The bars supply a completely fresh, from-the-ground-up take on bodyweight training.
To build a powerful body that moves as well as it looks, take a training cue from some of the fittest athletes in the world: gymnasts. Lifting your own weight and moving it around an apparatus takes serious muscle stamina and strength. And with parallettes you can get the benefits of gymnastics-inspired training without defying gravity. Chris Chang, a Tier 3 trainer at Equinox New York’s 53rd Street location, began utilizing “P bars” in college to supplement his pole-vaulting workouts. “They not only built shoulder and core strength, they helped me learn how to flow from one move to another,” he says. Serena Tom, however, is a recent convert: “I started using the tool to enhance my practice,” says the New York City-based yoga instructor. “Exercising on the parallettes has really improved my body control.”
While you can use P bars to do gymnastics moves like tucks and handstands, their design makes them ideal for traditional strength moves, as well. “Your hands are in a neutral position, which reduces the risk of wrist strain and injury during an exercise like a push-up,” says Chang. “And because the bars are raised off the floor, they give you a different amount of leverage and more range of motion.”
Start by replacing your usual plank, push-up and dip with a parallette variation. For a total-body challenge, combine a few exercises into one flowing movement like Chang and Tom demonstrate here.
(3) Swing Through
(5) Swing Through
Plank:Get in a push-up position with each hand grasping the center of a bar, shoulders aligned over wrists. Extend legs straight back behind you. Hold position.
Push-Up: Get in plank position with each hand grasping the center of a bar, shoulders aligned over wrists. Keep your elbows close to your body as you bend them straight back, lowering your torso toward the floor. Push up to starting position and repeat.
To make this move easier, perform with knees on the floor.
Swing Through: Get in push-up position with each hand grasping the center of a bar, shoulders aligned over wrists. Bend knees, and in one explosive movement, jump your feet forward, landing in a seated position with knees bent and feet on the floor in front of you. Reverse the motion, jumping feet backward, to return to the starting position. (To make this move easier, walk your feet forward and back instead of jumping.)
Dip: Sit between the bars and grasp a bar with each hand behind you, knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend your arms so your hips are lifted, thighs parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows straight back, lowering hips toward the floor. Extend your arms to return to the starting position, and repeat.
(2) Bent-Arm Stand
(3) Tuck L-Sit
Handstand:Stand about a stride’s length away from the bars, bend forward from your hips and grasp the center of a bar in each hand. Kick legs up into a handstand. Hold this position.
Bent-Arm Stand:Stand about a stride’s length away from the bars, bend forward from your hips and grasp the center of a bar in each hand. With heels lifted, bend both elbows straight back, lowering your head between the bars. Your body should be in an inverted V position. Jump both feet up so knees are tucked toward your chest, then extend both legs straight up so your body forms a line from head to heels. Hold this position.
L-Sit: Sit between the bars and grasp a bar with each hand, knees tucked towards your chest. Extend your arms so your hips are between the bars. Keep your back straight and extend both legs out until parallel to the floor. Hold this position. (If this is too challenging, perform the movement with one or both knees tucked towards your chest).