Celtic Kane

What is a Parallette?

parallettes1 Parallettes are a gymnastics tool that simulate parallel bars — which are similar to dip bars. You can use a pair of parallettes to to wallstands, handstands, dips, ab exercises, and tons of other weird, gymnast stunts. The following tutorial explains the process of making your own parallettes. The entire process shouldn’t take more than an afternoon, and is quite inexpensive because it uses PVC pipe.

Required Tools and Equipment

  • PVC Pipe – about 6 feet, and a diameter that is comfortable in the palm (probably 1 inch or greater in diameter)
  • A hacksaw (for cutting the PVC)
  • [4] PVC T connectors
  • [4] PVC Elbow/90 degree joints
  • [8] PVC end caps

Here is a picture of all the required PVC pieces for ONE parallette (remember, you’ll need to double this to get two parallettes)


Building Instructions

The process of actually building the parallettes should be pretty simple based on the completed images. In the event that you would like step-by-step instructions, however, just follow the images below:

Step 1
Cut a piece of PVC pipe about a foot and a half in length, then attach the two elbow pieces.
Step 2
Cut two pieces of pipe about 4-6 inches in length and attach them into the other end of the elbow pieces.
Step 3
Attach two T joints.
Step 4
Cut four pieces of pipe about 3-5 inches in length and attach them to all the open ends of the T joint. This will serve as the base for your parallette to prevent it from falling over.
Step 5
Add four end caps to all open holes.
Step 6
Make sure all the pieces are held tightly together, you may glue them if you like. I didn’t glue them, and I would recommend that you don’t so that it can be disassembled. Set it upright and you’re ready to start exercises.

Now What?

Well…first off, you need to make another one. In terms of exercises, my favorite is to put the parallettes perpendicular to a wall, do a handstand on the parallettes, and support myself with the wall. If you’re really in shape or just really skinny, you might be able to do a vertical pushup — where you do a handstand, then go down like a pushup and back up. Of course you’ll need more exercises than this, so I’d definitely recommend checking out A Parallette Training Guide by American Gymnast. You might have to register for the guide — currently the registration is free. If you can get into the webpage, it’s got plenty of beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercises with pictures that will give you plenty of variety to this workout tool.