It’s kind of an oxymoron isn’t it? Bodyweight training equipment. One of the major factors of bodyweight training is that it requires no equipment. Still, there are certain tools that can magnify what you can accomplish with your own bodyweight. And in this article I aim to detail all the best ones.
Yes this is an important factor for your bodyweight training. You need somewhere you can work on the exercises. This is readily available, but the reason I bring it up is that different floors can have different purposes. A padded floor is great if you’re doing any exercises where you are lying on your back or for bridging. If you’re trying to do acrobatics grass or sand is much safer then concrete, and the best option would be a bouncy gymnastics floor. Determine what type of flooring works best for what you’re doing.
A wall or something stable you can lean against is useful for many handstand exercises. It may sound stupid but if you’ve ever not had enough empty wall space in your home to do handstand pushups you’ll realize how important this “equipment” is.
This is a common staple of bodyweight training equipment and our first step away from the two “duh” examples before. In order to do any variation of pullups you need a place to hang from. You can find them in a power rack, bolt a bar into a door frame, find some monkey bars, or even hang from a tree branch. As long as it can support your weight without question you’re good to go. Thicker bars can definitely tax the grip and wrist more, also dependent on how you grab them.
Towels or Rope
These as well as many other even more grip-intensive tools (like rafters for pinch grip pullups) can be hung over a bar and used as a great and easy way to build hand and grip strength. Also if you have a climbing rope you have one the best and most classic tools for pulling and grip power.
Now we start to get to some professional tools that can amplify your training. Most people have seen the common ab wheels, but not everyone is familiar with the Power Wheel. In addition to the standard rollouts that can be done with any wheel, this tool allows you to strap your feet in and do many more exercises like walking around, alligator pushups, pike-ups and more.
The rings offer a different feel then a standard pullup bar. They also allow you to begin to work towards very advanced moves like the iron cross or maltese. They also can be used to make basic exercises like pushups harder, if you have a pair with adjustable height. They give different feels for different movements then just a bar like when doing a muscle up.
TRX Suspension System
In some ways like the gymnastic rings, but in many ways different as well. You can also do some moves similar to the power wheel by strapping your feet in. To be honest I do not have a TRX, but have used one on occasion. It really is quite a versatile tool that can open up your bodyweight training into a broader spectrum.
Parallettes are a staple of anyone working towards handstand skills. Here I use it as a broad category. It can be something as small as pushup handles which can slightly increase the range of motion on various presses, but also change your hand and and grip dramatically. You could also go much bigger with a full set of parallel bars and start working on some more fun gymnastic skills, like swings, handstands and traveling dips. In a similar vein you can use hand balancing stands.
With a weight vest you’re starting to get away from pure bodyweight exercises, but that’s fine by me. You can make any exercise progressively harder by adding just a little weight to whatever you’re doing. I’d still include it as a bodyweight exercise as most of the resistance will still be provided by your body, you’re just tricking your body into thinking you’re fatter or more muscular.
I wouldn’t call this a necessity like some of the items here, at least for my goals. But in the past I’ve used a swiss ball. It can be great for difficult pushup variations, some great ab exercises, and also as a great lead-in to bridging exercises.
That’s my list of bodyweight training equipment. I may have missed something (you can comment about it down below) but this list will give you some ideas on where to go next if you’re looking for another piece of equipment to add to your supply.