Parallettes, which are basically mini versions of the parallel bars used in gymnastics, are great tools for improving strength and coordination throughout the body.
They’re also quite popular for home fitness enthusiasts because they don’t take up a lot of room, yet they pack a big punch when it comes to functionality. With that said, there’s a lot of confusion about which parallettes are best, where to buy them, and whether they can be made at home.
In this guide, we’ll give you 3 great parallettes options. Read through the instructions and choose the option that works best for your needs and your budget.
The Best Parallettes Options
There are many options on the market, and you may find something that fits what you want better than what we describe below. But, we’ve found these to provide the best combination of being comfortable on the hands, economical, and secure out of many other options.
In this video, you can see a quick preview of how each of these types of parallettes is assembled, then scroll down for a more complete description of materials needed along with assembly instructions.
Now let’s take a look at what you’ll need to do to get the parallettes you want.
Parallettes Option #1 – PVC P-bars (The “Hyundai” Option)
Jarlo put this pair together a couple years ago when he was looking for something sturdy but relatively easy and cheap to assemble.
The Materials You’ll Need for One Pair of Parallettes:
- About 12 feet of PVC pipe (Jarlo used 1.25” diameter piping)
- 4 T-joints
- 4 Elbow Joints
- 8 Caps
- PVC glue/cement (optional)
Total cost: Around $20-30.
Assembling the PVC Parallettes:
- Measure out 6-8 inches of PVC pipe, then measure out a second handle so that the handles are the same length.
- Next, measure out 4-6 inches of pipe, and repeat until you have 4 supports of the same length.
- If you are using glue, prep the pieces a couple at time before you piece them together.
- Attach the elbow joints to the end of your handles, and then the support portions to the other end of the elbow joint.
- The T joint goes on the other side of the support portion, and then you’ll attach the bracing pipes and finally,
the end caps.
- You can use a mallet/hammer to pound these in well, or just bang them on the ground a bit until they feel secure.
In the video, you’ll see Jarlo’s using a reciprocating saw to cut the PVC. You could easily use a handsaw as well, but if you’ve got power tools, so much the better. Whatever you do, just don’t do anything dangerous and lose a finger, please.
And voila! You now have a shiny new, solid, and quite cheap pair of PVC parallettes.
You’ll notice we gave a range of measurements to choose from in the instructions. This is because you can use varying heights for the support portions to create different parallette sizes. The lower the parallettes, the more difficult the exercises will be as you’ll notice immediately in the effort of your arms and core. Size your parallettes according to your current abilities.
Parallettes Option #2 – DIY Wooden P-bars (The “Cadillac” Option)
While Jarlo’s PVC parallettes get the job done, and for a great price at that, they’re certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing option.
That’s why Andy designed this pair of durable wooden parallettes.
The Materials You’ll Need for One Pair of Parallettes:
- 4 feet of 1.5” wooden dowel. Make sure you measure this because hardware stores aren’t always precise.
- 4 feet of 2×6 wooden plank
- 4 feet of 1 5/8” copper pipe. This is enough for several height adjustments.
- 1 5/8” copper T-joints
- 1 5/8” copper couplings
- 4 brass screws
- Drill press with 1 5/8” forester bit (optional)
- Pipe cutter (optional)
Total cost: Around $80-100.
Assembling the Wooden Parallettes:
- Cut the dowel and sand around the ends.
- Measure and drill guide holes centered about 3 inches from the end of the bases. With the drill press and forstner bit, open these holes up 1-inch deep.
- Cut four pieces of pipe 3” long. Insert into the holes you just drilled into the bases and secure with epoxy.
- Cut eight 1-inch pieces of pipe and secure them into the ends of the T-joints with epoxy.
- Drill and countersink holes through the tops of the T-joints. You’ll screw into these to secure the dowels.
- Place the T-joints on the pipe epoxied into the bases. Run the dowel through the T-joints and screw into place.
- This will put your base about 5-6 inches off the ground. Figure out the starting height you’d like to use and then subtract 5”. Cut four pieces of pipe to that length for your adjustment poles.
- Raise your p-bars by inserting the poles and couplings between the bases and bars.
This version is obviously more involved than the PVC design, but the extra work and cost will yield a really nice looking set of parallettes that are strong enough to handle just about anything you throw at them.
Parallettes Option #3 – Beautiful Custom P-bars (The “Rolls Royce” Option)
If the thought of building your own set of parallettes is the last thing you want to do with a free Sunday, there’s a really good option on the market that doesn’t require any tools or time – P-Barz from Core Strength Company.
These parallettes may be a pricier option, but for the level of quality and service, the price is absolutely fair.
Dusty, the owner of Core Strength Company, designed these parallettes to our specifications, and we’ve tested out every variation he sells, so we know these parallettes are of the highest quality.
The P-Barz do require some assembly, but they can be put together in just a couple minutes with the included allen key.
Why Parallettes Make a Great Addition to Your Training Repertoire
Parallettes are a great tool for building incredible upper body and core strength, and working on them requires just a floor and enough space that’s as tall as you are.
No need to hang anything or have 400 pounds of weights for your workout.
We’ve shown you 3 options here, two of which include making them for yourself, and one of which is the best production P-bar option on the market. Whichever one you choose, you’ll have a highly portable piece of equipment that can lead to the best gains you’ve ever had, all for a minor investment.
Pick the one that suits you best and get working on the parallettes!