Exactly what is calisthenics?
Calisthenics is a special form of physical exercise, consisting of simple, often rhythmic movements, for which you almost always use just your own body weight. Besides the term calisthenics, you can also use the term "body weight training" as a synonym. However, there are several differences between the various forms, most of which involve the combination of classical calisthenics with other elements.
The main exercises for a calisthenics workout:
• Pull-ups (with overhand grip; using calisthenics accessories)
• Chin-ups (with underhand grip; also using calisthenics accessories)
• Dips (calisthenics accessories are also ideal for this)
• Front Levers (using calisthenics accessories)
• Back Levers (using calisthenics accessories)
• Muscle-ups (Russian pull-ups; using calisthenics accessories)
• Leg raises
• Calf raises
Since hardly any additional weights are used in calisthenics, except in "weighted calisthenics", the weight handled during the exercises mostly remains constant. If you want to apply more weight, either change the leverage angle or perform the exercise more intensively. You can also switch to super sets or make the exercise more difficult by using calisthenics accessories, such as a resistance band or a weighted vest. Of course, you can always do a more difficult form of the exercise (e.g. one-armed pull-ups instead of doing them with both arms).
The advantages of calisthenics
Besides the fact that no special calisthenics equipment is needed for a workout, there are also other advantages:
• It saves time: If you work out using your own body weight, you save a lot of time. For example, you don't have to get to the gym first. Instead, you can train anywhere, anytime. Neither will you have to waste time waiting at the machines, and you are not bound to the gym's operating times.
• It is safe: The exercises are also very safe, because, due to the natural sequences of motion, the danger of strains etc. is significantly reduced. Neither are the tendons and joints overloaded. Compared to training with weights, it is very gentle on the structures of the body. By contrast, at the gym, many athletes end up with pulled muscles and other complaints in the long term, and often have to stop working out for extended periods.
• Functionality: Unlike classical strength training, calisthenics exercises work several muscle groups simultaneously. In the long run, the high degree of complexity of the movements results in a greater demand on the trunk musculature and a generally more pronounced workout effect. But naturally, the prerequisite is that the exercises are done regularly.
• Enhancement of coordination: The special exercises enhance your coordination. This also pays off in everyday life: it prevents problems with posture and the movements are also more economical, i.e. you require less strength for a specific action. This is due to the improved interaction of the different muscle groups (keyword: inter and intramuscular coordination).
• Also ideal for endurance athletes: Because the exercises provide optimum strengthening of the deep musculature, endurance athletes benefit particularly from calisthenics. Natural movements are improved and the endurance athlete’s performance improves overall. Among other things, this means that the athlete no longer has to worry about the notorious "runner's knee" and similar injuries that all athletes dread.
The most important calisthenics accessory
Pull-up bars as a calisthenics accessory
Pull-up bars are the calisthenics accessory par excellence. They allow you to do a wide variety of pull-up bar exercises. There are different models: for the wall, the ceiling, the doorframe (to clamp in or hook in) and for the garden. Then, there is also a unique combination version of the pull-up bar, such as the Pullup & Dip bar, which can be used to do pull-ups at home or outdoors. You will find a lot of helpful information about buying pull-up bars on our overview page.
Pull-up bands/Resistance bands as a calisthenics accessory
Pull-up bands (also referred to as resistance bands) are an ideal calisthenics accessory that support you when doing exercises such as muscle-ups, pull-ups, dips and the human flag. Depending on how strong you are, the bands relieve you of varying amounts of (workout) weight. They can also be used as additional resistance (for exercises such as push-ups, dips, squats or shoulder presses). This calisthenics accessory is perfect for warming up, for increasing fitness, for building muscle or for stretching and mobility exercises. The bands allow an effective full-body workout consisting of many different exercises.
Pull-up bands come in a range of different strengths, which can be selected according to the desired resistance or the required support. Due to their compact size and light weight, you can simply pop it into your backpack or bag, and take it along to wherever you are going to work out. Pull-up bands are the ideal calisthenics accessory!
Gym rings as a calisthenics accessory
Gym rings enable a holistic, functional body weight workout. The free movement of the rings means that your muscles have to compensate for instability in every direction during your workout. This ensures that an additional strengthening effect is achieved, compared to training with barbells or doing guided exercises on machines. This calisthenics accessory can be mounted on a sturdy branch or a bar outdoors or on the ceiling or a pull-up bar at home.
When used in conjunction with a pull-up bar, gym rings allow you to do an even greater number of body weight exercises, for examples, rowing or triceps presses. Overall, gym rings offer over 35 different full-body exercises for a diversified calisthenics workout. Due to its light weight and compact size, this useful calisthenics accessory is also ideal for outdoor workouts, or to take along on your travels.
Gym mats/Workout mats as a calisthenics accessory
Gym mats are ideal as a calisthenics accessory, for exercises in which your back or knees are in contact with the floor (e.g. dragon flag or kneeling triceps presses using gymnastics rings). They are also ideal for rope jumping, CrossFit, Freeletics and yoga.
The Pallid Falcon gym mats on offer in our shop provide you with a range of durable options. They have several unique features and are made of high-quality materials. Thanks to their optimal cushioning, they are easy on your joints and have no memory effect, which means that they bounce back to their original state immediately, as soon as the pressure is released.
Push-up grips are easy on your wrists because they give you a neutral grip and prevent unnatural buckling of the wrists. With push-up grips, you can give your upper body a targeted workout and effectively build up your triceps and your chest and shoulder muscles. They extend your range of motion and offer you an additional workout effect, due to the increased downward movement. Furthermore, they can be moved to any position, independently of each other, allowing you a versatile bodyweight workout. They are ideal for all kinds of push-up variations, such as narrow, wide and one-armed push-ups as well as handstands, which makes them the perfect calisthenics accessory.
Grip pads a as calisthenics accessory
Grip pads provide increased grip during exercises like pull-ups, because they absorb sweat effectively. This increases the number of pull-ups you are able to do, thus increasing the effect of your workout. Grip pads also protect the skin from cracking, hinder the formation of calluses and reduce the pressure on the hands.
This calisthenics accessory is available in different versions: with neoprene padding and openings for the fingers, in order to keep the grip pads in place; with a genuine leather outer; in the form of square foam pads. Grip pads are an ideal calisthenics accessory for pulling exercises, particularly due to the absorption of sweat and the increased grip they offer.
Parallettes as a calisthenics accessory
As a calisthenics accessory, parallettes, which are also called push-up grips or mini bars, come a close second to pull-up bars. You can use the grips for strength endurance, body tension and balance workouts, during which special muscles, such as the arm, shoulder, torso and abdominal muscles are worked.
The most common exercises that can be done with this calisthenics accessory are push-ups, dips, L-sits, handstand push-ups, handstands, planches, straddle-sits, V-Sits.
Parallettes are ideal for use both at home and out of doors. Due to their small dimensions, most of them can easily be tucked away without taking up too much space, and depending on the model, some of them also fit into a backpack, so you can easily take them to your outdoor workout location. Various different versions of parallettes are available: low parallettes, regular parallettes and high parallettes).
There are also differences in the materials used: premium parallettes have wooden grips that enable the best possible grip for sweaty hands, and which are ergonomically adapted to suit the shape of the hand. The grips of cheaper parallettes are usually metal tubes. But the important factor is that this calisthenics accessory doesn’t wobble; this guarantees a firm stand, both indoors and out. They must also be sufficiently robust to support the weight of a heavier person without any trouble.
Liquid Chalk as a calisthenics accessory
Liquid Chalk (also referred to as liquid magnesia) is mainly used for calisthenics, climbing, weightlifting, gymnastics, CrossFit and bowling. It reduces sweating of the hands and improves your grip. This calisthenics accessory prevents your hands from slipping on the bars or the barbell during your workout.
One advantage of liquid magnesium is that it is virtually dust-free and does not leave powder stains on your clothes, so you are allowed to use it at the gym or the climbing hall, where powdered magnesium is often prohibited. All you have to do is squeeze a little onto your hands and rub it in. The liquid chalk dries within seconds and leaves a thin chalky film that gives you an optimal grip. After your workout, you can simply wash off the chalk with soap and water.
Get that six-pack with ab workout loops
You own a pull-up bar, but don't know how to use it to strengthen your stomach muscles? With ab-workout loops, you can turn your "barrel" into a six-pack in no time at all! It is a very useful gadget for an effective ab workout. Whether you're doing crunches, hanging leg raises or hanging knee raises – it will get those abs burning!
The padded ab workout loops are very comfortable. They support your elbows and take the strain off your shoulders and arms, so that you can concentrate on your ab workout 100%! Because everyone has different physical characteristics, the loops can be adjusted to four different lengths, to match your height perfectly.
Tip: This calisthenics apparatus can be mounted on any pull-up bar within seconds, no tools needed. It is also suitable for use on the corner of a door, on a horizontal bar at the calisthenics park etc.
Loop Bands – the allrounder
Whether for calisthenics, CrossFit, yoga or physiotherapy –
Ob Calisthenics, Crossfit, Yoga oder Physiotherapie – loop bands are the best choice for strengthening both small and large muscle chains! You can do more than 50 different exercises with this practical gadget, and it is also great for warming up and stretching. After all, a workout plan involves more than just strength exercises!
It makes no difference whether you are male or female, a complete beginner or an experienced calisthenics athlete – the loop bands support you on your way to your workout goal. The bands come in different strengths (colour-coded) are not only suitable for different workout levels! You can also use them to target different muscle groups. Use a strong band to strengthen your big muscles; use an extra light one to target even the smallest muscles. This calisthenics device helps you to achieve all-round fitness!
By the way: The loop bands, which are made of natural latex, can be used both indoors and out. This material is not only extremely robust, but also very gentle on the skin, as it is free of harmful fibres.
Resistance bands with grips – for a comprehensive full-body workout
Would you like to train somewhere other than at home? Perhaps in the office or on your travels? Then resistance bands with grips are just the thing for you! Whether you want to work on your legs, buttocks, chest, arms or any other muscle area, the resistance band guarantees a varied total body workout consisting of over 50 exercises. The 64 resistance levels (!) provide optimum training stimulus at all times, and ensure that you achieve your goals.
This useful calisthenics accessory comes in a comprehensive set, so you can work out completely independently of location, and without any additional equipment. Despite the wide variety of options they offer, the resistance bands take up very little space – welcome to the smallest gym in the world!
Fresh out of ideas? Take a look at our Training Camp (Blog), where you can learn about effective exercises with the resistance band.
Wrist Wraps for more stable wrists
Wrist Wraps are mostly used for pressure exercises, like push-ups or dips, and for isometric exercises. This workout device stabilises your wrists, to protect them from over-straining and injuries. The warming properties of the wraps also help towards reducing the risk of injury.
This calisthenics accessory not only makes your workouts safer! It also makes them more effective! Thanks to the additional stability, you won't run out of strength in your wrists, so you can do more push-ups, press heavier weights on the bench and hold your planche longer!
Tip: The versatile wrist wraps are not only suitable for calisthenics. You can also use them for a “classical” strength workout, bodybuilding, CrossFit and a wide range of other sports.
The jump rope as a calisthenics accessory
Jump ropes are a very effective apparatus for strength endurance sports. They are ideal for warming or for martial arts, calisthenics, CrossFit and freeletics workouts. You can use the jump rope at home or outdoors, as an ideal warm-up before your workout.
Rope jumping is the perfect training for coordination, speed and strength. It burns as many calories in just 10 minutes as 30 minutes of jogging.
A good jump rope should have non-slip grips, so that you always have a good grip, even if your hands are sweaty. A good jump rope also has a fast rotating ball joint and the length of the rope can be adjusted.