Parallettes are my favourite piece of fitness equipment for building strength & training using my body weight.
A quality set of Parallette bars will add variety to your home fitness training and can push your workout & calisthenics (body weight exercise) progression to the next level.
Get strong fast, learn callisthenics (body weight exercises ) and practice gymnastics skills.
I’m going to compare the best parallettes I could find, review my favourite set of parallette bars that are for sale and suggest alternatives.
Best Parallette bars – Comparison Table
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Parallette bars – Comparison Table
- 2 Top choice Parallettes for home calisthenics & gymnastics training – Vita Vibe Parallettes
- 3 Alternative choice parallette bars
- 4 Benefits & Things to consider when using Parallettes for bodyweight training.
- 5 FAQ
- 6 Conclusion – Greatest advantages of parallettes
Top choice Parallettes for home calisthenics & gymnastics training – Vita Vibe Parallettes
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The Vita Vibe wooden parallette bars shown above are my favourite set for a number of reasons. I would recommend these above my other choices in the comparison table because the ash wood is so comfortable and smooth to grip onto and the shade of wood looks clean and impressive. These Vita Vibe parallettes can hold over 250lbs and the frame stays stable so you can really feel it won’t budge when you are supporting your weight and finding the point of balance by adjusting your body weight in different directions.
The metal base has sturdy rubber pads underneath so the bars don’t slip and slide on hard surfaces. I also like the design of the triangular shaped main frame. Assembly of the bars is easy with the included screws and everything you need to quickly fasten the wooden bar sections onto the metal frame bases. One downside to these bars, however is the position of the screw head on the top, maybe i’m being a little picky but
Paralletes are awesome because unlike the gymnastics parallel bars you can position them perfectly so they sit directly below your shoulder and arm line, aligned to your own shoulder width. Keeping your alignment correct during body weight exercises and gymnastics training is important. Being able to choose the distance allows you to move the bars wider if you want to sink your bottom and legs lower down than your hand position.
Parallette Bar Dimensions & Ground Clearance
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The Vita Vibe wooden bars are 10″ high. In my experience 10″ ground clearance works well for any deep exercises like handstand push ups and dips where you need to drop some of your body down below the bar height. When you start to use parallette bars that are much higher than this you lose some stability and I think it is much more realistic to work down as close to the ground as possible while still being able to dip a little.
The diameter of parallettes is important because if you can’t comfortably grip onto the bar it will be much more difficult to perform gymnastics or callisthenics exercises on them. Vita Vibe’s wooden parallettes have a 1.5 inch diameter which works out at just over 38mm.
Vita Vibe offer a choice of 18″ or 24″ long bars. The 24″ bars are shown in the image above and it is better to choose them so you have more room to work with and grip onto making hand position adjustments more comfortable.
How the bars feel to grip onto & use for bodyweight training
The hardwood ash bars look great but how they feel to hold onto is much more important. One of the main reasons I have chosen these parallettes is because the wood has been sanded down to create a really smooth surface that is comfortable to grip onto and place your hands on with a lot of pressure while practising body weight training exercises.
In my experience wooden bars like these perform better than metal or plastics bars when your hands start to sweat because the wooden surface has better non-slip qualities.
Alternative choice parallette bars
Here are some of the best parallettes for sale that offer something different compared to the Vita Vibe parallettes.
Lebert Fitness Parallettes
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Lebert fitness are a well known brand that create workout tools for the fitness industry. Lebert fitness parallette bars are made of stainless steel that is coated in either a bright yellow or shiny chrome colour tone that stand out and compliments the T shaped supports. I prefer the yellow colour even though it is bold. I think the long legs and rubber grips stick firmly onto the floor and don’t slip and slide even if you are a wobbly beginner in callisthenics, but don’t stick onto the ground quite as firmly as the Vita Vibe bars above.
The height of the bars can be adjusted using the screws and this allows you to raise or drop the bar height by around 1″. The standard height is set at 12″ high and each bar is 25″ long with 13.4″ of that a black grip section that is non slip and made of what seems to be a heavy duty material.
The Lebert parallettes are a great alternative choice if you prefer some shiny metal bars that are very comfortable to grip onto. With the grip being a little softer than the Vita Vibe wooden bars above, you might need to make a few minor adjustments to get used to the feel when changing from wood to metal parallette bars.
Xtek Gym XL Parallette Bars
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If you are looking for some large heavy duty bars for your upper body workouts then the Xtek gym XL bars are big and strong. Choose these if you are looking to build strength because they are great for the v-sit, pushups, the tuck and ab workouts. The metal bars are 19″ long and 14.5″ high and are built using 2mm thick gauge steel so will easily support your body weight and won’t budge during use. Gripping onto the bar is less comfortable than the Lerbert and Vita Vibe but the diameter and rounded shape is easy to wrap your fingers around.
Benefits & Things to consider when using Parallettes for bodyweight training.
Here are some of the benefits and things you should consider before using parallettes for body weight training. When comparing parallettes to using the floor for body weight exercise there are a number of differences. You need to find the right balance between floor and parallette bars for your gymnastics and callisthenics training exercises.
- How they affect your wrists – I’ve recently been training my handstand. During handstand training you really need to spend a lot of time warming up, stretching and gradually building up your wrist strength and flexibility over time as well as working on alignment, core and shoulder strength and stability. Taking your whole body weight directly onto your wrists when you learn hand balancing skills can put a lot of pressure on your wrists. Once I found the point of balance with my handstand the pressure on my wrists reduced but their were many days when I couldn’t train due to wrist pains. Using parallettes can help take the pressure off your wrists and place it onto your hands and fingers in a different direction. Alternating between using parallete bars and the floor to train helped me find a nice balance and allowed my wrists to rest and recover more easily. Be aware that if you are doing a lot of pull up’s or weightlifting that involves gripping dumbbell bars that also using a parallete bar can strain your grip so be careful to not grip too tightly.
- Different point of Balance – learning to balance on these home parallette bars is quite different from hand balancing on the floor where you are constantly adjusting your weight across your hands from the palm of your hand to your finger tips with very slight movements. Holding up and balancing your body weight on parallettes is easier in some ways because you adjust the balance with your grip which means that you can shift your position using your straight arms and tighten and loosen your grip to stay upright. Switching between the floor and the bar can take some practice but both are beneficial for training even if successful hand balancing skills on the parallettes doesn’t transfer directly over to increased floor hand balancing skills.
- Dip Down Deeper If you often do l-sits or handstand pushups then using parallette bars allows you to drop your body down below what would be ground level if you were working on the floor directly. Being able to support your bodyweight and push it up from lower down can help improve muscle strength significantly and also help with flexibility. Be sure to increase the distance you dip down below the bar gradually so you don’t strain your muscles.
What are parallette bars?
Parellette bars are a piece of exercise equipment made up of two parallel bars sitting on a frame raised up a short distance from the floor. Most often parallettes are used for calisthenics and strength and conditioning workouts but gymnasts also train using them.
How to use parallette bars
How you use Parallette bars depends on the exercise you are performing. It is important to learn how to do each exercise correctly, so follow guidance and watch videos to make sure you are aligning your arms and shoulders correctly.
If you want to build muscle strength, improve core stability and learn to balance your body weight in calisthenics training then you’ll find a tonne of great exercises to practice on paralletes including the L-sit, parallette dips, handstands, push ups and other hand balancing progressions.
Video showing how to use parallette bars
I really like the simple exercises in this video. Most of the exercises are for beginners but some of the more difficult ones show you the kind of more advanced body weight exercises you can work towards being able to perform with a little practice and after building up some more strength and coordination.
Conclusion – Greatest advantages of parallettes
Whether you are practising callisthenics to try and improve your strength or to learn specific skills that compliment gymnastics or other progress body-weight focused training you’ll find parallette bars are a fitness tool that allow you to practice heaps of different exercises and after Stall bars they are my second favourite body weight exercise tool.
For me personally with my handstand and hand balancing training I mostly use handstand blocks or the floor and a nearby wall to help me work through a regular set of exercises that build strength and improve balance. Sometimes parallette bars come in useful when my wrist is particularly sore but I still want to try and build up my strength. Using the bars rather than the floor allows me to apply my body weight pressure on different muscles and away from the section of my wrist that hurts.
Choosing which set of parallette bars to buy is difficult because there are a lot of quality products available but I am more than happy with the bars I have recommended above and I am sure you will be too, just take a look at each bar’s height, width, how much weight it supports and whether it is easy to transport or not and you’ll be able to find a bar that works best for your hand size and training plan