DIY parallettes: Plus a dip bar exercise

With the gyms closed for the foreseeable future, now is the perfect time to add to your home workouts. This simple, relatively inexpensive DIY parallet project will prepare you for a wide variety of dip bar exercises. Learn how to create your own parallets with instructions, a bill of materials, and a follow-up video with Primal Health Coach Brian. This post also has a breakdown of a beginner dip bar workout to get you started.

What are parallets?

Parallettes or planche bars can support an impressive range of exercises, ranging from beginner to advanced. Sometimes these bars are referred to as pushups or calisthenics dive bars, but these tend to be a bit longer and lower on the ground. Although often associated with gymnasts, parallets can be an invaluable tool in expanding the range of bodyweight exercise available to everyone.

How to build parallets

Buying parallets from the equipment store can be expensive – with some options going up to $ 100 each (and you’d want two).

Taking advantage of parallel exercises doesn’t have to break the bank. Skip the high expenses and go to a hardware store to make your own parallets. The materials cost approximately $ 20-30, and no special tools are required to build. These durable and inexpensive parallets can be made entirely from PVC tubing in minutes.

What you will need

Most hardware stores are ready to cut the PVC pipes to your exact dimensions for you. Make sure you have these lengths on hand before you go to store.

  • Four 1 1/4 “T sockets
  • Four 1 1/4 “angled sockets
  • Eight 1 1/4 “end caps

In addition to the fittings, all you need to purchase is 10 foot 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe. Have them cut to the following dimensions:

  • Eight 6 inch pieces
  • Four 10 inches
  • Two 14 inch pieces

Tip: go when it’s not busy for the best chance someone is available to cut it for you.


  1. Connect your two 14-inch pieces with the elbows.
  2. Attach your four 8-inch pieces to the other side of the elbow socket.
  3. Add a T-socket to each 8 inch piece.
  4. Attach a 6 inch piece to any remaining electrical outlets.
  5. Put an end cap on each of the 8 inch pieces.
  6. Make sure any connection is secure and stable before you start exercising.

After this quick assembly, you can start training the parallette bars.

Parallettes bar exercises for beginners

Parallettes strength training uses your own body instead of weights for basic training. As with any new fitness machine, start with simple exercises to get comfortable before moving on to more advanced movements. Google or YouTube videos may show the impressive accomplishments achieved with parallette bar exercises. However, before testing your limits, be sure to follow these dip bar exercises so that beginners can familiarize themselves with the bars and test your strength.

Parallette push ups

Parallette pushups provide more freedom of movement and a deeper stretch in your chest. Keep your back flat and straighten it all the way down, then all the way back up. Raise your feet on a well-secured bench to better understand the parallette push-up.

Parallette dips

There are a few approaches to dips.

Place the bars perpendicular to your sides with your feet in front of you, and then lift them up and down as you fully extend your arms. You can also place the bars in front of and behind you with your feet resting on the bar in front of you. Your body should be roughly V-shaped on the floor and then rise into an L-shape parallel to the bars.

Belt-supported plank or planche

Use an exercise band to put your feet behind you and keep your body parallel to the floor like you would in a normal plank position. You may find that over time you can remove the tape as your strength increases.

L-sit progress

To begin this progression, build your core strength by pinching your legs as you raise yourself to a “sitting position” with a parrallete supporting each arm.

You can then continue the progression to support your lower legs with a band to achieve the “L-shape”. Over time you can remove the tape as the core thickness increases and switch to the “L-shape” without outside help.

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