Calisthenics is essentially bodyweight training derived from gymnastics. I am not wrong when I say that calisthenics is resistance training, and because you utilize your own weight and gravity as resistance, you can literally train almost everywhere. It doesn’t require much equipment.
Practically, you can train calisthenics at home, the gym or in a public park. I personally enjoy training outdoors in any location I find fit. For me, it doesn’t matter if the place is not modern; I work with what I have.
For instance, I still train calisthenics on the communist wreckage called the athletic field that you can see below. The local administration or the government doesn’t care about restoring it or building a new one that is more modern. But letting this aside, the place offers, even under the current conditions, a running track of 400m, a dip station and a pull-up bar. They are old-school and the bars are completely rusted but they do the job just fine. It didn’t stop me from building up my strength and fitness.
I evidently show you how the athletic field looks after it rains. But during the dry days, it’s perfect. I am not that pretentious. I can also do athletic drills here like sprints, endurance running, jumps, etc.
Equipment required to train calisthenics
Normally, you don’t need much space or a special arena for squats and variations. If you don’t have the necessary time, the perfect playground and willpower, then do your leg workout at home. It’s equally efficient as long as you can concentrate fully and do your workout seriously and with maximum commitment. Squats and variations are pretty static, but if you want to add sprints in the combination, then it will obviously require a little more room, and unless you have a large yard, then you’ll have to find a proper location. In conclusion, you don’t need any equipment or tools whatsoever to train your legs with calisthenics.
To train the core area, unless you do leg lifts hung off a pull-up bar or by gymnastic rings or a gym trellis, which I definitely recommend you to do, then you can train the abs on the floor. You can do sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts and plenty of other variants, staying laid down on the ground. For the posterior muscles, especially the ones along the spine, you have bridges, squats, hill sprints and plenty of other postural exercises that foundational gymnastics provides. Planks are also a great way to train.
The only piece of equipment required in calisthenics training are the gymnastic rings, which cost around $50 and they will never break. You need to anchor them off something solid though. Anyways, a pull-up bar can also replace them successfully. You can also build your own calisthenics bars at home, in case you have space. I encourage you to use both, the fixed bars and gymnastic rings. Rings will increase mobility, recruit and train more adjacent muscles, increase joint flexibility and will build balance. Not to forget, rings can successfully replace a dip station, in case you want to do bodyweight dips as well. The fixed pull-up bar is best used to stimulate muscle growth because you can rep out more as the pull-up bar is stabilized already in the ground.
Pushups don’t require any equipment whatsoever. Exactly like squats, you can literally train pushups anywhere and at any time. In fact, you don’t even need proper clothing. Dips on the other hand require a dip station, more bars. It’s why I recommend you to buy a pair of gymnastic rings. It saves you!
And this is basic foundational calisthenics training and all you need to forge a great physique and great physical performance. It may sound stupid, but less is more. These exercises are compound movements and they will recruit your whole muscles. They will also overload your cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system, making them better and more adapted to physical training.
How should I start calisthenics?
Starting calisthenics is really easy. All you need is a shortlist of exercises and then to test them out, find the correct variations you can handle, learn a little the proper technique and off you go. Fortunately for you, I have just the right video about how beginners should start calisthenics training from 0, and you can watch it below:
I know it’s a long video but take some snacks, make yourself comfortable, get a notebook or your training journal, a pen, and start watching and writing down the ideas I provide. If you need more assistance, check out my Beginner Calisthenics program.