Parallettes, or p-bars as they are sometimes called, are a great tool for calisthenics or if you’re looking to add something new to your workout routine. The unique design and durability of parallettes allow for a wide variety of workouts, while also providing support for your wrists and hands, ensuring a safer workout. There are several different sizes and materials when it comes to p-bars, so we put together the list of the best parallettes to help you find the perfect set.
Benefits of Parallette Bars
Parallette bars are great for both beginners and experienced users. They are a fantastic addition to any strength and muscle building routine, allowing for deep stretches and a full range of motion in several key areas.
Build Upper Body and Core Strength
Parallette bar exercises utilize your body weight with each movement which helps build tremendous upper body and core strength. Through various movements, you can target your chest, shoulders, back, arms, legs, and core. The strength gained in parallette work can translate to bigger lifts on things like bench press and shoulder press as well.
Easier on the Wrists
If you have loose ligaments in your wrists or feel any kind of pain when doing push-ups or floor work, you might want to consider parallette bars. Offering superior hand control, you can focus more on muscle mind connection with each movement, versus the constant pain in your hands and wrists.
A wrist injury can keep you sidelined for a long time which can prevent continued meaningful progress in your fitness goals. This is definitely not a fun position to be in.
Choosing the Right Parallette Bars
There are a few different options when it comes to parallette bars, each with its own unique features and benefits.
Parallette bars come in a variety of heights, some being closer to the ground, while others being taller. The most important thing to consider when buying a pair of parallette bars is what type of work you intend to focus on during use.
High Parallette Bars
Because you’re higher off the ground, high parallette bars make it a little easier to perform front to back movements (and vice versa). There’s more room between you and the floor to perform something like a handstand to an L-sit for example. At the same time, the distance between your hand placement and the floor allows you to get a lower dip on various push movements. This will help in hitting areas of your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
If you’re new to parallette bars, it might be best to start with a pair higher off the ground, like 12 inches for example.
Low Parallette Bars
Parallette bars lower to the ground are better for building a stronger core. They will also help give you more of a natural pushup motion while easing the tension on your wrists with your hands being slightly elevated. Low parallette bars can also make it feel a little safer to get into things like handstands as you can focus more on getting your body balanced correctly over your arms.
The length of the parallette bars that you choose really depends on personal preference and how you intend to use them. Because your hands remain stationary, you can do almost every exercise with a pair of parallette bars, regardless of length.
The only issue you may face is with a longer wooden pair of bars as the support in the middle might not be as sturdy as other options. If the set is well made then you shouldn’t have a problem, but still, something to consider.
Parallette bars can be made from a variety of different materials like wood or metal. It really comes down to personal preference, as long as they are sturdy.
On top of durability, you want to make sure the pair you buy comes with a solid grip. Most metal parallette bars will come with a padded grip, while wood parallette bars tend to build a better grip over time with more and more use. You can also use tape intended for things like tennis rackets to improve the grip if necessary.
People will often try to use things like dumbbells or kettlebells in place of parallette bars, but we definitely would not recommend this. While these are excellent pieces of equipment for other workouts, they are too unstable and can easily slip out from under you.
Parallette Bars Exercises
There are a ton of great exercises you can perform with a great set of parallette bars. We’ve included some great exercises below, but don’t let that limit you. Whether you’re using your bars for calisthenics or bodybuilding, keep adding more to give your parallette bar experience more variety.
You can focus on your upper body with a lot of push movements. This includes workouts like push-ups and dips. As discussed in the section on height, a slightly taller set of parallette bars will allow for deeper movements. This is great for targeting hard to reach muscles. You can also make your dips more challenging by elevating your feet with a chair or medicine ball.
Parallette bars are also great for targeting your core muscles. Exercises like mountain climbers, L-sits, V-sits, knee raises, and planks are incredible as you work towards a tighter stomach and core. Similar to push movements, elevating your legs with a medicine ball or workout bench can add more engagement with some of these routines.
Top 5 Parallette Bars
Below are our picks for the best parallette bars available.
Best Seller: Body Power PL1000 Parallettes
The Body Power PL1000 bars are a great option for both beginners and experts. The 12-inch height is perfect for performing a ton of great upper body and core workouts, while the 24-inch length allows for enough room to safely perform each routine.
With a max weight limit of 380 pounds, this set of parallette bars is heavy duty and built incredibly sturdy. They also come with four rubber grips per bar which helps prevent any slipping or sliding from underneath you. The Integrated Knurling Grip is great for getting the most natural bar feeling, but it can get a little difficult to use with added moisture.
It takes roughly 10 minutes to assemble the Body Power PL1000 bars, with a wrench included with the set.
You might want to consider something a little taller if you plan on doing more pass-throughs, but overall this is a great set that’s easy to assemble with durability to last you a long time.
- ALL LEVELS, ALL FITNESS: From rehabilitation exercises to HIIT plyo circuits to yoga...
- SMART AND INTUITIVE DESIGN: Integrated Knurling Grip Options (similar to barbells and free...
- Incredibly durable with a 380-pound max weight limit
- Great size for both beginners and experts
- Easy to assemble, with wrench included.
- The grip can get a little sweaty at times
Highly Rated: XTEK Gym XL Parallette Bars
Durability is one of the first things that comes to mind with these bars from XTEK Gym, as they are made with 2-millimeter thick gauge steel. For context, a lot of lifting racks are made out of the same material. These are a little taller than the Body Power PL1000 set at 14.5 inches. This should help with more pass-through movements, while also providing deeper movements with push-ups and dips. The 19-inch length is also plenty long enough for a full range of exercise options.
There are also four rubber caps on the bottom of each bar to make sure they stay in place throughout every movement, while the bars are covered in a matte powder coating to help with your grip.
This set of parallette bars also comes with a free downloadable e-book that offers a ton of great moves including things like handstands, tucks, push-ups, while also offering high-intensity interval routines to help burn fat.
- The Ultimate Home Exercise Equipment With Training E-book - Paralletes are versatile and...
- Multi Use & Versatile Calisthenics Equipment - These bars can be used for number of...
- 14.5-inch height is great for pass-throughs and deeper muscle targeting
- Sturdy with rubber feet and matte powder grips
- Downloadable e-book with a ton of great workout recommendations
- A bit pricier than other options
Best Value: Juperbsky Parallettes Set
This pair of parallette bars by Juperbsky are a great value, especially for how durable they are. With the ability to withstand up to whopping 2,200 pounds, these are perfect for a variety of exercises utilizing your entire body weight.
This set is only 5.5 inches, so they are a bit lower to the ground. This can make it a bit more challenging to do various transition moves like an L-sit to a handstand, but still offers a ton of great variety. The 12-inch length makes this set easy to store and incredibly portable at the same time. Similar to most models, the Juperbsky parallette bars come with four rubber paddings on each bar to prevent any movement.
These also come in five different colors: black, blue, pink, purple, and yellow. The grip is made from a soft and comfortable elevated padding. You won’t get as natural of a bar feeling as our Best Seller and Highly Rated picks, but still quite comfortable.
- Ideal for enhancing overall development of the upper body, especially for your chest,...
- Can be used as Parallettes for gymnastic training, like pushups, dips, v-sits and...
- Max weight is up to 2,200 pounds – incredibly durable
- Low set, great for building a strong core
- The smaller size makes it easy to move and store
- Padding isn’t as long if you have wider hands
Sleek Design: PACEARTH Wood Bars
This pair offers something a little different with a sleek wood design and a wide non-slip bottom base plate, which really helps keep everything in place. Marketed as push-up bars, the PACEEARTH Wood Bars can be used for a variety of workouts from push-ups to handstands. Made from shock-resistant wood, these can withstand up to 660 pounds and are incredibly durable and sturdy.
At only 4.1 inches tall, this is a great set of bars if you’re looking for something shorter, especially for working on your core. The 8-millimeter foam grip is also a nice addition to keep your hands and wrists comfortable through every movement.
One of the nicest things about this set from PACEARTH is they come already assembled. So if you’re looking for a set of bars that are great for building and toning your upper body and core, with use right out of the box, these are for you.
- 【Unique Non-slip Design】The pushups bars own a wide baseplate with non-slip mat to...
- 【Safe, Sturdy & Great Support】The push up stands are made of solid beech that has...
- Made from strong wood and with a max weight of 660 pounds
- Comfortable 8-millimeter rubber grip for maximum comfort
- No assembly required and can be used right out of the box
- A little heavier than other options
More Variety: ProsourceFit Ultimate Body Bar
This set of bars is easily the largest on our list at 31 inches tall and 24 inches long. What makes these unique is the amount of workout variety you’ll get. The bars are 31 inches tall by default, but you can adjust them up to 35 inches. This will allow you to have different heights on each bar if you’re doing any gymnastics work for example.
Another great benefit that comes with the taller height is the ability to do various routines under the bar as well. This can help target muscles in your back and biceps with more pulling motions.
Like the other options on our list, the ProsourceFit bars can hold up to 400 pounds, which is great for how tall they are. They are particularly great for dips as you can get a deep stretch while also developing a strong core. The padded bottoms will keep everything stationary, while the powder-coated handles will provide a great grip.
- Rubber feet help to prevent slipping, and a stabilizing safety connector extends length...
- Padded grips make it comfortable to build muscle without weights by performing dips,...
- Tall bars with adjustable height up to 35 inches
- More variety with workouts
- Safety attachment on bars to provide stability and longevity
- Takes a little longer to assemble at 15 to 20 minutes
The Best Parallette Bars for You
As you can see, there are a lot of great options on the market. If you’re not sure where to start, you definitely can’t go wrong with the Body Power PL1000 Parallettes. The height and length are perfect for both beginners and experts and will provide a ton of variety to your fitness routine. The durability and portability are fantastic with this option as well.
But at the end of the day the right option for you really comes down to your specific goals and needs, and you can’t go wrong with any of the parallette bars on our list.