What is Needed to Start Calisthenics? [Top 6 Essentials]

If you are a beginner and looking for specific things you must prepare and own before you start your calisthenics journey you are in the right place. 

In this article, you are going to find out what is needed to start calisthenics, how to do it step by step and why.

I’m going to provide you with all 6 basic but important essentials and tips and steps on how to get the max out of each and every one of them.

Let’s jump into the first one…

Top 6 Essentials Needed to Start Calisthenics [Beginner Friendly]

Before we start I want to quickly add that I find all 6 things important and if you don’t follow all of them and do only 3 or 4 you will not have great results. 

Imagine them as a sports team.

Every member is dependent on the other players. That’s how important is each and every one of them.

So in order to have the best possible results try to follow all them of to some extent. 

#1 – You Must Have a Specific Goal

Strolling through life without any goals is like trying to fill a pool with a pierced bucket. Тhere isn’t any logic. 

It is proven that we humans do a lot better if we follow specific goals and have a deadline in which we have to achieve them. 

That’s why it’s very important to have a specific goal you want you want to achieve in your calisthenics journey. 

Every good goal should have those 3 essentials:

  • 1) It should be specific (use a number).
  • 2) If should have time deadline in which you have to complete it.
  • 3) It has to be something reasonable and possible to do in that specific time period

Here’s a short example of how to create a good goal:

Example:

I’m just starting out doing basic bodyweight exercises and I want to become stronger. For this moment I can do only 8-9 pushups. 

My new goal is going to be to gain enough strength so I can do 30 pushups at once after 60 days

As you can see from the example above I have created for myself a pretty good goal. 

It uses a specific number – 30 pushups, a specific time period – 60 days and it’s attainable.

I have to build my strength to do 11 more pushups in 60 days (that’s 5.5 pushups a month or about 1 extra push up per week). 

Now as you can see it’s not a hard thing to do and it does help a lot.

Now it’s your time to do it. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down a goal you want to achieve in calisthenics for a period of time.

Here are a few helpful guidelines you can follow:

  • Aim to learn a new movement
  • Try to go for a certain amount of reps
  • Go for a specific number of seconds for a static hold
  • Try hanging for a period of time
  • Doing reps with additional weight
  • Get leaner by losing X amount of weight
  • and whatever else you can think for

So that’s everything about creating a goal but trust me, that is the easy part. The hard part is the action itself. In this case, we are talking about the workouts. 

Stick around to see how to manage them properly.

#2 – Have a Good Workout Plan & Place to do it

I really hope you have not only read the previous step buy you have taken action on it. 

Once you have the goal ready it’s time to see how and where you are going to make it happen. 

In our case, we are talking about following a good workout plan.

If you already know what exactly you are going to do and where you are going to do it that’s great! Then feel free to skip this step and go straight after the next one. 

If on the other hand, you don’t have a clue what to do you can follow this simple multifunctional workout plan.

Its goal is to help you build strength, endurance, and balance that is going to be a crucial part of your later development.

The Workout Plan

Main Purpose

I know that it may seem a lot to handle but our goal is to train the whole body so you can go for the more complex movements as fast as possible. 

Number of reps, resistance and rest

Your goal is to go near failure for every set you do.

If the number of reps is too easy for you increase the difficulty by using additional weight, lowering resting times, doing the reps slower or adding an additional circuit, etc.

Rest for about 1 minute for a circuit and then repeat.

The Workout – 1 circuit of those exercises (do 4 circles in total)

  • Wide grip push-ups – 20 reps 
  • Wide grip pull-ups – 10 reps
  • Hanging ab raises – 15 reps
  • Dips – 15 reps
  • Squats – 20 reps

Where to do it

When it comes to calisthenics and places to workout it mainly comes to 2 most common places:

  • At home
  • Somewhere outside (using outdoor fitness equipment)

For this specific workout, you are going to need only access to a pull-up bar so do it where you please.

I personally always prefer to workout outdoors is the weather is good enough and if you haven’t done in yet I highly recommend you to give it a try.

Depending on your personal circumstances go for what’s the best for you.

How often to do it?

Because recovery is very important (more on that later on this article) you have to rest at least 1 day from the week. 

Here’s an example training plan you can follow:

  • Monday: Workout Plan
  • Tuesday: Some type of Cardio or Explosive type of training
  • Wednesday: Workout Plan 
  • Thursday: Some type of Cardio or Explosive type of training
  • Friday: Workout Plan 
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Of course, this is just an example and if it doesn’t go well with your daily lifestyle or your way of working out feel free to change it as much as you want.

#3 – Workout Consistently

Does this sound familiar?

So you have a goal and a complete workout plan. You are eager to start your calisthenics journey.

After a few weeks of working out, eating and sleeping right your initial motivational boosts come to a slow but definitive end. 

And the worst part is you are not near close where you wanted to be. Frustration starts building up and you begin to lose motivation and desire.

With those loses you begin to initially begin to skip a workout or two. 

But as the patterns grow so does the lost workouts. After another few weeks of no progress, you are really pissed about your wasted hard work and you just quit. 

I know that this may not be the end result for a lot of us but we are all feeling self-doubt, frustration and desire to quit.

It probably sounds very cliche but when this moment comes you have to choose to continue pushing forward. 

I know many of you are looking for shortcuts or some magical way to skip the hard work and to get where you want to be as fast as possible but unfortunately, there simply isn’t.

The faster you know that the sooner you can start your calisthenics journey. 

Being consistent with your efforts will bring you positive results.

I know that many times we simply don’t want to do something but we know that we have to do it for our own good.

That’s where you have to make a decision what you want – painful but deserved success or average and unfulfilling results.

Building strength, muscle mass, losing weight or just learning something new is a long process that is going to require a lot of time, energy, patience, and consistent hard work and sweat.

Take the time and reread the sentence above until it has sunk deep in your mind.

So now once you saw the real truth about good results it is time to go for the next very important step…

#4 – Don’t forget to Measure Progress

I know that there are only a few from all of us who do really do this. Yes, I was one of the majority and to be honest I lost a lot from not doing it sooner. 

Measuring progress is beneficial in many ways.

For starters how are you going to know if you are going on the right track if you have nothing to compare against. 

How are you going to know if whatever you are doing is actually working?

Without having that crucial data you won’t know if you making progress or not. 

I firmly believe that the best person to compare against is you are where you have previously been but in order to do so you are going to need consistent data.

Speaking of that a good way you can track everything is by using a notebook. 

My girlfriend started a new meal plan recently and what I found very pleasing is the fact that she was writing down every piece of food she ate during the day, the quantity, the number of calories it contained and all-important macronutrients it brought. 

That way it’s really easy for her how much calories she ate, etc.

She also knows her weight and body fat percentage so after a few weeks she can easily measure again and find out if everything is working or not and adjust it if needed. 

Following the same thing, you can write down how many reps you managed to do for a specific exercise.

Write down if you have used additional weight or not, how many exercises you did, how long was your resting time, etc.

If you managed to stick to doing this after every time you train you are going to have a big pool of data you can use for your advantage.

It’s really up to you if you decide to do it or not. I hope you choose the right decision.

#5 – Good Recovery – Enough Sleep and Good Food

Every person on this planet needs to sleep and eat in order to survive. That’s because those are the essential things for your recovery process. 

I know that many people believe that your muscles are getting bigger and stronger during the workout but that’s not actually true.

The truth is the exact opposite – you get bigger and stronger while you are sleeping and recovering after the workout. 

From personal experience, I can tell that these 2 things are more important than the workouts themselves.

You are still going to get better results if you end up with bad workouts but your meals and sleeping are on point.

I remember in the beginning when I trained super hard and frequent and I was very pissed why I wasn’t having the results I wanted.

Only if I had that information back then … 

In order to help you get a good amount of sleep, I’m going to give you a short list of awesome things you can do tonight.

If you are reading this during the day you can apply some of them this night so you are going to be sleeping like a baby.

How to Improve your sleeping for better results? [4 Easy Tips]

  • Turn off all electrical devices that use display you have to watch for around 1 hour before you go to sleep. – Watching the bright light from the screen can have a bad impact on the quality of your good night’s sleep. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool (around 20 degrees or about 68 Fahrenheit), dark and quiet. – That is the best sleeping environment in order to help you get a good night’s sleep. Keep all the distractions at a bare minimum. 
  • Create a habit of getting into bed and waking up at the same time. – That way you are going to easily hit the total amount of sleep your body needs (depending on your age and body) so you always feel well-rested and ready for your next calisthenics workout. 
  • Don’t drink a lot of liquids before going to bed. – I know this sounds silly but I know how annoying it can be to wake up in the middle of the night just to go pee. Drinking fewer liquids may save you from waking up resulting in better and deeper sleep.

So we have talked about sleeping a lot but what about food? 

Well, I don’t see any point in repeating things you most probably already know. 

I’m talking about things such as – try eating more healthy foods (fruits and veggies), get enough protein, etc. Instead, I’m going to emphasize a few basics it’s good for you to follow around. 

Before we start I want to tell you that the best way you should go after eating is to follow an individual personal meal plan.

If you don’t want to pay a ton for a personal trainer or search hours on the web from unknown sources Click Here to check my latest book on how to make it yourself at home. 

Even without an individual meal plan following these simple rules could be really impactful for you and your results. 

  • Find out how many calories you need to use daily. Even if I don’t really recommend it you can still use a free online calculator to have a guess. (the results they give are very generic and not individual at all)
  • Add a surplus of about 20% of your total calorie intake in order to bulk up and start building muscle and strength
  • Follow strictly your weight and adapt your meals and calories towards your results. That way you are going to make sure you are going in the right direction.
  • Buy, cook and prep everything in bulk. That way are going to save a lot of time, money are going to make everything a lot easier.
  • Invest in a good set of portable food containers and foldable spoon and fork. Having them will allow you to bring your delicious meals anywhere you go so you can follow your meal plan and make sure to provide your body with constant macronutrients.
  • Don’t forget to eat often at smaller portions rather a few super huge portions. Doing it this way is proven to be beneficial for both your stomach and body.
  • Emphasize on your pre and post-workout meal. Click over the text on the left to check out our great article with 3 good recipes.
  • Make sure you are drinking enough water. At least 3 liters per day (and I’m talking about only pure water). 

Yes, I know the information is not much but if I have to write about everything in detail this article will become the next Bible (well not really 😀). 

I made everything nice, simple and clear trying to provide you with the best applicable knowledge. 

So without any further ado let’s see what the 6th and final fundamental step has to offer…

#6 – Workout Beginner Calisthenics Equipment

Some of you might not find this step important but you are wrong.

Having additional equipment to workout with can bring a ton of great benefits.

Starting from good protection and comfort going back to have the ability to do more exercises, increase the difficulty and add variety to your workouts.

That is going to make working out more enjoyable and will help you get better results at the same time.

Side Note: Of course they are not really required to have but if you are serious and want to progress and get results having such things may help a lot speeding that process.

Here’s a quick overview of the best calisthenics equipment every beginner should have:

  • Pull up bar
  • Workout Gloves
  • Wrist Wraps
  • Workout Shoes
  • Parallettes
  • Gymnastic Rings

Let’s explain what’s the purpose of every one of them and what is going to help you with it.

Pull up Bar

If you are a big fan of home workouts then this is a must-have. It’s going to help you a ton of building that upper body strength and size. 

Using a good pull-up bar is also required for a ton of different calisthenic movements such as pull-ups, chin-ups, muscle-ups, all kinds of hanging ab exercises, front and back lever, explosive movements and much more. 

It’s also a great addition to beginners who don’t have the needed strength to do pull-ups on their own because you can use resistance bands to help you out. 

To be honest, if you have the budget to buy only 1 piece of equipment let me it be this. 

And a big plus is that you can find pretty nice products at a reasonable price. If you have the available space and the budget go for a good pull up bar. 

If you want to check some great options for your home please Click Here to see our top 5 list.

We have reviewed different products some requiring more space than the others.

Finally, I want to mention that it’s 10 times better to use an outdoor pull-up bar during the hot spring and summer months and this is how I personally train.

I find very useful my home pull-up bar and other equipment during the winter when it’s freezing outside.

Workout Gloves

I find wearing gloves really essential if you don’t want to have calluses and cuts on your arms. 

Some people may argue that “real men don’t use gloves” or something like that but I don’t really care what others think. 

I have trained years without any gloves and after I bought my first pair I really saw the difference in wounds and the comfort them bring. 

That’s why I recommend them and find them very important for anybody who is going to hold his own weight in the air or is going to do exercises outside on the ground.

Another great thing I have to mention and find very useful is to have a good pair of workout gloves to use during cold and windy months. 

I’m talking about the full finger design which is ideal for protecting your hands from the cold.

With their help and some nice winter clothes, you are given the option to workout outside during bad weather. 

If you want to check out some great models please go and read out article about the best workout gloves for calisthenics

Wrist Wraps

I find wearing wrist wraps to be one of the best things you really need to wear to start doing calisthenics painlessly. 

This was one of my first mistakes as a rookie and it resulted in constant pain and discomfort in my wrist and elbows. 

The good news is that the majority of today’s gloves do come with a pre-built wrist wraps so you are getting 2 great benefits with 1 product.

If you don’t like wearing gloves and take pride of your calluses and use chalk instead of buying a set of good wrist wraps is a must.

One of the big benefits of wearing wrist wraps is that you protect your wrist wraps from unwanted strain and injuries. 

One of the best things about wraps is that they are very inexpensive, lightweight and can be very helpful. 

I highly recommend you to get yourself a good pair of them.

If you want to see some great option and important features to look for feel free to read our article.

Workout Shoes

I know this might sound a little ridiculous but it’s actually pretty important. I know that most sneakers might do the job right but I’m a good shoe guy and do care what I’m wearing. 

I really like to train with lightweight, breathable and comfortable shoes that will support my weight and balance during a lot of exercises. 

As a matter of fact, you can use 1 pair with many different types of workouts such as jogging, weight lifting, fitness walking and of course calisthenics. 

I’m pretty aware that there are thousands of different models, shapes and sizes to choose from and it could be a very overwhelming process. 

Here are a few important features to look for in a good pair of workout shoes:

  • Flexibility
  • The thickness of the cushion
  • Material
  • Price
  • Width of the toe box
  • The outsole
  • Breathability
  • Weight

Click Here to check out this article in which we review some great workout shoes and share a lot more details on every feature.

I believe you are going to find it useful. 

Parallettes

I really do find a pair of nice parallettes an essential part that is needed for everybody who is searching for important things needed to start calisthenics. 

They are an amazing little piece of equipment because they make everything a lot easier. 

For example doing the basic bodyweight exercise – the push up. 

If for example, you are doing it on a pair of parallettes you can have a lot less stress on your wrists, a deeper range of motion and can do many different widths without being concerned with wrist pain afterward. And this is only with 1 exercise. 

Imagine all the things you can do – handstand, l sit up, planche, dips, and many more. 

And the good thing is that there are some very portable options (Click Here to check them out) that don’t require a lot of space to store. 

That’s why they are one of the best home gym calisthenics equipment people prefer over the bigger and heavier power towers (which is still great equipment to have).

So if you have a small budget and are looking for something compact and very practical I recommend you to go for a nice pair of parallettes. 

Gymnastic Rings

I know that even if gymnastic and calisthenics are not really the same they are very close to one another and using a set of good wooden rings is going to help you tremendously. 

They are great for people having some upper body strength and want to improve their balance and grip strength.

The main difference compared to the regular pull up bar is portability. 

Many people live in an area lacking a good pull up bar or dip station or just don’t have the space to add one.

With a set of rings in your backpack, you have the freedom to do your favorite exercises and workouts anywhere you like. 

You can literally place them on top of a solid tree branch or some sort of structure, set the proper height and in a few seconds you are going to be ready to start.

It’s really that simple.

That’s why I really recommend them to anybody looking for portability and freedom. 

If you are curious and want to learn about gymnastic rings and see some great options I recommend you to check out our recent article on this topic. Click Here to open it in the browser.

A good tip I can give you is to go for the wooden ones because that’s why the Olympic athletes use and they do it for a reason. 

Final Thoughts

I really hoped all the information from this article is enough so you now have a good understanding of what is needed to start calisthenics, how to do it and why it’s important. 

I’m pretty aware that there are a ton of other useful things to mention but from my own experience, I had found these 6 to be the most important worth writing about. 

As mentioned earlier I very highly recommend you try following all 6 tips because they are all dependent on one another. 

That’s how you are making sure you are going to get the max out of your training and eating. 

Finally, I want to finish with the biggest tip life has taught me:

The biggest and most important tip I can give you is to make things work.

Take action today!

It doesn’t really matter if you have read 1 or 10 articles on that topic if you haven’t done a thing.

This is the main difference between somebody who is successful and somebody who is not.

Thank you for the time it took you to read my article.

It really would mean the world to me if you share it with your friends or leave me a comment below telling me what do you think.

If you want to learn more awesome stuff about calisthenics feel free to scroll through our site or just Click Here to go to our category page.

See you soon,

– Bozhidar

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Bozhidar Karailiev
Bozhidar Karailiev
Hey there, my name is Bozhidar and I have created this site to share with you my experiences and knowledge from over 7 years of training using my home gym, public gym and calisthenics. I have some experience into gymnastics too. Hope my articles are useful to you!

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