Parallette Training

Coach Roger Harrell is one of the few gymnastic coaches in the world that applies gymnastics to adults. The vast majority of gymnastic coaches focus on developing kids and teenagers to compete in the olympic sport.

For this reason, I respect and am engaged in anything he publishes. In 2006, he published a guide of sorts on parallette training–which I have adopted in my own personal training for athletes focused on gymnastics. After you build (or buy) your own pair of parallettes, here are the exercises you can develop over time:

Static Holds

Practicing isometric contractions under load has been proven to be very effective in strength development. Some studies have shown dramatic strength increases with nothing but isometric contraction exercises. These static holds can be introduced into your training program in a variety of ways:

  • Include them in conditioning circuits as fixed holds. (i.e. Hold an L-sit for 30 seconds.)
  • Accumulate holds up to a certain total time. (i.e. Do handstands until you accumulate 60 seconds of holding time; try to minimize the number of attempts.)
  • Perform a larger number of shorter holds. (i.e. Do ten sets of 5-second ball planches.)


The handstand is an essential skill in our programming at RxFIT. Handstands on parallettes are easier to hold than on the floor as they increase the size of your base, and practicing them on parallettes will help you achieve a stable freestanding handstand sooner.


Aim for being able to hold an L-sit for at least 30 seconds. This skill helps to develop dramatic abdominal and hip flexor strength. Note that tight hamstrings and/or a tight lower back will make the L-sit significantly more
difficult. Here are some developmental skills to help train an L-sit:

  • Tucked Support
  • Low L-Sit
  • Single-leg L-Sits
  • V-Sits
  • Manna
  • Straddle L
  • English Straddle L (Single Parallette)
  • Ball Planche


The classic push-up can be made significantly more difficult. Here are a few parallette options to begin training after you can complete 50 consecutive push-ups to the floor.

  • Push-Ups with Elevated Feet
  • Pseudo Planche Push-Ups
  • Handstand Push-Ups
  • Ball Planche Push-Ups
  • Planche Push-Ups
  • Planche Push-Ups to Shoulder Extension
  • Planche Press Handstand

Training should never become boring. If you are tired of your current routine, email me and I’ll set you up on an intense calisthenics program that will keep you busy and engaged for the next decade!


Other Related Articles:
Parallette Training (Roger Harrell)
How to Build Your Own Parallettes
Where to Buy Your Own Parallettes

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