Parallettes are a scaled down version of the parallel bars designed for bodyweight workouts. It is an incredible tool for building core and upper body strength; and its versatility allows for a huge range of exercises from beginner level to professional gymnasts.
These parallettes feature a range of adjustable settings. The distance between the bars can be tuned to suit different exercises and body types. There are also two different height modes; the high bar is ideal for dips, handstand pushups, shoot throughs, while the low bar is perfect for push-ups.
Check out this tutorial for some parallette exercises.
Its space-saving and portable qualities makes it a perfect piece of fitness gear for your home and outdoors use. The whole assembly can be completely disassembled and carried around in a rucksack to your local park.
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Step 1: Materials
This project was made entirely of wood and held together by mechanical fasteners.
2cm Plywood Baltic Birch - 50cm x 50 cm (legs)
12mm x 35mm Spruce Strip - 4m (bracing)
Ø45mm Dowel Beech - 2m (bars)
Ø8mm Dowel Beech - 1m (peg)
Ø28mm Dowel Beech - 0.3m (peg)
8x M8 Insert nut
12x M8 50mm Hex Bolt
16x M8 Washers
12x M8 Nuts
These are off-the-shelf dimensions available at my local wood supplier. If you live in countries with imperial systems you can always get the closest thing and adapt the dimensions to what's available to you.
Step 2: Making the Legs
For the legs I used 20mm baltic birch plywood, all four of them fits on a piece that measures 50 cm x 50 cm. If you're lucky you should be able to find a piece this size in the offset bins of your local wood supplier.
To cut these parts, I used a bandsaw to rough out the profiles and sanded them down on a belt sander. The flat-bottomed holes were bored on a table drill with a 45mm Forstner drill bit; they are 10mm deep. For exact dimensions, you can print out the attached pdf at 1:1 scale on a A1; or used the dwg that is attached at the beginning of the tutorial.
Step 3: Making the Bars
I did some research and found out that Olympic parallel bars are actually oval in cross section 40mm in width and 50mm in height. So I took the average and went with these ø45mm dowels. They came in 1m length, which I then cut into halves. I drilled holes into the end of all the dowels for the insert nuts. Of course you can skip this step and just glue the bars into the legs, but I liked the possibility to take them apart for easier transport.
Step 4: Making the Bracing
The bracings were made with 35mm x 12mm spruce strips. The purpose of the bracing is twofold. one is to provide stability, two is to control the spacing between the bars. In my case, I wanted the distance between the bars to be 60/48/36/16cm depending on the type of exercise. Olympic parallel bars are 42 to 52 centimeters apart.
Once all the holes are drilled, I used M8 nuts and bolts to hold them together. They have a distance of 20mm apart to match the thickness of the legs.
The pegs were made with ø8mm dowels inserted and glued into ø28mm dowels. A 10mm deep hole was predrilled into the ø28mm dowels to receive the ø8mm dowels. For all other dimensions you can refer to the photos.
Step 5: Assembly
Before applying any finish, all the pieces should be sanded. I went from 100 to 220 grit. For the finish I used linseed oil which is not the best product for exposure to rain, but this was ok since I only intend on doing parallette workouts outdoors on nice sunny days
- Use M8 bolts and washers to fasten legs and bars together.
- Slide bracing onto bottom part of the legs with the desired distance apart.
- Fix bracing in place with pegs.
Step 6: Footnotes
There are tons of DIY parallettes out there but most of them are rather crude. I wanted to make something that is both portable for outdoors use and also refined enough to be kept indoors, like a piece of furniture.
A furniture piece that is designed for fitness ;)
First Prize in the
Outdoor Fitness Challenge