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The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout Equipment List

Bodyweight Workouts are an incredible way to build strength and muscle with minimal equipment. However, to get the best results from your bodyweight workout program, you need to invest in getting a minimal amount of equipment.

Why?

Because no matter what method, tool or technique you use, you still need to get stronger and build muscle. And doing more and more reps is not how that happens.

What you’ll need to be successful at consistently boosting your strength and building muscle include:

• Gymnastic Rings
• Pull Up Bar
• Dip Station
• Weighted Vests

You can also get a dip/pull up station that will allow you to do everything in a freestanding piece of equipment. Exercise balls can also be a great addition to your home workout equipment arsenal.

Keep in mind that many places have public parks that have pull up and dip bars so that’s always an option as well. And it’s a great way to get outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. Make sure you get out there if you have access to a park with pull up and dip bars. It’s easy to bring a weighted vest, mat, towel and a pair of rings to get a killer workout outside.

However, not everyone will have access to parks with equipment. And temperatures during summer or winter may not be conducive to working out. Plus, there’s nothing more convenient than working out at your home.

I’ve listed the different pieces of equipment below, what they’ll be used for and the pros and cons of each to help you make the best decision for your goals and situation. There are more pieces of equipment that you can invest in, of course. But these are what I consider essential.

Gymnastic Rings

Why you need them?
You’ll use gymnastic rings for rows to exercise the pulling muscles of your back and arms. As you get more advanced, you’ll use rings to do ring dips and more. Consider gymnastic rings to be the equivalent of a barbell for your upper body!

Pros
Gymnastic rings are portable and easy to use. You can hang them from a tree or your pull up bar. For best results use wall or ceiling mounted pull up bar to give you the support and clearance you need to do your exercises

Cons
No real cons. Just make sure that they’re set up properly. If you set them up wrong, the buckle will not hold and you may fall. This happened to me and I hurt my elbow. Be sure to follow the directions for proper setup and make sure you test them for sturdiness before you start your exercises.

My Recommendation

Nayoya Gymnastic Rings
These rings are the best selling and highest rated on Amazon. And they’re made from PC plastic–which is more durable than wood and easier to grip than ABS plastic. This becomes important when your hands get sweaty during workouts. You can hang them from a pull-up bar, tree branch, etc. Just make sure it’s sturdy and gives you enough height to do your exercises.

 

nayoya rings

 

Shop Now: Nayoya Gymnastic Rings for Full Body Strength and Crossfit Training

 

Pull Up Bar

Why you need it?
You’ll use your pull up bar for chin up holds, pull ups, hanging knee and leg raises as well as more advanced bodyweight exercises like inverted hangs. There is simply no way to efficiently and effectively replicate these exercises without a pull-up bar.

Options
1) Wall or Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar (best option)

Pros
Getting a wall or ceiling mounted pull up bar is the best option for your workouts. It’s the sturdiest option and will feel the best during your hanging leg raises and pull ups. If you have shoulder issues, this will also be your best option due to the size of the bar.

Cons
Wall and ceiling mounted pull up bars can be expensive and they need to be professionally installed. I paid a handyman $100 to install mine before I switched to a pull-up/dip station. You also need to make sure that you have a proper place to install them (i.e. wooden beam or concrete block). Dry wall will not work. Make sure you ask your general contractor or handyman about proper installation before you buy this option. It is worth the money and headache if you value a safe and effective workout experience.

My Recommendations

Titan Wall Mounted Pull Up Chin Up Bar
This is a sturdy piece of equipment at a great price. I had the Titan Pull Up Bar before I moved. Since I had no place to mount it, I had to transition to a pull-up/dip tower. But this is a superior option. Make sure you check with your handyman or general contractor to make sure it’s properly installed. Also, make sure you have enough room to install it properly.
titan

Shop Now: Nayoya Gymnastic Rings for Full Body Strength and Crossfit Training

 

2) Pull Up/Dip Station

Pros
This is a good option if you don’t have a proper place to mount a ceiling or wall pull up bar. It’s freestanding so all you need is space. The option I’ve listed here is the one I actually own and have used. It is fairly sturdy if put together properly. And you won’t need a dip station as it already comes with one in addition to other features. You can also hang your rings on it. Just make sure that you don’t use your rings at an angle that will tip over the station.

Cons
The main issue with this option is that it can be wobbly if you’re over 200lbs. It may shake a little during dips and pull ups so be sure to place a carpet or rubber mat underneath the station to minimize instability. The other issue is the height of the pull-up bar. While it’s a good choice to fit into a house or apartment with low ceilings, you won’t be able to do pull-ups from a full hang. You’ll have to bend your knees. You also have to do this with ring dips. Last thing, make sure you check your space and the dimensions of the pull-up/dip station to make sure you have enough space to accommodate it.

My Recommendation

Stamina 1690 Power Tower
This is the same one I have at home. It’s good quality for the price. There’s no need to invest in anything more expensive unless you get a station with welded joints (will run you several hundred bucks and is super heavy). Make sure you put a carpet or rubber mat underneath it to avoid unnecessary shaking during exercise. Concrete or tile will make doing weighted dips and pull ups a nightmare for your elbows and shoulders. Also, make sure you match the measurements of your workout space with the dimensions of this station to avoid space issues.

stamina-1690-power-tower

SHOP NOW: Stamina 1690 Power Tower

 

3) Doorway Mounted Pull Up Bar

Pros
The doorway mounted pull up bar is very easy to attach before you sue it. It’s also easy to store when not in use. It comes with a variety of grips and is pretty sturdy. This piece of equipment is very reasonably priced. So if you’re on a budget strongly consider this option.

Cons
They don’t mount on every doorway. I had this issue when I moved to a new place. So make sure you have the right size doorjamb casing that accommodates this piece of equipment. Using a doorway mounted pull up bar can damage the doorjamb casing you attach it to. So you’ll want to protect the parts of the bar that come into contact with the doorjamb.

My Recommendation

ProSource Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar
The ProSource pull up bar is well made, has a variety of grips and is easy to secure in your doorway all for the low price of about 22 bucks. Just make sure you check out whether it’ll fit your doorjambs before you buy. Make sure to read the reviews and answered questions on the Amazon page if you decide to go this route.
prosource-multi-grip-pull-up-bar

SHOP NOW: ProSource Multi-Grip Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar, Heavy Duty Doorway Trainer for Home Gym

 

Dip Station

Why you need it?
You’ll use you dip station for bodyweight dips, weighted dips, L sits and other exercises.

Options
1) Stand-alone Dip Station

Pros
Stand-alone dip stations are fairly sturdy and don’t take up much space.

Cons
Only real cons are that it’s only good for dips, dip variations, L sits and other similar exercises. You’ll still need a place to do pull-ups. That said, I’d rather have a dip station and a ceiling or wall mounted pull up bar than a pull-up/dip station. Wobbliness can be an issue with these so make sure to use carpet or a rubber mat to minimize instability.

My Recommendation

Titan Fitness Dip Station
In spite of being $20-30 cheaper, it’s just as good as far as I can tell. One of my personal training clients has the bestselling dip station on Amazon and this one handles more weight (350lbs versus 750lbs for Titan). This is important if you want to work up to heavier dips. And it’s cheaper 

titan-fitness-dip-station

SHOP NOW: Titan Fitness HD Dip Station Stand Body Press Black Solid Foam Grips

 

2) Pull Up/Dip Station

Pros
I’ve already covered this in the pull-up section.

Cons
Same issues as what I covered in the pull-up section.

My Recommendation

Stamina 1690 Power Tower
This is the same one I have at home. It’s good quality for the price. There’s no need to invest in anything more expensive unless you get a station with welded joints (will run you several hundred bucks and is super heavy). Make sure you put a carpet or rubber mat underneath it to avoid unnecessary shaking during exercise. Concrete or tile will make doing weighted dips and pull ups a nightmare for your elbows and shoulders. Also, make sure you match the measurements of your workout space with the dimensions of this station to avoid space issues.

stamina-1690-power-tower

SHOP NOW: Stamina 1690 Power Tower

 

Adjustable Weighted Vest

Why you need it?
As you get stronger, you’ll need to add additional resistance to your body to challenge yourself. A weighted vest is the best way to do this.

For example, you may get to the point where you can do so many reps of dips, pull ups, squats, reverse lunges and other bodyweight exercises that it becomes an endurance training instead of strength training. That’s why many people hit a plateau with bodyweight training.The way to get around this is to add weight by using a weighted vest.

If you’re a man, I suggest getting at least a 50lb vest. If you’re a woman, I suggest a 20lb vest. Keep in mind that the weights are removable so it’s better to get something you can grow into. Also, get the vest with shoulder pads. Trust me on that one 

Pros
A good weighted vest will fit snugly onto your body and will allow for full range of motion during exercises with minimal shifting during movement. The option I’ve listed below is also adjustable so you can add or subtract weight as needed. It’s very easy to store and take very little room.

Cons
The biggest con to weighted vests is cost. The good ones cost over $100 for 50lbs. The cheap ones aren’t worth it as they don’t allow for full range of movement and the weights fall out. I had this problem with my first vest until I sucked it up and spent cash on a good quality vest. My advice: save up for a good one.

My Recommendation

RUNFast 50lb Adjustable Weighted Vest (Ideal for Men)
Weighted vests are expensive. This is one of the highest quality and lowest priced options. Don’t go for the cheap and floppy vests as they create more trouble than they’re worth. Also, there’s no need to pay for a high-end brand either. This is the perfect in between option. Remember, the weights are removable so I recommend choosing a weight you can grow into so you don’t have to purchase another vest after a few months because you’ve gotten stronger.

adjustable-weighted-vest

SHOP NOW: RUNmax 12lb-140lb Weighted Vest (with Shoulder Pads, 40lb)

RUNFast 20lb Adjustable Weighted Vest (Ideal for Women)
Weighted vests are expensive. This is one of the highest quality and lowest priced options. Don’t go for the cheap and floppy vests as they create more trouble than they’re worth. Also, there’s no need to pay for a high-end brand either. This is the perfect in between option. Remember, the weights are removable so I recommend choosing a weight you can grow into so you don’t have to purchase another vest after a few months because you’ve gotten stronger.

adjustable-weighted-vest

SHOP NOW: RUNmax 12lb-140lb Weighted Vest (with Shoulder Pads, 40lb)

 

Dip/Pull-Up Belt

Why you need it?
As you get stronger, you’ll need to add additional resistance to your body to challenge yourself. While a weighted vest is the best option in my opinion, if you have dumbbells or weight plates at home, or perform your bodyweight workouts in a gym, then a dip/pull up belt is your best option to make use of what you already have available.

Pros
A dip/pull up belt is cheaper than a weighted vest and easy to use.

Cons
You need dumbbells or weight plates to use this belt. If you don’t already have dumbbells or plates available then I recommend going with a weighted vest. Another important aspect is that the weight hangs from a chain so you need enough clearance to use it. Also, it’s less stable than a weighted vest.

My Recommendations

BEGINNER: Harbinger Dip/Pull-Up Belt
Harbinger is a solid brand that’s been around for many years. This is a good to get started with. If you’re just getting started with adding weight to your pull-ups and dips, then this is a good place to start. If you’re using 45lb plates and more then you want to check out the next option
polypropylene-weight-dip-belt
SHOP NOW: Harbinger Polypropylene Weight Dip Belt with 34-Inch Steel Chain

ADVANCED: Kinobody Dip/Pull-Up Belt
This is a sturdier option for those lifters who are using multiple plates. It’s well made and can handle multiple plates with minimal discomfort–especially for men.

kinobody-dippullup-belt

SHOP NOW: Kinobody – Best In Class Dip Belt and Pullup Belt – Any Size – Any Experience Level

 

Exercise Ball

Why you need it?
Exercise balls (also called stability balls when I first starting using them in the late 1990s) are excellent tools that you can use to perform a variety of bodyweight exercises, core exercises and stretching exercises. I have every personal training client purchase an exercise ball because of its versatility.

Pros
You can perform a variety of bodyweight exercises with an exercise ball. Push up variations, core exercises, lunges, squats and more. It takes up very little space and is easy to store. Just make sure you buy a solid, good quality ball at the right size.

Cons
There aren’t many cons with the exercise ball but there are a few. Exercise balls require some skill and balance to use so they’re not great for those people with moderate to severe balance issues. Also, make sure you don’t get a mushy, cheap ball–the mushier the ball the worse your workout. To build strength, you need a solid, stable platform. “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe” is a good quote to describe this issue. Invest in getting a good ball or don’t bother getting one at all.

My Recommendation

Gymnic exercise balls are the original balls that were developed in Europe in 1963 and popularized by American physical therapist Joanne Posner-Mayer in 1989.

Since then, many fitness equipment companies started making balls—most of which are low quality. Some of which are nearly unusable. In this case, the original is the best. Gymnic is one of only two brands that I recommend. (Duraball pro is the other if you’re interested—but it’s more expensive and for lifting weights while on the ball.)

Another important consideration is your height. You must get the right size ball for your height. Here are the

If you’re 4’11” to 5’4″ in height, then you’ll need a 55 cm ball:

resistant-exercise-ball-red-55-cm

SHOP NOW: Gymnic Classic Plus Burst-Resistant Exercise Ball, Red (55 cm)

If you’re 5’4″ to 5’11” in height then you’ll need a 65 cm ball:

 

resistant-exercise-ball-blue-65-cm

SHOP NOW: Gymnic Classic Plus Burst-Resistant Exercise Ball, Blue (65 cm)

If you’re 5’11” to 6′ 7″ in height, then you’ll need a 75 cm ball:

resistant-exercise-ball-green75-cm

SHOP NOW: Gymnic Plus Burst-Resistant Exercise Ball, Green (75 cm)

 

Conclusion
This should answer most (and hopefully all) of your questions about what pieces of home workout equipment you should purchase. I did my best to be as detailed as possible while giving you options based on my 17 years of experience training clients at their home and recommending equipment for to get the best results.

If this was a little confusing, just remember you want to buy these basics:

• Gymnastic Rings
• Pull Up Bar
• Dip Station
• Weighted vest

These 4 items are bare minimum must-haves for building strength and muscle with bodyweight training. Anything else is a bonus. So stay focused and figure out what’s best for you, your goals and your home workout space.

 

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