You want to get into Calisthenics training, you want to be able to master all the skills. But you might be thinking what are the best ways to start? Do I have to be in the gym? To be able to start the basics, what are the main pieces of kit I need?
Well look no further because this article is the one for you! You can train calisthenics anywhere, which is one of the most wonderful things about it. And to start all you need are a set of paralettes, gymnastic rings, resistance bands and a portable pull up bar (…in a pear tree, as ‘tis the season!)
So I’ll discuss each piece of equipment, why it’s useful to have and what you can train with them. Let’s start with the paralettes.
Paralettes are normally metal bars that enable you to train a wide range of exercises. They come in two sizes, XL and regular from the Gravity Fitness store. With XL Paralettes you can perform dips, rows, l-sits, leg raises and press ups (by lying one paralette down flat and placing your feet on the other paralette). With short paralettes, you can work on your press ups (with greater ranges of motion) l -sits, handstands (when you get there), planche drills – holding a tuck for example, working on your shoulder and straight arm strength, etc. These are just a few exercises you can perform for a full body training session, and we are only on the first piece of equipment! You can also advance your exercises to perform things like straight bar dips, tuck holds, back and front lever training, etc. The list goes on and on! The paralettes allow you to increase your range of motion with stability from the base, allowing you to concentrate on form and function.
The next piece of equipment and my personal favourite, the gymnastic rings. Rings can be slung up anywhere; in a park, in your garage, at the gym or even in a tree! The gymnastic rings are a great tool to increase your pulling strength, your posterior chain and help you for learning about full muscle engagement. You can perform pull ups, rows, bicep curls, tricep dips, press ups and dips to get started. The difficulty is increased over the paralettes, due to the instability of your hands and wrists. You can also look to move onto mastering the false grip, performing muscle ups, levers, handstands and other advanced moves from the rings once you have mastered the basics! The lower down you set the rings away from your attached surface, the harder the exercises performed will be, so you can vary difficulty according to strength and skill level.
Next, we have resistance bands. When travelling these can be used to replace weights for resistance training, can be fantastic for warm up drill or mobility and flexibility work. And, as an added bonus, can be used to assist in progressing those calisthenics skills to make them hugely versatile. They come in varying degrees of resistance so you can level the resistance according to your strength level. You can also tie them to objects or trap them in doors to perform face pulls, rows, bicep curls, chest press, etc. Aside from the free standing exercises with bands such as shoulder press, squats and deadlifts the list of application for bands is endless. You can use them to help you achieve your first pull up, or more difficult pull up progressions, or add them round your shoulders on your push ups to increase resistance. There’s a whole world of different applications for your resistance bands, so dive right in and explore it!
Last but by no means least, we have the portable pull up bar. This is a great piece of kit for portability and versatility. With adjustable height we can perform pull ups, dips, press ups, aussie pulls, rows, etc. I have written a previous article about the portable pull up bar here where you can learn about the various different applications and exercises you can perform in each configuration on the portable pull up bar. The Gravity Fitness Youtube also has plenty of videos to guide you on how to make the best use of this great piece of kit!
Check out @gravity.fitness on IG for more tips and tricks about using any of these great pieces of kit. Gravity work with trainers and professionals around the world, where you can gain all the inspiration you need to get started on your calisthenics journey! So, what are you waiting for?