump Rope
- Ab Wheel
- One Last Thing…
- Maximize your fitness
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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:
It’s cheaper. 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.
It’s private. 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!
It maintains better. 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 rollouts? 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.
The best calisthenics piece in the arsenal.
A power tower is a wonderful piece of equipment. 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 spendier 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, unlike using a power tower at a gym.
When it comes to which power tower to get, I’d recommend the Sportsroyals Power Tower station.
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.
- 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
Doorway Pull ups 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, handstands, 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.
- Turns any doorway into a personal gym; installs in seconds. Fits up to 36.22 inch wide door frames
- 2 detachable plastic buffer pads to protect and prevent damage to doorframe.
- Two wrist straps, and a free training guide
- Uses leverage to hold against the doorway so there are no screws and no damage to door.
Incredibly important for progressions, resistance bands are a necessary addition to the arsenal.
These bands are great for two reasons: One, they help you with new movements until you build the strength to do them freely; and two, they can actually make movements harder if you use them as resistance.
For example, if you’re doing dips, you can graduate from having the bands underfoot (to take weight off), to doing them normally, to putting the bands over your shoulders and neck for additional weight. Bodyweight training does not have a 10 lb weight to add to your barbell to progress your strength training. This is where resistance bands become so crucial.
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 bands. This is why we chose their "Stay Active At Home Bundle". It comes with a set of 3 Hip bands, a set of 4 pull up bands, and 1 home digital workout guide.
Resistance gear should be present in all calisthenics home gyms, especially if you want to progress with any fluidity.
- Highest material quality
- Bundle is great for a various exercises, as well as for couples
- Included exercise guide is perfect for starters and those new to the various exercises with resistance bands
Before you claim this as cheating, 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.
Weighted vests are something worth getting when you’re at this point.
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!
- 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
If you need more options, here are the best portable dip bars to build upper body strength at home.
- Simple, portable, yet multi-purpose bodyweight strength training equipment offers endless exercise options helping to strengthen your core, build lean muscle and burn fat
- This high-quality functional fitness dip stand station with stabilizing challenger bars is perfect for full body bodyweight resistance exercises such as dips, push and pull ups, L-sits, knee and leg raises, stretches and more
- 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
- Includes: (2) Yellow EQualizer bars plus an instructional DVD to get you started
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.
- You’ll get plenty of exercise and training with this gymnastics gear.
- These rings allow you to perform ring dips, pull-ups, muscle-ups, ring rows, and more. These exercises work a variety of muscles, including your deltoids, biceps, triceps, and abs.
- They’re 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’. You can just throw them over a tree branch, pull-up bar, or power rack to start performing your upper body strength training exercises.
- These rings have a total diameter of 9.25” with the inside diameter being 8”. The rings are 1.25” thick. They’re extra wide for a more comfortable grip, which helps prevent blisters and calluses. They can support a weight capacity of 600 lbs. The straps are 15’ long and have a width of 1.5”.
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.
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 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.
Synergee Speed 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, Synergee’s speed jump rope is where it’s at when it comes to cardio conditioning.
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.
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!