I recently shared an image of handstand pushups from my homemade PVC parallettes. Shortly after posting the picture, questions began trickling into my inbox about how to make the parallettes and whether or not they were durable. With that in mind, I’ll use this short entry to address those questions as I’ve had the parallettes since 2011 and enjoy them for a variety of exercises.
To begin, most people do not realize how strong PVC pipe actually is. In the video below (the 7th exercise demoed), you can see me performing handstand pushups from the parallettes while wearing a weighted vest. My weight plus the vest is an insignificant amount compared to what the PVC can handle.
Schedule 40 1.5 inch PVC has a tensile strength of 954 pounds. Schedule 80 1.5 inch PVC has a tensile strength of 1225 pounds. Tensile strength is measured by hanging weight from the pipe until it bends or cracks.
As stated above, I’ve had these parallettes since 2011. They’ve been used regularly during that time by myself and several athletes. Some of those athletes have included heavyweight fighters weighing over 225 pounds. There has never been a single malfunction. I honestly don’t notice any wear or tear on the parallettes after almost 10 years of service. I can’t say the same about many of the commercial training tools that I’ve purchased.
To begin, if you type PVC parallettes into Google (see below), you will find loads of tutorials. Parallettes are a common do-it-yourself project.
When I first made my parallettes though, I believe I used this tutorial (with a few modifications).
As far as what you’ll need, here is a parts list
- 8 feet of 1.5 inch PVC (I used schedule 40 PVC)
- 4 x PVC T-connectors
- 4 x PVC 90 degree elbow fittings
- 8 x PVC end caps
- PVC Cement (optional)
The assembly of the parallettes is straightforward. I first cut the following pieces for each parallette.
- 1 x 18 inches (top)
- 2 x 8 inches (vertical uprights)
- 4 x 5 inches (horizontal supports)
I then liberally applied PVC cement to each attachment, secured them tightly, and let the parallettes dry overnight. The rest is history.
Please note that some tutorials do not mention the use of PVC cement. I opted to use it however to strengthen each connection.
If you are looking to spice up your bodyweight training, PVC parallettes might be a worthwhile investment. They are excellent for a variety of pushups, handstand pushups, L-sits, bodyweight tricep extensions, etc. The total cost of the parallettes will be minimal for what you’ll be able to do with them. I can’t recommend them enough. And for the record, I am not sponsored by your local hardware store, so I stand nothing to gain if you make and use your own parallettes!
“You can do more good by being good than any other way.” – John Wooden