How To Use Parallettes And Which One Should You Buy

If you are a person who is committed to calisthenics or fitness in general, there is a high chance you would probably have seen a video on Instagram or Facebook of a person who trains on parallettes bars. These bars are also known as P-bars have become lately very popular in home-gyms. Especially since all normal gyms are closed due to the coronavirus(at the time of making this article). A lot of have people took action and bought a pair of parallettes to keep their bodies in shape.

What are Parallettes?

What are parallettes or p-bars? Well, most people who will read this article will probably already know what they are. But, here is just a quick explanation:

The name parallettes bar is pretty self-explanatory, there are two bars parallel to each other. This piece of equipment is mostly used for people who practice gymnastics or calisthenics. A great tool to use if you want to build solid strength with your bodyweight. They are mostly quite small and compact, therefore great for home-training sessions.

With these p-bars, you can do very basic exercises like L-sits, but there is more to learn. On social media, there are many videos of athletes who can perform the most insane moves on these bars. Think about one-arm handstands, planches, and much more advanced strength and balance moves.

Diffrent kind of Parallettes

So P-bars are basically a lower version of the dips bars, but that is not it. There are many different variants of the parallettes. Think about the differences in height. You can choose between lower or higher variants of the parallettes. Or what about the differences in the material. They can be made of metal or wood. Each option has its benefits, and you should buy the pair you want depending on your own personal preferences.

High or low?

I own and train most of the time with the higher parallettes. But, I do train sometimes on the lower variant. What I noticed was that the lower p-bars are more for pushups and also planche training. But my personal preference goes to the higher parallettes. This is because there is a wider variety of exercises to practice, and it also allows you to perform the exercise in a greater range of motion. Because you are not too close to the ground, you can train deep-handstand pushups, deeper pushups, and other calisthenics exercises that require you to be at least a few inches off the ground.

Metal or wood?

Parallettes bars are not only made of wood or metal. However, they are the most common. Again, it is your personal preference to choose what you like. There are some minor factors to help you make your choice. For example, metal parallettes are not likely to break as fast as the ones made of wood. However, what I noticed is that if you have sweaty hands, you will likely have more grip, if you got the wood parallettes. But again, these are some little factors. In the end, it does not really matter that much.

Benefits when using parallettes

When you order a pair of P-bars, there will be many benefits that come along with them.

  • Workout diversity: this is the first advantage. When working out with parallettes bars, you will notice how useful they really are. There is so much you can train with this piece of equipment. I am talking about push workouts, static holds(planches and L/V-sits), balance work, mobility training, and if you are creative enough, much more!
  • Small and compact: the next benefit is something I also really like about this workout- tool. Like I said before, parallettes are quite small. This makes storage pretty easy if you want to save some space. It is also possible to take the parallettes with you when going on a trip(only possible when you have the lower variant p-bars). This way, you can workout everywhere every time.
  • Easier on the wrists: people who have experienced issues with their wrists, or beginners who have not developed much wrist flexibility and mobility. May notice that working on planches and handstands on the floor is not so pleasant. Parallettes are much easier on the wrists. They apply less pressure on the wrists than I if you would train on the floor.
  • Get a stronger core: in calisthenics, your mid-section is almost in every exercise involved. The same goes for when working on parallettes. Every move you do or hold, you engage your core. This is beneficial because having a strong core is essential in calisthenics.

Best calisthenics exercises on parallettes

Like I said before, the parallettes bars do have so many uses ranging from push workouts to skill work and mobility training. Here I made a list of the best exercises to do on parallettes progressing from beginner to advanced.

Beginner exercises

  • Push-ups (different grips), push-ups in normal grip, close and wide grip, but you can also do other variations like decline or incline pushups.
  • L-sit, in this position it is intended to hold a dip position with straight arms and keep your legs straight in front of you. Your body is shaped like an L.
  • Frog stand, try and hold the position that is shown on the picture. this move is more of a balance move rather than a strength move. This skill will prepare you for the handstand and 
  • Pike pushups, This is an easier version of the handstand push-ups. With this exercise, you imitate a handstand push up while your feet stay on the ground. Great for developing shoulder strength to eventually evolve to the real handstand push-ups
  • Bench dips, normal dips are not performable on parallettes, however, bench dips are. It is possible to one parallettes(High) as your “bench”. 
  • Tuck planche, Probably the hardest move in this beginners list. The purpose of this move is to hold yourself off the ground with straight arms, just like how it is shown in the picture.

Intermediate

  • Handstand, this one is also very straight forward. Requires decent balance and basic shoulder strength. Try and hold the handstands as long as possible on the parallettes bars.
  • tuck planche pushups, This exercise is basically doing push-ups while maintaining a tuck planche position. 
  • L-sit to handstand, In this exercise you start in an L-sit position and you got to a handstand. You can do this exercise with straight arms or bent arms. However, with straight arms, it is much harder.

Advanced

  • Handstand push-ups, This one is really straightforward. You practically do push-ups while maintaining a handstand position
  • Straddle/full planche, This is one of the hardest moves in calisthenics. If you can hold this skill for a couple of seconds you can call yourself a real calishtenics pro. In this skill, you want to lean forward until your legs come off the ground. Try and maintain this positioning for as long as possible. This move can take years to learn and it is therefore one of the hardest skills out there. You are required to have a whole lot of shoulder and core strength.
  • 90-degree pushups, In this exercise it is the purpose to go from a handstand to a 90-degree hold(bent arm planche) and back to a handstand. In order to perform this movement, you need to have a solid balance and a decent amount of strength.
  • V-sit, this is the advanced version of the v-sit. it requires more strength and much more flexibility. Your body is now shaped like a v.
  • Full/straddle planche pushups, These are the famous no-feet pushups. This is the hardest push movement out there. You need enough strength to lift your body completely off the ground and start doing push-ups. this exercise requires insane core and shoulder strength.

Buying recommendations

In the past paragraphs of this, we spoke about all the benefits of using parallettes and what are some of the best exercises to do with them. In this paragraph, we are about to take a look at some of the parallettes I would choose if I need to buy a pair of P-bars. 

I made a list of some of the best parallettes (in my opinion). We will take a look at all the pros and cons of each one of them. A comparison of price, the size of the p-bars, the material, etc. To make your choosing progress a little bit easier. Let’s start!

Pull up and dip Parallettes

10% off with our code: CWW10

Available at

pullup-dip.com

Pullup and dip, the German and one of the best calisthenics equipment suppliers out there. They provide many good quality calisthenics products. With parallettes among them. They have two types to choose from the higher variant and a lower variant. Both with anti-slip pads at the bottom of each pair and a special ergonomic handgrip. A special grip for more joint-friendlier training.

With a very stable design made out of metal and wood. Pullup and dip offers this same design in two different versions. The lower variant, which is lighter/smaller and therefore better for traveling. And, the higher version, this one allows you to do more kinds of exercises than the lower ones. So, you have a choice, Higher or the lower parallettes. If you do not travel a lot and stay more at home. Then would I suggest you order the higher p-bars. 

Product info (higher)

  • Dimensions: 50 x 25 x 30 cm (19 x 9.8 x 11.8 inches) (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 5,8 kg (12.8 lbs)

Product info (lower)

  • Dimensions: 50 x 14 x 10 cm (19 x 5.5 x 4 inches) (L x W x H)
  • Weight: 2,2 kg (4.8 lbs)

Pros

  • Very good quality
  • Anti-slip pads
  • Special grip

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not for traveling(only if you order the high variant)

Lebert Fitness Parallettes Push Up Dip Stand

The next P-bars on the list made by lebert, a well-known fitness equipment supplier. Including with a signature from the famous calishtenics athlete Frank Medrano. The parallettes itself comes in a shiny chrome color to make you stand out from anybody else. Some great other traits these P-bars have is the anti-slip pads at the bottom to guarantee the safety you want during your workouts. The other trait this piece of equipment has to be the weight. At around 5 pounds per bar makes this product itself one of the lightest out there and it still provides all the stability you would have with a much heavier parallettes bar. This allows you to practice every single exercise named in the exercises list.

Product info

  • Dimensions: 12″H x 25″L (Grip Width 13.5″ / T-Leg Width 16″)
  • Weight bar: 5lbs
  • Maximal weight capacity: 400lbs

Pros

  • Anti-slip pads attached at the bottom of the product.
  • Soft grip pads to make sure your hands will not slip while working out
  • Easy for storage because of the lightweight

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Too big for traveling, the dimensions are a little bit too big

Wood p-bars: PELLOR Push-up Stands

The last pair of parallettes bars on this list are the ones from Pellor. These parallettes are the only ones on this list made completely out of wood. Pellor wanted their product small and lightweight. This makes storage very easy. And because they are so small, it makes it easy to take them with you when going on a trip. This way you can always workout no matter where you are. The special design and equipped with added anti-slip pads makes it sure you will have all the safety you need while working out. Due to the low design, you will not be able to do some of the dynamic exercises like tuck planch push-ups for instance, but luckily there are enough exercises you CAN do.

Product info:

  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 3.9 x 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 3.9 lbs

Pros

  • Easy to store or take with you on trips
  • Very stable
  • anti-slip pads

Cons

  • you will not be able to do certain exercises

Conclusion

In this post, we discussed every point you need to know about parallettes. We talked about different kinds of P-bars. But also, the different exercises you can do with this piece of equipment. At last, we discussed what are some of the best buying options were, in my opinion. We took a look at all the different pros and cons of each product. To help you choose if you want to purchase a set of parallettes.