Those tiny, U-shaped bars sitting in the corner of your gym have a name: parallette bars. You may have used them for a set or two of wrist-friendly pushups and thought to leave other movements for gymnasts and acrobats, but they’re worth tagging in more often to gain strength head to toe. And they’re not as difficult to master as they may seem.
“Parallette bars train your central nervous system better than weights,” says trainer Flex Cabral, co-owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “And the better you’re able to move, the stronger you can become.”
The reason this style of training works, explains Cabral, is that using an external load, like a barbell or dumbbell, won’t have as much carryover to full-body strength compared with mastering a plethora of pushup variations and static holds. Using parallettes forces your body to work as a cohesive unit to stabilize and support itself compared with an exercise like the barbell bench press, which has you lying on a bench. The result is a body that works better together as one unit, and killer core strength.
For that reason, we suggest trying the five moves that Cabral outlines here. Work on a couple at the end of your workout or string them all together for a challenge that your body has never experienced before.