I’m a big fan of Chris Heria from Then X.
His videos got me into calisthenics. One of the moves that caught my attention were the L-Sits.
Chris makes it look easy to do but when I tried it at my gym, I was struggling. Hard.
Luckily he goes through the progression to do them perfectly. Check out this video for L-Sit progression:
Since my gym doesn’t have gymnastic style dip bars, I can only practice the L-Sit on the assisted dip bar machine. It is also very high. I prefer to practice the L-Sit progressions closer to the ground in case my grip fails and I fall.
I made the decision to buy parallettes.
What do you look for when buying parallettes?
As someone who has never used parallettes before, I thought about other ways of using them. So I looked online for different moves or exercises I can do on the parallettes. I rather invest in something that is multi-purpose over something that is only used for one purpose (I’m looking at you, lemon squeezer).
Here are some exercises that you can do with parallettes:
- Knee Raise Hold – First progression to L-Sit.
- L-Sit – The dream, the goal.
- Push Ups – Creates a deeper workout for your chest and arms.
- Tuck Planche – It’s like a reverse knee raise hold and is part of the progression for a planche.
- Handstands – Progression into handstand push ups.
The next thing I look for when buying parallettes is durability of material and how long it will last.
Obviously, I want everything I buy to last forever. I am a big believer in quality and paying a higher price or premium is worth it in the long run.
Below are my top 10 recommendations for parallette bars.
Top 10 Parallette Bars for L-Sit Progression
These parallettes are from Body Power who also sells other type of exercise equipment. They are a good price and has great reviews for them.
They’re made of heavy duty carbon steel and can hold up to 380 lbs.
They also have a 12 inch clearance which gives you more distance between the ground when you do an L-Sit or knee tuck hold.
I’ve seen wooden parallettes but I was worried about the durability of it. I just prefer something more solid and heavy, like steel. But ultimately, it’s all about personal preference.
These are the ones I personally own. I keep them in my room and go through the progressions throughout the day when I’m home.
I was worried that using these may tip over if I didn’t distribute my weight correctly but they are stable and do not move or slide when I use them.
I recommend these parallettes for beginners like me who want to practice the progression to perfect the L-Sit.
- Max Weight – 380 lbs
- Material – Heavy duty carbon steel
- Clearance – 12 inches
The next parallette bar is from Jfit. These are the best priced parallettes if you’re on a budget.
They’re named as push-up bars but should also support L-Sits.
These parallettes are made of metal and can support up to 275 lbs.
They are also 9 inches off the ground, giving you plenty of space to performance parallette workouts on.
These bars also come with padded handles to give a focused grip. I don’t really believe pads help with the grip but it definitely helps give you a point of focus to hold on to the parallette bars.
- Max Weight – 275 lbs
- Material – Metal
- Clearance – 9 inches
These are from Vita Vibe. They’re a company that creates their own exercise equipment in the US.
These portable parallette bars are made from natural ash wood and can be carried around with you if you want to bring them to the park or even to the office.
They support up to 250 lbs and has about 2.5 inches of clearance. I believe parallette bars should have at least 3 inches of clearance to avoid any friction between the hands and the floor. I think for most people, this is enough clearance. For people they may have bigger hands, I would recommend another bar for more comfort.
The great thing about these parallettes and Vita Vibe is that they’re made in the USA and offer a 10 year warranty.
- Max Weight – 250 lbs
- Material – Natural ash wood
- Clearance – 2.5 inches
The Lebert parallettes are currently Amazon’s Choice as of writing this article.
They look great and I think one of the best feature is it’s maximum weight capacity of 400 lbs. Most are generally under 300 lbs. This mean they should be reliable and super steady.
The Lebert parallette bars are made from solid stainless steel and has 12 inches of clearance. Same clearance as the Body power ones.
These parallettes also have non slip grip. Again, I don’t believe there’s added benefit to different sort of grips but it definitely helps with hand placement.
- Max Weight – 400 lbs
- Material – Solid stainless steel
- Clearance – 12 inches
These are another set of wooden parallettes from Vita Vibe.
They are so aesthetically pleasing with the bars being made from natural hardwood ash with a heavy gauge powder coated solid steel base.
They hold up to 250 lbs and have 10 inches of clearance space.
Like the portable parallette bars mentioned earlier, these are also made in the United States and have a 10 year warranty.
- Max Weight – 250 lbs
- Material – Natural hard wood ash, solid steel base
- Clearance – 10 inches
Boundary Movement made these parallettes heavy duty and can support up to 450 lbs of weight.
They have grip-text coating on the bars with 12 inches of clearance.
The design of the parallettes are similar to the Body Power ones that I recommend. However, I do prefer the look of these more because with the over extended bar. It’s only a visual preference.
- Max Weight – 450 lbs
- Material – n/a
- Clearance – 12 inches
Yogabody creates yoga focused exercise equipment. As someone who does not practice yoga, it’s interesting to see how parallettes are incorporated in yoga.
One thing’s for sure though, these Yogabody parallettes look amazing with it’s birch wood design.
They’re portable with 5 inches of clearance.
These parallette bars are also easy to assemble.
- Max Weight – n/a
- Material – Birch wood
- Clearance – 5 inches
This is the first dip station mentioned in this article. It is from Relife.
Dip stations offer a higher clearance so you can comfortablely do dips. It also feels like the next level when you can properly do L-Sits as it is higher off the ground.
The dip station is made of heavy duty steel and can support up to 300 lbs with foam padded grips.
The height can be adjusted and can go up to 35 inches off the ground.
- Max Weight – 300 lbs
- Material – Heavy duty steel
- Clearance – Up to 35 inches
The Yaumany dip stand comes as a set and resembles that Body Power parallette bars.
The grips are foam padded but the dip stand is made of steel.
The dip stand can support up to 286 lbs.
There’s 38 inches of clearance to do dips.
I feel like these may also be able to support Australian pull ups, which is one of the first progressions for pull ups.
- Max Weight – 286 lbs
- Material – Steel
- Clearance – 38 inches
The last but one of the most interesting on the list are the dip bars from Ultimate Body Press.
This dip bar feels like it definitely belongs in a home gym. They are foldable so you can carry them around. The coolest feature is the ability to adjust the height AND width of the dip bar station.
These definitely support vertically gripped Australian pull ups.
The dip bars support up to 350 lbs and has up to 36 inches in clearance.
- Max Weight – 350 lbs
- Material – n/a
- Clearance – Up to 36 inches
Parallette Bars Buyer’s Guide
- Weight Limit – All the recommended parallettes support over 200 lbs which I believe should suffice for the average person. However, if it is not, there are a few that support over 300 lbs. The reason for this is durability, if the parallettes are used at its maximum capacity all the time, it may lead to degradation of the bars.
- Height/Clearance – If you’re strictly looking to do L-Sits or push ups, any height above 3 inches should be enough. However, for those with lower clearance, it may not provide enough space between your hands and the ground and may lead to you putting pressure on your knuckles. So keep that in mind.
- Material – This is more of a preference. Aesthetically, i think wood parallettes look great but I feel more comfortable using heavy duty steal.
- Mobility/Space – Are you looking to move them around your home? I usually leave them in my room but if I want to bring it out into the living room, I can easily do so. If you’re looking for something more stationary for your home gym, I think the recommended parallettes are fine for that. If you’re looking to bring them outdoors to a park, I do recommend the small more portable ones.
- L-Sit Progression – Just owning a pair of parallette bars won’t magically give you the ability to do an L-Sit. It takes time and practice. I started with knee tuck holds. I do my best to hold it for a count of 30. You may need to start with a shorter duration but the progression helps you build the strength to hold yourself up for an L-Sit. It took about a month for me to have a solid L-Sit (no bent knees). I can only hold it for about a 10 count so I am still working to improve and practice. The great thing about owning a pair of parallettes is that I can practice on it everyday.