Whether you’re looking to outfit a commercial gym, or complete your home gym, no piece of equipment is more versatile than the power rack. Serious lifters know that know that a power rack is an important part of safe solo lifting.
Power racks were the original home gym before the concept was really even a reality and they’re still the go-to for anyone who is serious about body building in the comfort of their own home. Despite their size, many serious lifters find a way to either a power them into their existing home gym space or turn their garage into a makeshift weight area.
A good power rack isn’t just a cage with a couple of hooks for the bar as there are multiple stations involved. Make sure you get one with a pull up bar!
There should also be bar hooks and band hooks all over the rack to provide enough stations to make your power rack a standalone gym.
The special additions to your rack don’t mean squat if they are not the ones that you will use. Make sure that you are getting accessories that you will use. Common ones to look out for include a row station, excess plate and bar storage, ladder attachments, and spotter platforms. And of course an olympic bar and weights.
Power racks are inherently more dangerous than a machine so every little bit helps when it comes to ensuring your personal safety. Check to see if the rack has a stabilizer bar; these are usually found running along the bottom back side of the rack. Also look for if and how the rack is designed to be anchored. Most racks will either offer holes in the back to anchor into the wall or on the bottom to screw into the floor.
Here’s a list of the top power racks available on amazon:
Like the gymnastic rings, they offer a whole new world of different exercise variations that you can master.
The Advantages of Parallel Bars and Dip Bars
Full Range of Motion
This is the main advantage of the parallete bars.
Parallel bars have the great advantage of allowing you to have full range of motion (ROM) on your handstand pushups and other calisthenics movements. If you practice your handstand pushups on the floor you’ll never be able to have a full ROM because your head will hit the floor before you achieve full ROM.
But by elevating yourself with parallettes you’ll have enough space to complete a full pushup. Thus, making your handstand pushups much more effective (and harder) on your shoulders.
Less Strain on the Wrists
By using paralletes, your handstands will stress your wrists a lot less comparing to a normal handstand.
Due to the better grip that you have on the bars, your wrists won’t have to hold so much load allowing to perform more clean reps.
If you’re having difficulty getting your first handstand or you can’t hold for longer than 10 seconds because of wrist pain, give paralette bars a try.
Access To New Exercises and Variations
In addition to increasing the range of motion and keeping your wrists safe, parallel bars will also allow to step up your calisthenics game by allowing you to perform many new exercises or old exercises with a different grip.
The most notable one is of course the handstand, which I’ve already talked about, but also the L-Sit. The L-Sit is a crucial exercise to master in order to able to progress to harder, more advanced exercises.
Note that beginners should practice their L-Sits on the floor first. The reason for this is that if you start on the bars immediately you’ll most likely start cheating.
A proper L-Sit requires you to fully depress your shoulders, and when on the parallel bars, people tend to forget this when then start getting tired.
Depressing your shoulders mean pushing your shoulders down, trying to get your arms as low as they can go.
But when you feel that your L-Sits are getting better on the floor, but your wrists are giving in to soon, give parallel bars a try.
The Straddle Planche is another skill that for me, is a lot easier on the parallel bars than on the floor due to the increased grip and extra tension that the parallel bars provied
Gripping the bars will give you more leverage than you would have against the floor to control your balance.
That will make a big difference in balancing.
Also, the neutral wrist position that you have on the bars is easier for many people than the extended wrist position you’ll use on floor.
You should know that are several types of parallel bars:
The High Parallel Bars ( or Dip Bars)
These are the most common in the fitness industry.
Mainly because they are the only type of parallel bars that allow you to do regular dips, which is the only exercise that most beginners are able to do on this type of calisthenic equipment. But they are an equipment suitable for all levels, an investment for a lifetime. And depending where you live, they’re cheaper than one gym monthly membership.
The Medium Parallel Bars (or Parallettes)
The parallete bars are simillar to the dip bars with one major difference: Their Height.
While both serve the same purpose, the high version is more suitable for exercises like Dips, and the low version is better for handstands and handstand pushups. The reason is obvious: Try falling down paralletes vs high parallete bars and you’ll notice the difference.
The Low Parallete Bars
Low or mini parallete bars like this, along with gymnastic rings, are the perfect fitness travel companion. You can carry them anywhere and reap the full benefits of the parallel bars everywhere you go.
Note: It is very important that the paralletes don’t wobble and that they maintain firm footing, both indoors and outdoors. Always be safe and don’t put yourself in danger when there’s absolutely no need to.
Best Parallel Bars and Best Dip Bars Shopping Guide
Here are the best dip bars and best parallel bars currently available online:
The Best Paralletes I’ve ever tried. Wood is my go-to choice for any type of calisthenics equipment. Wood handles allow for a steady and non-slippery grip, especially if you use chalk. And they look beautiful!’
As I have talked about on previous articles, If I had to choose just one piece of calisthenics equipment to work out with for the rest of my life, it would be the gymnastic rings.
There is no other equipment in the world that gives you so much different exercise possibilities, allowing you to train all of your upper body without the need of any extra weights or equipment.
Like the paralletes, there are several types of gymnastics rings available on the market, but their main difference is the material in which they’re built.
Wooden, plastic and Metal.
Plastic rings are for those who perhaps won’t train as often and only complete simple exercise. But you’ll soon want to progress and develop your skills further, and the plastic rings will be less suitable due to their lightweight and less comfortable feel.
The reason the plastic rings on Amazon have so many reviews is because people who are just getting into gym ring training are buying these cheaper rings giving them a good rating.
Metal rings are not as common but they are highly durable. However, they are harsh on the hands and best used for a permanent outdoor setup (where you can leave them outside). You will just need to strap up the rings to give some additional grip.
I own both wooden and plastic but I prefer using wooden gymnastic rings.
Wooden rings feel better on your hands, absorb moisture and are less prone to slippage (especially if you use chalk)
But this decision is up to your personal preference.
I chose to acquire both, mainly because I have an outdoor home gym and wooden rings can’t be placed outside on the rain.
So I have wooden gymnastic rings indoors and plastic ones on the outside pull-up bar.
What to look for when buying rings:
The durability – Every gymnastics ring listed here is trustworthy, but you’re going for other rings make sure you check their reviews for durability.T
The Material – As I talked before, you need to choose between wood, metal and plastic.
The buckle system– A critical aspect of this piece of equipment in order to maintain safety and comfort.
Strap Length – this is very useful when adjusting for lower level exercises (Push-ups, rows).
Set-Up Difficulty – Most rings offer simillar set-ups, but there are some premium gymnastic rings , that provide enhanced installation mechanisms which provide an easier set-up and most importantly they’re easier to even out.
Size– Especially important if you travel with your gymnastic rings
Here are the gymnastics rings I personally use, and honestly, the only ones you’ll ever need:
Tired of paying for a gym membership? Or you simply don’t have the time to go to the gym?
Don’t let that affect your fitness progress and let all your hard work and time spent at the gym go to waste
Even if you don’t have a home gym or you simply don’t have much space inside your house, you can still workout using only calisthenics and by using these small and convenient workout equipment.
Having the mission of building a rock-hard set of six-pack abs requires commitment to losing enough body fat, a healthy diet and plenty of challenging and different core workouts. Variety and shocking the muscle is key in building a strong core.
Ab roll outs with an ab wheel will seriously challenge every aspect of your core.
They not only test your abs, but also your lower back, serratus anterior, your triceps and your lats.
So If you’re fed up with the monotony of crunches and sit-ups, grab an ab wheel and start working on those ab rollouts.
If you’re a beginner athlete or you’ve never used this equipment before, get ready for some sick burn on the next day.
And the best part? You can store them anywhere and get your abs ready for summer on the comfort of your home!
They’re even superior in one way comparing to the outdoor pull-up bar – You can place it your room’s door, and everytime you enter your room, you get a reminder to work out. It may seem like nothing, but it has helped me remain consistent with my workout routines for years. And we all know that consistency is key if you want to have results.
Make this a habit:
Everytime you enter your room, do at least 2 chin ups or pull-ups, or hang from the bar, or do some leg raises. This is an awesome habit especially if you sit down all day an have a sedentary lifestyle.
Sometimes we just need a small push to start working out.
Motivation follows Action
You don’t feel like working out until I’ve been at the gym for 5 minutes. You don’t want to go to aparty until you’re there.
Motivation (and passion) will follow you if you have the balls to go without them.
Having a simple home pull up bar in your room’s door frame and doing a few pull-ups, may just be the only motivation you need to do a full workout. Remember: Motivation follows Action.
If you’re reading this article, You’re probably going to be working out on the floor of your bedroom or your living room. So you’re going to need an exercise mat in order to execute most ab exercises.
Want to something productive while browsing reddit or instagram? Get a Hand Gripper and start working on that grip strength!
Grip Strength is essential in calisthenics and bodybuilding. You’ll be able to perform more pull ups, hang yourself longer on the bar an lift more. While a hand gripper won’t substitute a proper forearm workout, it’s an awesome way to optimize your time.
After Hill Sprints, Jumping Rope is my favourite fat burning exercise. It can get super intense after only a few minutes of starting, burning more calories per minute than most exercises out there.
If you’re struggling to build your calves, consider throwing in rope jumping into your workout regime. It’s a fun and super effective exercise which will not only burn an insane amount of calories but also improve your coordination and speed. Why do you think boxers do it all the time?
You can even learn some awesome tricks with it!
Like the paralletes, push-up bars allow you to keep your wrist in neutral positions reducing joint strain. If you’re having trouble doing more pushups due to wrist pain, the push-up bar is for you.
The handles of this push-up bar are designed to rotate slightly during your pushups, increasing muscle activation as you dip lower. Like the gymnastic rings, they’ll require you to put in a lot more work to stabilize the muscle. As a result, you can increase your muscle strength and definition in your arms, shoulders, back, chest, and abs.
Parallel and Parallette bars are an essential calisthenics equipment if you’re an intermediate/advanced athlete. They allow to you to perform awesome and advanced calisthenics exercise with full Range of Motion, like the handstand pushup, the L-Sit and the planche. If you can’t do this exercises yet, one of the few complete exercises you can do is the dips on the high parallel bars which are awesome for your chest and triceps.
If you’re a beginner I advise you to get the Perfect Fitness Push-ups Bars first so you can get used to the new grip on the bar and improve your upper body strength before attempting the more advanced moves on the paralletes.
But if you’re more advanced, what are you waiting for?
Gym Rings are small and compact piece of exercise equipment, but the problem with most people is that they don’t have anywhere to hang them.
I used to have this problem until I remembered that I could simply hang them in my home pull-up bar.
You’ll be able to do most gymnastic ring exercises by changing the height of the gym rings and I guarantee you the gym rings will provide you with amazing and hardcore workouts.
They are one the most complete and effective pieces of exercise and calisthenics equipment, allowing you to work every area of your upper body without the need of any dumbbells or machines.
Mixing gymnastic rings exercises with squats, is the probably my all-time favourite exercise match and all you would ever need to maintain an awesome body.
Fat Gripz are probably the best product I’ve ever used to increase my forearm muscles strength and resistance. The idea around fat gripz is making a pull up bar bar or dumbbells thicker, thus making it a lot more difficult to grip and working your forearms a lot more. Even holding on to a bar is a big challenge with Fat Gripz.
Before we talk about the best calisthenics gloves, we must ask one very important question:
Should You Even Use Gloves To Practise Calisthenics?
There has always been and always will be a debate on whether you should use gloves for calisthenics or not.
Personnaly, what I recommend to beginners is to NOT use gloves while starting out with calisthenics.
As any other part of the body, it’s critical to also develop strong hands and thick skin, especially with calisthenics. By using gloves, we’re keeping them safe all the time, so your skin will never adapt and thicken, always staying soft and weak.
So make sure you don’t neglect your hand training. As long as you’re not wearing gloves, your hands and forearms will naturally grow stronger, so you won’t need any specialized training just for your hands.
But if you’re having trouble lasting an entire workout session because of hand pain, here’s a few things you can do:
Hang from a bar regurarly. Get a home pull-up bar and hang as long as you can. Having a home pull-up in your room’s door frame will help you keep doing it regurarly. Consistency is key in any type of training.
Start implementing forearms workouts in your routine.
If you go the gym, implement deadlifts in your training
Start simple and when your hands start getting stronger, you can start progressing into muscle ups, which generates a lot of load on that same skin.
But you’ll have to get used to it: Your hands will hurt a lot when you start increasing your pull up and chin up repetitions but that’s extremely normal with calisthenics. Even experienced athletes experience this with longer workouts sessions.
But there a few cases where I recommend the use of calisthenics gloves.
But first, let’s talk about some alternatives.
If you still want to strenghten your hands but you’re struggling to grip the gar because your hands are getting too sweaty, consider using some chalk during your workouts. Spreading a layer of chalk over your palms will allow the sweat to be absorbed, giving you dry hands to grip the bar safely.
Another benefit of using chalk during your lifts and workouts is that chalk forms a protective layer over your hands. This protective layer prevents you from getting blisters and tears in your hands, which often form after fast and repetitive workout motions.
You should reapply a fresh layer after each set, keeping your hands dry and injury free.
Here are are some great options from amazon:
Refillable Chalk Ball
Gym Chalk – Gymnastics, Rock Climbing
Another great way to keep your wrists safe and able to perform higher difficulty moves like handstands and planches is using wrist wraps.
Like the gloves they’ll allow you to fatigue the target muscle without worrying about your grip failing first, but with wrist wrap you’ll also strenghten your skin.
Wrist Wraps By Stoic
Elastic Wrist Wraps
Gloves for calisthenics can sometimes be your only option. If the surface where you’re hanging from is too harsh (like a rusty bar or cement walls), it’s a must that you use gloves.
For example, here’s an “exercise” where wearing gloves is a must:
Here are the calisthenics gloves I’ve used and recommend:
To sum it up:
If you’re feeling that you grip is failing and your hands are sliding off the bar or the rings: get some chalk.
If you’re feeling wrist pain or you want more control over your handstands: Try this.
If you want to improve your grip instantly, stop getting ugly calluses and grip thougher surfaces: Get one of these.
Interested in more types of calisthenics equipment? Checkout this list!