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Calisthenics Gyms: What are they and why open one?

Calisthenics gyms are everywhere if you’re creative enough! Calisthenics is a powerful tool for self physical improvement using only your body weight. Anytime you complete bodyweight workouts you are essentially partaking in calisthenics. This method of exercise does not inherently require any weighted equipment. However, minor weights can be added using vests, belts, and ankle weights. Examples of sports focused on calisthenics are parkour and gymnastics.

Calisthenics takes a holistic approach to the body. In other words, these exercises hold a great deal of importance for the body and a mental flow state. Mobility, flexibility, and strength are the core focus of calisthenics. These exercises are also known as a street workout. Remember the 2012 trend where people were climbing walls and jumping over crazy things like Spiderman? Yeah, that’s what we are talking about here, but let’s make it professional for your fitness business!

Benefits of Calisthenics Gyms

This is a niche opportunity for attracting a target market that is not highly marketed to. You can find many calisthenics parks for free with some bars and other, very simple equipment people use to do creative workouts. However, creating a gym around calisthenics opens the opportunity for an exciting place to do bodyweight exercises.

Ninja Gyms

Unlike the stagnant movement of lifting weights or the grueling intensity of cardio machines, members of calisthenics gyms will focus on all ranges of motion. As a result, this workout is comparable to a rock climbing gym where people can go to practice technique and exploration. Many calisthenics gyms consider themselves ‘ninja gyms’ because of the popular show American Ninja Warrior.

If you’ve never heard of this show, then you’re missing out on some pretty entertaining stuff. Competitors on the show must complete a long series of extremely difficult parkour obstacles that require them to be in ideal physical fitness. Therefore, this sparked a revolution of ‘ninja gyms’ and the idea that we are very powerful as individuals.

The existential outcome of practicing calisthenics is that you can hold yourself horizontal to the ground and probably impress everyone you know. Many people do not practice the more intense form of exercise for the looks, but because it is extremely beneficial for your body to be able to manage its own weight before moving on to others. It is essentially the foundation for other forms of strength training.

Flexibility, Strength, and Mobility

However, people see massive benefits from practicing calisthenics to increase their flexibility, strength, and mobility. Using gravity and angles to increase the difficulty of exercises mitigates the issue of plateauing. With that said, it’s all about creativity! Of course, weights can be added to the calisthenic movements.

There are thousands of exercise movements that you can do without weight. Just check out our exercise list and filter on “None” for equipment and you will see 100s of different exercises that don’t require equipment.

One thing that can set your calisthenics gym apart from others, is adding a technology component. Fitness software can help you quickly plan fitness programs for all your clients and manage your gym. It can also automatically track their strength, flexibility, and mobility over time. It can also allow you to create leaderboards on various metrics so that clients can stay motivated and engaged at your gym.

Types of Calisthenics Gym Equipment

The equipment required is relatively basic and inexpensive. As opposed to the costs of buying multiple squat racks, machines, and weight sets, this equipment is simple and can be affordable.

Calisthenics gyms do not have to be an expensive endeavor in terms of equipment. Seeing as this form of exercise focuses on body weight. All you need to get your gym started is a few sturdy poles. Another option for unique equipment is websites that sell ninja gym equipment.


Many small pieces of equipment change the intensity of bodyweight exercises and parallettes work well to manipulate many different exercises. Specifically, exercises that use parallettes are pushups, planks, planches, handstands, L-sits, and other exercises that focus on the core. Using parallettes can make for a full workout of the upper body.

Gymnastics Rings

Gymnastics rings are the end all be all of calisthenics exercises. With their versatility, your members can achieve a wide range of workouts using rings. Additionally, they can even replace the use of parallettes because of their ability to change in height.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are an absolute must for gyms of any kind. Regarding bodyweight, these are the best tools for adding difficulty and challenge in any plane of motion. Further, they are also helpful to keep around to assist members who have not quite worked up to a regular pull-up.

Plyo Boxes

Plyo boxes are great to have to throw a bit of change into the other calisthenics workouts. Of course, plyometrics and calisthenics are not the same, but they exist for the same goal of using only your body to increase specific skills. Importantly, calisthenics lays the basis for the powerful moves completed in plyometrics like jumps and other high-energy movements.

Power Towers

Power towers are the cheapest all-around tool to equip calisthenics gyms with. Additionally, there are over a dozen different exercises a person can do on a power tower. With certain towers, you can add attachments for things like battle ropes and suspension kits.

Stall Bars

Stall bars can make for a versatile piece of calisthenics equipment that caters to a wide range of different exercises. Additionally, these exercises are similar to ones that a person can complete on a power tower. However, this is an adjustable piece of equipment to work for many different heights and resistance buildings.


It’s good to have some weights handy to include compound exercises in your member’s workout routines. Specifically, ideal weights are vests and ankle weights because they are minimal but add just enough resistance for those heavy-hitting clients.

Pull Up and Monkey Bars

Can’t leave out the end all be all – pull up bars. You need different heights for pull-up bars, so consider purchasing something like the Dirty South Bar from Rouge.

Additionally, monkey bars make for another important calisthenics tool! For instance, these are great for core strength and grip strength. You can find multi-functional sets with monkey bars and places for needed attachments from Rogue. Sets like the one below are the best value for their versatility. Thus, if you want to house some weights, then you can attach racks to hold plates and bars. With this, you can attach multiple dip bars, pull-up bars, bench and squat racks, and more.

Calisthenics Certifications

Certifications for calisthenics are few and far between. However, here are a few to consider when thinking about the standards you want yourself and your trainers to follow. Additionally, some certifications are not as comprehensive as others in terms of their coverage of diet and anatomy.

  • In previous blogs, we have covered the importance and difference in specific certifications like the ISSA certification. ISSA certifications can cover everything you need to know about calisthenics, as well as all other knowledge you need to become a certified personal trainer. Additionally, this globally recognized certification makes for a standard of excellence among trainers you wish to hire for your gym.
  • The World Street Workout and Calisthenics Federation (WSWCF) offers online certifications for individual trainers or gym and park specializations. As a gym owner, it’s important to consider the gym and park certification. This certification is created by seasoned professionals to ensure the safe use of equipment and form for calisthenics exercises. Additionally, this is the only certification that is administered by the authority of street workout as a sport. Finally, it is well-revered for being developed by leading practitioners but is not globally recognized.
  • Calisthenics UK is the leading administer of calisthenics certifications in the UK. It’s taught by some well-known professionals in the field and is great for getting familiar with all things calisthenics.
  • Certifications from Calisthenics Certifications come in three tiers. Level one is the foundations and level three is esteemed as mastery of calisthenics. The only downside to this certifying body is it exclusively covers exercises and nothing else. With other certifications like ACE, you will ensure that your trainers are well-rounded and extremely knowledgeable on all things physical fitness.


To wrap up, we have now outlined the basics of what to expect from a calisthenics gym, and compared to many others, it is a relatively low-cost endeavor. How much you spend will depend on how creative you are with your equipment.

Of course, becoming certified and hiring well-certified trainers will aid in the success of your gym and generate good responses from your clients. Specifically, calisthenics and overall street workouts are all about making the most out of the space you are given. The core value is to focus on your body and the space around you to maximize your mobility, agility, strength, and flow.

Give street workouts a try for yourself and see how opening a gym could benefit you and your community!

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