Parallettes are very simple pieces of equipment. They are just handles with a base that is placed on the floor.
They can be made of wood, metal, plastic, or a combination of materials.
But don’t let their simplicity fool you. Paralletes will help you develop your chest, triceps and shoulder muscles. They will help you avoid injury and improve a range of motion.
Parallettes will give you the same benefits as push up boards with greater flexibility and no false promises. They will also use less storage space when you don’t use them.
Before we dive deeper into analysis, here are parallettes you can get on Amazon. They are sorted by customer reviews.
4.9 Customer Review Score, N/A Max Load
Wood Power XL
4.8 Customer Review Score, 550 lbs Max Load
Wood Power XS
4.8 Customer Review Score, 550 lbs Max Load
4.7 Customer Review Score, 380 lbs Max Load
4.6 Customer Review Score, 330 lbs Max Load
4.6 Customer Review Score, 300 lbs Max Load
How do parallettes help you avoid injury
If you have problems with your wrist flexibility and/or strength, parallettes can be a great solution to a problem. If you compare the position of your wrists with and without parallettes, you will notice the difference.
When you are doing push ups on your hands, your palms are facing forward. Your arms are positioned at a 90 degrees angle compared to your hands. So, your wrists have to carry your upper body weight while bent at 90 degrees angle.
When you use parallettes, your hands are wrapped around the parallettes handles. Your hands are facing sideways. Your upper body weight loads your hands in a much better position. It’s because your palms are not bent, but almost entirely straight.
This helps prevent injury to your wrists when doing exercises on parallettes. They are also very helpful if you want to start exercise after you get injured wrists. However, before starting workout after injury always consult a licensed physician.
How do parallettes help with increased range of motion
The other great benefit of parallettes is the increased range of motion. It’s simply because you are holding handles that are higher from the floor compared to your hands on the floor.
When doing push ups, your chest will have more room to sink further down between the handles.
If you weren’t able to do L-sit, the increased height you get with parallettes will help you if your hamstrings don’t have necessary flexibility yet.
They will also help you with more advanced calisthenics skills like handstand push ups, planche, L-sit to handstand and planche to handstand push ups.
Muscles you can target using parallettes
When working with parallettes you can primarily target your chest and shoulder muscles. There are also exercises that can help you target your triceps. However, to be able to do so, you have to know which exercise is good for a specific muscle group.
Push up boards are marketed as an equipment that will help you work on your chest, shoulders, triceps and back, just by using different grips. This is not true. You can work your chest and triceps with most of the grips presented on push up boards.
However, if you don’t know what you do, you will not be able to properly target your shoulder muscles. Targeting your back with any of the grip positions is just impossible.
Parallettes don’t come with such false claims. Because of their simplicity and usefulness, they don’t need some crazy marketing false promises to give you exactly what you need.
This is increased range of motion and wrist injury protection.
Exercises you can do with parallettes
There is a wide variety of exercises you can do using parallettes. They will help you do a lot of pushing exercises. They will deload your wrists and give you more room to perform workouts with more ease and confidence.
Here are just some of the simple exercises you can do with parallettes:
- Push up
- Pike push up
- Handstand push up
L-sit will help you work on your abs. You will also feel your quads working as well as your arms and shoulder muscles. This is not the easiest exercise because it requires both strength and hamstring flexibility.
How to do an L-sit
Sit between parallettes with your legs straight facing in front of you and paralletes parallel to your legs. Grab parallete handles with your hands.
Lift your butt and your legs off the floor. Keep your legs parallel to the floor. You will hold your entire body with your hands holding your weight against the gravity.
When you are doing push ups with parallettes your hands are lifted from the floor because you are holding parallette handles. You will perform the same movement as in regular push ups. This exercise will help you work on your chest and triceps muscles. Your abs and lower back muscles will help you keep your body straight.
How to do a push up
Grab parallette bars with your hands. Parallettes should be possitioned parallel to your body a bit wider than your shoulder width. Your legs are on the floor touching the ground on your feet balls and your toes. Keep your entire body in a straight line by contracting your abs throughout the entire exercise.
Lower yourself down by flexing your arms in your elbows, targeting to touch the floor with your chest. When you get with your chest as close as possible to the floor this is the lowest point of downward movement.
To start moving up, push yourself up from the floor by straightening your arms in your elbows. Keep on pushing until your arms are straight. This is the highest point of upward movement.
Pike Push Up
Pike push up is a great exercise for developing your shoulders. However, if you don’t position yourself correctly in this exercise, you will not be able to target your shoulders well.
How to do a pike push up
Grab parallette handles with your hands. Parallettes should be positioned parallel to your body a little bit wider than shoulder width. To perform a pike push up with perfect form your upper body will be positioned as close to 90 degrees to the floor as possible.
You will be bent in your hips and your body will form an A shape. Your legs will be straight and form less than 90 degree angle to your upper body. Your toes will be positioned on the floor. So, your butt will be the highest point of your body in this position.
To start going down, bend your arms in your elbows. Allow your head to go down toward your hands between parallette bars. Keep on lowering down as much as you can.
To start moving back up, push against the parallette bars. Extend your arms in your elbows. Keep on pushing until you reach the starting A frame position.
Handstand Push Up
Handstand push up is another great exercise for developing your shoulder muscles. There is an easier variant of a handstand push up performed against the wall. This version will take out the balancing part of the difficulty out of the equation. There is also the freestanding variant.
How to do a handstand push up
Place parallette bars in front of you a little bit wider than shoulder width. Bars should be parallel. Grab bars with your hands and kick up to a handstand position.
To start going down, bend your arms in your elbows. Allow your head to go down between parallette bars. Keep on lowering down as much as you can.
To start moving back up, push against the parallette bars. Extend your arms in your elbows. Keep on pushing until you reach the starting handstand position.
Parallettes are simple pieces of equipment. They will protect your wrists from injury and build your chest, triceps and shoulder muscles.
Parallettes will give you the same benefits as push up boards with greater flexibility and no false promises. They require less storage space than push up board.