Best Parallettes & Handstand Bars for Gymnastics Skills
Lately, all I’ve seen parallettes being used for are L-holds. Forever a fan of handstands and press handstands, this makes me think that a lot of people underestimate the potential the best parallettes can have for abdominal gains.
Of course, things like size, height, and material type have a big influence on what can and can not be accomplished with this equipment.
Top Pick: Best Wooden Parallettes by Ultra Fitness Gear
Our core metrics in this review were material, size, versatility, and cost. Ultra Fitness Gear has the best wooden parallettes for body weight exercises and learning gymnastics skills.
Ultra Fitness Gear’s model is essentially learning to sink or swim with training wheels on, meaning it can reach a high intensity workout and skill development without jeopardizing your safety. Its three main areas of focus are why we were able to determine this pair as the best parallettes: portability, what it’s made of, and price. The short frame makes it easy to carry while minimizing counter balancing accidents since it is near impossible to tip over, and has non-slip rubber stoppers on the base of its legs adaptable for any surface.
Also Great: XL Dip Bars by Ultimate Body Press
Be able incorporate additional skills and exercises that require more space for large movements. Best used with gloves for zero slippage and better grip.
Finding best parallettes for sale
In order to give you the closest gymnastics experience, we wanted to pick out parallettes that most closely resemble parallel bars, so you can feel like you’re in an actual gym while you’re at home. To help deliver this experience, we took size, portability, durability, and the material of the rail into consideration while searching.
Following this, we got right into products on Amazon, Tumbl Trak, and Gibson that only had an average rating of 4 stars or above. Following this, we jumped into the reviews to find out what people enjoyed and disliked most about their parallettes.
On our quest for best of the best, we talked to coaches, parents, and gymnasts over at USA Gym forums to get as many opinions as we could about our decisions. If it’s opinions that are most valuable in the gymnastics industry, it is going to be theirs.
To be able to give that authentic “in a gym” feelings, we needed to narrow down our options to ones that most closely resemble parallel bars, unless they were just too good to keep off the list. Additionally, it needed to be convenient and manageable enough to use indoors and not take up much space in storage.
Top 6 Parallettes & Handstand Bars
So with all of this to take into consideration, here are the best parallettes and best handstand bars for body weight exercises and gymnastics skills that made it into our top recommendation.
The Ultra Fitness model has an authentic classic look to it, and its quality reflects that. Most parallettes are made out of steel instead or wood, which of course is completely up to the user to decide which one they enjoy more. But it is a nice touch to make it feel like you’re using a gymnastics apparatus.
The diameter is also responsible for its authentic gymnastics feel, at 1.5 inches in diameter it has a near identical resemblance. Although, the short distance in height challenges its users more so in conditioning exercises like l-holds. Since it is closer to the floor, that will require more abdominal focus than dip bars that are higher off the ground. While the short height ups the difficulty level for exercises, that actually helps practicing handstands a lot easier.
During the handstand process, if you are a beginner, then you are still becoming familiar with how to transfer your body weight. This means you will be constantly moving your hands to regain balance, and potentially one of the parallettes could tip over resulting in an injury. For this reason, a parallette that is short in height is going to work best to avoid this issue (even more so with the non-slip rubber stoppers on the base).
The best high intensity, non-slip parallettes for intermediate to experienced level users is Vita Vibe’s MP-12W Wood Mini Set. Rubber ends support the 1.5″ (in diameter) rail to assure support, but still make it easy to pick up and take anywhere.
The rubber feet on either ends support the wooden rails of up to 250lbs, and though they are very lightweight (2lbs), they do not slide along the floor whatsoever.
Now there are plenty reasons why this is helpful.
First reason: it prevents injuries. There’s no telling what sort of injuries could happen without a stable platform when practicing gymnastics skills and exercises.
Second reason: encourages body weight familiarity. Obviously, the most noticeable details about this model is its size. It’s low to the ground and the rail length is slightly longer than the width of your hand, which doesn’t leave you much room to re-grip. This is an intentional feature in order to avoid moving your hands for balance, and instead requires you to shift your body weight in order to maintain balance. Eventually, you’ll be able to do the same skills on the floor as you can on these parallettes.
If you like the assured support of steel legs (capable of supporting up to 250 lbs), but not so much the steel handles some parallettes have that cause slippage, then you should check out Vita Vibe’s best dip bar.
It’s a lot easier to maintain a grip with sweaty hands on wood than it is for steel. Although I have to say that the Heavy Gauge powder coated steel base is a good mixture of both. At around 13 lbs to carry altogether, that makes it a medium/high weight group compared with our other options.
If you are looking for the best parallettes that can extend to multiple heights then Tumbl Trak is a good option to splurge on. While they may look like a very tiny pair of parallel bars, they’re actually bigger than you think. Each one is approximately 24 inches in length, which is long enough for even adults to use. You can adjust the height of the bars to 6 inches, 7 1/2 inches, and 8 1/2 inches by using the black pull knob on either ends. An impressively unique feature that none of its competitors offer.
Even if you didn’t need the fancy height adjusters, it still offers the same support of up to 200 lbs from the help of the extended base feet. It would be hard to believe that support isn’t its trademark with feet extended that far across the floor, it’s almost at the point of it being awkward placing each bar side by side. But honestly, all you need is for them to be spread a little bit wider than your shoulder width.
Using chalk to keep your grip isn’t such a bad idea, but could get messy if you are using it at home. Otherwise, the wooden handle alone will be sufficient to use compared to its steel handle counterparts.
If you aren’t worried about slippage with steel handles (workout gloves are an easy solution) and want something basic and sturdy the Ultimate Body Press is perfect. At approximately 15 lbs, it isn’t the lightest of our other options, but provides a good amount of cooperation with high and low intensity exercises.
The Ultimate Body Press is 12 inches in height and 24 inches long leaving you enough room to adjust yourself during reps or shift hand positions to regain balance while practicing handstands. It has two advantages over most other options available. Firstly, the thick non-skid rubber feet are particularly dominant and even though rubber stoppers are common, they are typically only underneath the legs along the base instead of it securing a whole “foot” of the leg. Secondly, the concave edges on either side of the rail aren’t there just to look good. Another common feature among parallettes are those 90 degree corners which can definitely be hazardous if you’re not careful, but the Ultimate Body Press eliminates this issue by making them rounded instead.
The powder coated steel bars by Garage Fit is standard as far as looks are concerned. It is 12 inches in height and 24.5 inches long with enough body clearance for a wide range of motion. The powder coated finish does allow a good grip on the rail, I’m not so sure if that would hold up without a pair of workout gloves.
Garage Fit handstand push up bars are advertised as “heavy duty” durability due to the reinforced wells in place to prevent snapping joints and the safety connector bar that attaches the two bars together. The connector does a good job keep the two bars from separating, but the additional piece makes it a bit inconvenient to carry around with you.
Consider the following while looking
Although simple to use, parallettes can be slightly complicated to buy if you aren’t thinking ahead. Some are closer to the ground, some are higher, and if you aren’t paying close attention you could trap yourself with a product that doesn’t let you perform what you want on it.
It’s apparent that length is a quality that varies pretty dramatically from product to product. Some are as long as the distance between the tip of your fingers to the end of your elbow. Which gives you plenty of space to comfortable form a good grip before practicing.
Then there’s lengths that are close to the width of your hand, giving you less room to grab but ultimately improves your accuracy and spacial awareness.
This goes hand in hand with length. How silly would it look to have a parallette with a rail that’s long in length, but short in height.
I like to think of the height of a parallette as a factor of experience because most of the skills and exercises that a parallette is used for can also be done on the ground, it’s just that they are incredibly difficult to do without it.
Press handstands, L-holds, and pirouettes all can be done without the use of one, but with enough practice your abdominal muscles will eventually be able to withstand the strain alone.
The best parallettes for gymnastics are going to be ones that reflect the parallel bars, but having P-bars in your living room takes up way more space than necessary. After all, you’re not competing at home, you’re just practicing! Even the shorter P-bars are less than feasible to have because of how heavy they are, which makes it even more difficult to find a place to put it away.
Most parallette options are lightweight, easy to store away, don’t get in the way, and low maintenance enough to bring them pretty much anywhere.
Stabilization is something you’ll need to pay close attention to if you want to purchase parallettes that are higher off the ground (6″+ in height). You want the base to cover enough ground to support the pressure of your weight. Think about how your body will be moving back and forth, alternating weight from hand to hand, at least until you practice enough, the last the you want to happen is for one of them to tip over. Rubber stoppers on the bottom of the legs help tremendously with this.
Stability isn’t stressed as much for shorter parallettes because of how low to the ground they are. There isn’t near as much influence on gravity.
Size of rail
The diameter of the parallette’s rail should be as close as possible to the real deal, especially for beginner gymnasts. This enhances familiarity in your grip which can be transferred over to the apparatuses in the gym. Of course size varies depending on which manufacturer you purchase from, but we found the average diameter of parallel bar rails to be 1.5″.
To get your money’s worth, arguably the most important factor to long lasting and effective parallettes are the dependent on the material it is made out of. There’s plenty of material manufacturers make them from: plastic, wood, steel, and even a mixture of these three.
Plastic is lightweight and so it’s no sweat to pick up and take wherever, but it strains to hold up against bigger gymnasts. Steel can be both heavy or light and is very durable holding up to all weight variations, but when your hands start to get sweaty it is very easy to lose grip if there are no rubber handles on it.
The best parallettes for gymnastics are going to be made out of wood. They’re not heavy, can hold against any weight, and don’t need handles to maintain a grip with clammy hands.
Ultimately, find out which parallettes will serve you best by asking yourself the right questions:
Do they need to be easily moved around?
What are my areas of focus?
Is leasing it an option?
No, that’s not an option, but none of the parallettes we reviewed here need to be. Ultra Fitness Gear’s’s price is comparatively the least expensive among them all, however Ultimate Body Press provides more range of motion capable of supporting more exercises and skills.