Free-standing parallel bars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small bars that can accommodate one person to long, weighty bars that allow room for complex swinging exercises. This equipment can help spice up your fitness routine, and you can even use them as part of a rehabilitation plan to recover from injuries.
Choosing Parallel Bars
Parallel bars can range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Some are permanent fixtures that can be bolted to the floor, while others fold up for travel purposes. Before you invest in a set, read consumer guides to determine the safety of the bars you've chosen, and check the manual to ensure that the bars are designed for the purpose for which you intend them.
Parallel bars can help you do exercises such as dips and shoulder shrugs, and if the balls are tall enough, you can even use them to do pullups. "Walking" across the bars with your hands can help you develop shoulder, arm and back strength. You can also use the bars to develop gymnastic skills by doing handstands on the bars.
The parallel bars can provide a safe place to do rehabilitation exercises, particularly if you're unsteady on your feet and need something to grab if you stumble. As you gain strength, your physical therapist may recommend that you graduate to traditional parallel bar exercises such as dips. You might also begin using uneven parallel bars to practice swinging or jumping.
Like any piece of equipment, free-standing parallel bars pose some safety concerns. The bars you choose must be stable enough to support your own weight, even if you lean to one side or stumble over the bars. Be sure to check the bars to determine their maximum weight load. If you're using the bars as part of a physical rehabilitation program, you'll need a spotter in case you fall, and if you're trying more acrobatic tricks, do so with the assistance of a spotter until you've mastered the bars.
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