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Parallettes may not look the part, but these low-lying bars that simulate the larger parallel bars that gymnasts use to build strength and flexibility are amazing fitness tools.
While parallettes resemble the ubiquitous pushup bars that some people use to improve their grip and add a bit more challenge to their pushup workouts, these portable dynamos of fitness are anything but.
You can parallettes if you are interested in building your core strength and making your upper body ripped and stronger than ever.
Because parallettes place the resistance on your shoulders, arms, upper body and core muscles, your fitness level will be tested sorely, and you get a better idea of how strong you really are.
How do you hold parallettes?
Developing the right grip is essential to using parallettes. Start by placing your thumbs on top of each bar. Your thumbs should face forward, with the side of your palm (the fleshy part) making immediate contact with the surface of the bars.
Wrap your fingers around the parallettes, making sure that you have a nice, strong grip for support later on.
Your wrist should be neutral, and your forearms, shoulders, should feel the resistance immediately and all associated muscles.
Your wrist should not be doing any heavy lifting or rotating. Do not bend your wrist either, either inward or outward. Doing so may result in injury.
How far should the parallettes be?
There are three orientations for the distance of the parallettes to each other. The first one is narrow, which is roughly the length from the tip of your elbow to your wrist.
This is considered the beginner’s width because the closer your arms are to each other, the more stable you will be when performing movements.
However, we recommend that you try the medium distance (from the tip of your elbow to the end of your closed fist) to give your body a good workout.
If both distances no longer challenge you, then what you can do is try the farthest distance, which is equivalent to the distance from the tip of your elbow to the end of your fingertips.
Experimenting with the distances can also reduce fatigue as sometimes the distance between the bars can have an effect on some muscle groups when performing movements.
How high should your parallettes be?
There is no single, right answer to this question because this would really depend on three factors: the preference of the person using the parallettes, his general fitness level, and his ability to balance.
Generally speaking, setting the parallettes higher can make movements easier to perform, but the ability to balance will be slightly impacted.
On the flipside, setting the parallettes lower will make balancing much easier, but the performing a variety of movements can be more challenging.
Again, we suggest that you try different configurations with both the distance and the height to make sure that you have optimum form when performing exercises.
Which type of parallettes is better for beginners?
Many experts recommend wooden p-bars because they’re lightweight and fairly sturdy, but there are also metal parallettes and plastic ones.
If you have used similar implements like p-bars before, you can base your decision to purchase from that. But all in all, they offer the same type of functionality and there’s really no ‘superior’ material for parallettes. What matters more is what you do with the p-bars while working out.
What Are parallettes Exercises?
Individuals who are serious about getting strong know that bodyweight exercises are a crucial part of their training.
Bodyweight exercises are extremely dynamic and recruit so many muscle groups at once, because the body hast o remain in equilibrium throughout the movement.
Compared to more classical movements that involve weights, you will be able to engage the whole body, not just the main muscle groups that you want to work out for that day. Below are some great workouts that you can try with a pair of p-bars today.
Dips focus on working out the triceps, and you will be using your body’s own weight to put pressure on your triceps. Begin this movement by sitting between the parallettes bars.
Grip the bars and lock out your elbows, so your hips are parallel to the ground, and your triceps are getting a good strain from holding your body upright.
Complete one repetition of this movement by slowly dipping your hip and slightly bending your elbow, all the while keeping your arms close to your ribcage. Breathe out when you dip down, and breathe in when you elevate your body again. For a more challenging workout, place your feet on a low bench or coffee table for added resistance.
Doing the push-up with parallettes bars is challenging because the elevation is beyond what normal pushups require, and you are instantly in an advanced front plank position when you begin the movement.
Make sure that your legs are straight, with your feet neutral and simply keeping your body aligned with the ground. Lockout your elbows at the beginning of the movement and slowly bend upward as you lower your chest.
The elbow should move back and upward, and not flare out. The hips must remain stable and straight throughout the movement.
If you need a more challenging workout, lower your chest to below the p-bars and slowly go back up. There is no need for fast o explosive movement when use parallettes. Slow, controlled movements are all you need to get the job done.
3. The L-Sit
The L-sit is probably the most recognizable of workouts associated with gymnastics. Unlike the dips, the requirement for this workout is to hold the position for a few seconds before relaxing. Start the L-sit by sitting between the parallettes.
Grips the bars and lockout your elbows, raising your entire lower body off the ground. Raise your legs and point your feet. Breathe out and just enjoy the movement.
After a few seconds, gradually lower yourself and get ready for the next repetition. To make this workout more challenging, each successive repetition can be held for a few seconds longer than the previous repetition.
Parallettes exercises are among the most challenging in the world of body weight exercises, and if you haven’t been doing body weight exercises that much, you’d be surprised at how much pain and strength a pair of innocent looking floor bars can bring to the table.
Now we know that you are interested in knowing what the best parallettes bars are, and we also know that it can get confusing since there are so many in the market today.
So we are basing our recommendations on special features or advantages that we think would be helpful for certain kinds of fitness enthusiasts/users.
So in essence, you can use just about any parallettes bars for your exercise needs, but once you get right down to it and you start using the bars more frequently, your choice of bars will become more specific, because certain bars bring different things to the table, as we would be discussing below.
Ultimate Body Press Parallettes XL Push Up Stands
The XL Push Up Stands are huge at 12” x 24”, and these are better suited for people who need more clearance and height while exercising. The extended clearance may arise because the user is bigger or taller, or just because his frame requires more clearance than the average.
The T-bar design is also perfect for people who are into crossfit and other high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
Each parallette bar is also outfitted with two pairs of rubber skid guards, so you won’t have to worry about slipping while performing a movement. Highly recommended for fitness centers and home gyms that require heavy duty paralettes bars.
Lebert Fitness Parallettes Push Up Dip Stand
The Lebert Fitness Parallettes are made of stainless steel, so you can expect them to be tough as nails but also lightweight. If you have a high body mass and would like something that won’t bend even during the most intense workouts, then pick stainless steel parallettes. Stainless steel parallettes will also easily resist sweat stains, and they look pretty nice in home gyms.
The Lebert Fitness Parallettes measure 12” x 25” (slightly wider than the previous model we reviewed) and have enough clearance for all types of movement, not just the staple ones like dips, push-ups, L-sits, and different kinds of stretches.
These parallettes have a T-leg width of 16”, a grip width of 13”, and they’re perfect for travelling. You will get two Frank Medrano Signature Series Lebert Parallettes Bars in Chrome, and a FREE PDF Workout Program with Frank Medrano, too.
Garage Fit Steel Paralettes
Enter Garage Fit Steel Parallettes, which have been redesigned so they will not suddenly snap during the most strenuous of exercise. These bars are categorized as being extra heavy duty, and they are double welded at the joints so they don’t break apart while you are trying your best to get those movements right.
These bars are made from stainless steel and are painted with rust-resistant paint to improve its aesthetics and to prevent the look from ever weathering.
Take note that these are low paralettes bars (12” x 12”), and they are suitable for beginners and novice users.
Expert users who want more vertical clearance may want to look at the first two bars we reviewed (Lebert and Ultimate Body). But nonetheless, this is an excellent deal for people who have a tendency to snap metal at the joints.
Tumble Trak Portable Parallette Bars
They’re cute, they look like Lego bricks, and yes, they are fully functional Tumble Trak Portable Parallette Bars. What made Tumbl Trak stand out for us was the design and craftsmanship of these parallette bars, which are meant for people who may not always have the time or opportunity to train in a gym.
They’ve made parallettes bars as portable as possible, with a sturdy aluminum core and a durable polymer lining to protect your hands from the metal. These bars are also backed by 30+ years of manufacturer’s expertise, and they are committed to athletes around the world.
Vita Vibe Wood Parallettes
Some people just like working and holding wood, and they provide a different tactile experience, which may help enhance your performance while working out. If you have been looking for reliable wooden paralletttes, we recommend Vita Vibe, which is offering a pair of 24” long parallette bars.
These wooden parallettes are manufactured from natural hardwood (ash bar), which has been sanded to perfection for the smoothest and most comfortable grip.
Don’t fear while using these bars as they can support up to 250 pounds easily, and they are one of the toughest wooden bars around. The rubber feet on the supports are also non-marring, so you can safely use these bars on any surface. All Vita Vibe Wood Parallettes come with a 10 year warranty, and these bars are manufactured in the USA.
Ultra Fitness Gear Parallettes
If you need 18” parallettes made of wood, there’s Ultra Fitness. These lightweight, portable bars are perfect for travelling, and are non-slip, too. Perfect for folks who don’t need a lot of clearance to perform different exercises, and also ideal for people who are just learning how to use parallettes bars.
Ultra Fitness Gear Parallettes have also been tested to withstand up to 400 pounds, and they are designed in such a way that they will not fall apart regardless of the intensity or type of the movement being performed.
This is extremely important for people who are just getting used to moving with paralettes bars as beginners tend to exert excessive pressure on one bar while trying to balance. Ultra Fitness bars are given a company warranty of up to one year after purchase.
DIY Parallette Bars
If you have some talent with carpentry, you can definitely make your own parallettes bars at home. Just make sure that you use the sturdiest wood you can find (tip: pick hardwoods) and make sure that the joints are properly fused so they don’t break apart while you are performing a movement.