How to Build PVC Parallel Bars

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Parallel bars are a mainstay in physical rehabilitation clinics and many gymnastics training centers, but they are becoming increasingly popular among fitness buffs looking for additional upper body strength training. Commercially available bar sets usually retail in the thousands of dollars, leading many gym-goers to opt to build their own sets. One such material used is PVC piping, renowned among home gym enthusiasts for its resiliency and affordability. Using PVC to build your own set of parallel bars can be a relatively easy project that could be finished in an afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 16-foot lengths of 2 inch PVC piping
  • PVC bond
  • PVC primer
  • 8 PVC 2 inch T joints
  • 4 PVC 2 inch 90 degree elbow joints
  • 8 PVC 2 inch end caps
  • PVC saw
  • Black marker
  • Tape measure
  • Fine grit sandpaper (optional)
  • Athletic tape (optional)

Support

  • Measure and mark one of the 16-foot lengths in the following increments: two 3-foot lengths, four 2-foot lengths and four 6-inch lengths. Cut each section and brush away burrs that may result from sawing. Set aside, then measure and saw the second 16-foot piece using the same measurements. Set aside. You'll be making one free-standing parallel bar at a time to make the matching set, so seperate all components into individual piles to avoid confusion. We'll make the support part first.

  • Apply a dab of primer to the end of one of the 3-foot pieces, then generously apply some PVC bond. Attach one of the 90 degree elbows to the end. Repeat the process to attach another 90 degree elbow to the opposite end. Apply primer and bond to an end of a 2-foot piece, insert it into the end of the elbow, then primer and bond the exposed end of the 2-foot piece. Look at a T joint: you want to attach the joint vertically at one of the long sides (the long ends pointing at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions) with the short end facing the same direction as the elbow joint. Do so.

  • Primer and bond the ends of two of the 2- foot lengths and insert each one into the holes on the bottoms of the elbow joints, then insert the remaining end into one of the holes on the T joints. When finished, you should have a rectangular shape.

Base

  • Make the base by priming and bonding one end of two 2- foot pieces into each of the bottom holes on the rectangle's T joints. Once done, primer and bond a T onto the ends of those 2- foot pieces, but turn the T's perpendicular to the other T joints. Doing so creates a base for the rectangle to stand on. Primer and bond a 6- inch piece into each hole of the perpendicular T joints on the base. This adds small legs to the base and allows it stand freely. Once done, one half of the parallel bar set is now complete.

  • Primer and bond an end cap onto the exposed ends of each 6-inch piece to create stability in the base. You should now have completed one half of the freestanding parallel bars. Set it aside to allow the bond to continue to harden, then begin work on the second half of the bar set.

  • Repeat all of the the above steps to assemble the other half, thus completing your PVC parallel bar set. Use the sandpaper on the top 3- foot bars to create a textured gripping surface for your hands; alternately, wrap the length in athletic tape to attain a firmer grip.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the bars only for basic strength training like triceps dips. Using the bars for Olympic style swinging may result in injury.

References

  • "The Men's Health Home Workout Bible"; Lou Schuler & Michael Mejia; 2002
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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