The best thing about training calisthenics is that a basic level, it requires literally no gear.
However, if you do choose to invest a few dollars in improving your setup, the range of exercises grows exponentially and can include a mixture of climbing, parkour, and gymnastics training.
In this article, we’ll show you the basic components needed to set up a backyard calisthenics gym in your outdoor space, room, or even kitchen!
Calisthenics Workout Frame:
This will be the centerpiece of the gym.
Here is where you’ll do your pull-ups, muscle-ups, dips, l-sits, planches, standups, levers, and much more.
For that reason, this should be the piece of equipment you most invest in.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to buy a frame. You could build it yourself, or if you prefer, you can simply have a pull-up bar built in your backyard and 70% of the exercises will be available to you.
However, if you do decide to include dip bars and parallettes, you can add a lot of exercises to your list without spending too much extra money.
The most basic model with only a pull up bar, can be extremely afford, at less than 100$. This model by CAP is, in our experience, a great starter frame:
However, with a slightly higher investment, a whole range of exercises can be unlocked:
Finally, to supplement the bar exercises with some handstands, planks, and static exercises, a pair of affordable parallettes is recommended.
Calisthenics Gymnastics Rings:
Gym rings are a great piece of gear to include on your backyard calisthenics gym.
They can be attached to any tree or, if it is sturdy enough, to your calisthenics frame.
These will allow you to train a huge amount of progressions and movements and are really cheap to buy and install.
In this category, we’ll show you a few pieces of gear that are super cheap, but will give you a huge boost in terms of progressing your exercises.
Resistance bands are an incredible aid in your calisthenics journey. They allow you to train the movements required to perform an exercise without actually needing the strength.
A set of bands with different weights is highly recommended as these will speed up your learning curve great.
Weighted vest do the opposite of resistance bands. They add difficulty to an exercise. This is very helpful for exercises with a low ceiling of progression, such as dips. It allows you to target muscles that certain exercises focus on, even when these become too easy.
Our choice in terms of weighted vests is outlined below:
Calisthenics Post-Workout Gear
After you’ve finished your workout, it’s important to stretch and release the muscles. There are a few cheap pieces of equipment that will greatly help you doing this.
Some of our favourites include:
Foam rollers are great for targeting muscles that are giving you trouble. It’s extremely important that if you feel any sort of muscular pain whilst exercising, you stop doing the exercise, identify the problem, which is usually caused by bad form, and stretch/release the muscle.
Foam rollers are great for this. Simply lie on top of the roller, applying pressure in the afflicted area and roll.
Stretch out Straps
These will help you incorporate some stretches and yoga movements into your post-workout routine.
If you have resistance bands, you can use them instead of buying straps.
Backyard Calisthenics Gym Inspiration
If you already know what you’re looking for, or you want to build the gym yourself, here are two examples of our favourite outdoor gyms:
If you’ve followed our recommendations and purchased the basic options for gear outlined above, you’ve probably spent a total of around 300$.
That’s not bad right? Considering that most gyms cost up to 150$/month and have a minimum period of 6 or 12 months, you’ve just saved yourself a lot of money.
And the best part?
Calisthenics is actually challenging. Forget the monotonous cycle of repetitions of exercises that involve only one muscle group.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.