You don’t have to be a gymnast to take advantage of the strength training benefits that you can accomplish with parallel bars. In fact, you don’t even need access to a gymnastics gym—just purchase a pair of parallettes (little parallel bars) for your home gym. For about $50 you can buy a pair of wooden parallettes. Aluminum bars are a bit more expensive, but you can also construct some cheaper ones out of PVC pipe. The key benefit to using parallettes for body-weight strength training is that you are elevated off the ground, which allows for a deeper range of motion during many common movements. Listed from easiest to hardest, here are five parallette exercises to help you get the body of a gymnast:
MOVE ONE: Dips
Begin with your elbows locked out, and feet on the ground. Lower your hips toward the floor, then press back up. Make it harder by elevating your feet on a bench or a medicine ball.