Some time back I ran across a site devoted to various bodyweight exercises called Beast Skills. I’ve always been a big fan of any bodyweight type exercises (pullups, pushups, dips, chinups, etc.) and the tutorials on this site are incredible. Most of them are gymnastics related skills that require an incredible amount of strength and coordination.
One of the pieces of equipment that is used for improving various skills is the parallette. It is a small set of mini parallel bars that can be used for pushups, L-sits, planche moves, handstand pushups, and more. The set of parallettes demonstrated on that site are simple Do-It-Yourself models created out of PVC.
Today I set out to create my own set of parallettes so I could begin practicing various movements from the Beast Skills site. The cost to build a set of PVC parallettes is only about $20 and take 10-15 minutes to assemble.
I built mine out of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe and the pieces needed are:
- 10′ section of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe
- 4 T-joints
- 4 90 degree elbow joints
- 8 end caps (though I’m an idiot and only bought 4)
Here are 2 great tutorials about the actual build process though it is pretty self-explanatory.
I did not use cement to put mine together and it doesn’t look like it will even need it. Plus, no cement, means I can disassemble them for easy storage. I used 18″ pieces for the parallel portion of the parallettes and 6″ pieces for everything else. I will probably change it to use 12″ pieces for the vertical sections to get a bit further off the ground and be able to do L-sit dips. 6″ is a bit low for that. Other than that I’m very happy with how they turned out.
As far as exercise routines for the parallettes, American Gymnast has a set of workouts on their site here (requires free registration).
This is their recommended beginner training guide (though I think I need the remedial training program):
- Tuck Sit 3-5 sets of 10 seconds
- L-Sit 3-5 sets of 10 seconds
- Tuck Planche 3-5 sets of 10 seconds
- Straddle Press to Handstand Against Wall 2 sets of 3-5 reps
- Handstand Against Wall 2 sets of 30 seconds
- Handstand Pushups Against Wall 2 sets of 5-7 reps
- Push-ups 2 sets of 7-10 reps
- Handstand Forward 1/2 Pirouette 5-7 reps
Probably take me a year to get worked up to that level of fitness (especially pirouettes without killing my self) but it is a good start and a great way to build my core. If you have a free afternoon, put a set of these together and get to training.