On this page, I’ll show you all the equipment that I use for my training. All of these gadgets are well tested and if they survive me, they should survive you in any case!
Plus, most of these tools are great to travel and take with you to the nearby park. My gymnastic rings and mini paralettes accompanied me within my backpack all over the world.
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These beasts are the best of the best when it comes to Calisthenics. Rings are the ultimate tool.
- They especially work on reflexive shoulder stability, because rings are unstable as hell. That’s why most of the exercises are way harder than on parallel bars for example.
- If you can do 15 standard dips, you will do no more than 5 when starting out on the rings. And for these 5 reps you’ll be working hard.
Nonetheless – they are great for your general shoulder health. Reps aren’t the only thing that’s counting!
Besides, you’ll lose some reps when working on the rings, they will make you strong. Strong as f*ck, controlled, and mobile.
Starting out on the gymnastic rings is a bit difficult, but extremely rewarding. In retrospect, I am really disappointed to not learn about these two wooden beauties earlier in my fitness journey.
I use these cheap but high-quality wooden rings* and am totally satisfied. They work flawlessly for nearly 3 years now. What could one expect more for 30 bucks?
Paralettes are small and easy transportable parallel bars.
You’ll surely know their big brothers, the original parallel bars, from your gymnastics class back in school.
The wrist position is different when working out on parallettes than on the bare floor:
- Your wrists are in a neutral position. That is way less stressing for your wrists. Especially, when your wrists aren’t as strong as you want them to be, or they hurt from too much floor work, parallettes are your way to go.
I use these bigger Parallettes at home*
They are big, quite heavy and very stable. Because of this you can’t transport them well, but on the other hand some skills are way easier (for example L-Sits), simply because there is more space for your legs and the floor.
When I’m in the gym or traveling I use these two Mini Parallettes*. They are compact, weigh nearly nothing and therefore great to transport.
I think I don’t have to lose many words about, why chalk is useful.
It simply helps you to grip your rings or bar, without slipping away. Consequently, you can use your grip strength better and save your poor palms some blisters.
I really like this liquid climbing chalk*. Climbers really know how to keep gripping fucked-up, tiny surfaces…
Because most gyms don’t allow the real chalky stuff, liquid chalk is a great alternative. When it’s dry it will stay on your palms, no matter what happens. 😀
Resistance bands and tubes
These little colorful buddies are great for many reasons!
- You can use lighter bands for superb warmups, especially for your shoulder and upper body.
- Medium-sized bands can aid you bridge the gap from one skill progression to another. Depending on their thickness they take a bit of your bodyweight out of the equation and you can train beyond your limit.
This can help you to get the Front or Back Lever or even your first pullup.
- The really thick bands can be used for lower body mobility exercises and distractions.
You see – there is a Resistance Band* for everyone!
Bloodflow-restriction-bands aka Voodoo Floss
These bands are thick and not as flexible as tubes.
- They will do exactly what the name suggests. No, they won’t do any voodoo. They will restrict the blood flow to a desired extremity.
You will maybe ask yourself now, why the f*ck any non-masochist would do this?
Great question! And it’s kinda hard to answer.
The goal is to get more blood into your tissues. More blood equals better recovery. That’s why you do voodoo on yourself.*
- You can use flushes as a recovery method 1-2 times a week
- Flushes are a powerful tool in your recovery-toolbox.
But as a disclaimer – don’t just go along tourniquet your arm till it turns blue or worse. Educate yourself first because this method CAN definitely harm yourself if done stupidly wrong.
I learned this method through Kelly Starret’s MWOD Course which is now called TRS aka the Ready State.
Gua Sha Claw
Gua Sha Claws are the hardcore blackrolls.
- You use them to massage a specific area and get more blood into the tissues.
- I like to use this technique on my shins and forearms, when they are seriously trashed.
But as said before – educate yourself this one will hurt anyway. But if you use it stupidly it will hurt you in the long term, too.
Short Gua Sha 101
To gua-sha yourself you oil up the desired spot and massage it with a hard long piece of what you got. It can be a professional Gua-Sha-Claw*, a stone, a spoon, or even a coin.
But be warned – Gua Sha WILL hurt. And if you treat yourself right you will look the next day like you’ve been yesterday for 10 rounds in the octagon with Connor McGregor.
Originally Gua Sha was invented in Southeast Asia. Where else would they come on that crazy ideas! But interestingly – it works well.
I always use a spoon for this funny recovery method, but there are some small stones that you can use, too.
General Health Gadgets
A Cardio belt* is by any means no must-have, but it grants a variety of benefits for people who are into cardio regularly:
- It does what the name tells you – you can measure your heart rate. But really interesting is the heart rate while different activities. One example would be your resting heart rate in contrast to your 60% max-HR.
- Another great parameter you can measure is your heart rate variability or HRV.
A cardio belt functions like a portable ECG. The HRV is an important parameter for general heart health. Simply put it is the time how quickly your heart can respond to the external environment.
Most cardio belts come together with an app to track all your parameters, like burned calories, total km, min and max HR and many more.
I like this belt by Polar*. I used it nearly two times per week while running and am very satisfied with it. It is easy to use, seems to be very precise and works well with the app.
Juggling is a ton of fun. And you will be the king of any party if you start juggling some knives or plates without forewarning.
- Nevertheless, it is a great workout for your brain, too!
- For your nervous system it is a monstrous task to combine the visual and motor stimuli that quick.
There are even a few studies that researched neuroplasticity and juggling, juggling, and brain atrophy and juggling and Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly they could link it and find positive effects of juggling (and particular any movement as a conclusion) to these pathologies.1
I use these Juggling Balls*.
I love minimal/ barefoot shoes!
I think this is one of the points you could never convince me to think otherwise.
These two are perfectly crafted all round shoes. You can use them for the gym, your daily life and even running.
- Recently I discovered the shoes made by Feelgrounds. They made it to crowdfund their endeavor and now sell them. These shoes look more like normal sneakers and less like the classic barefoot shoe.
- Another brand I discovered and am inclined to try are the shoes made by Xero Shoes.
If you are on the verge of trying out barefoot shoes – I would wholeheartedly advise you to give them a try. These will definitely change your life!
Just remember to start out slowly.