Training Tips for XL paralettes
The XL paralettes are one of the fundamental calisthenics training tools, not only for more advanced athletes but beginners too. They are incredibly versatile, allowing many different drills and exercises to be performed in a very small space, inside or outside – really just about anywhere! They can be used as the pair or individually, whether for complete exercises, or drills to help progress the more advanced skills. For example – for regular dips using both and then straight bar dips using a single paralette.
I used the paralettes before learning the bar muscle up as a way to learn how to effectively perform the muscle up transition, whilst keeping closer to the floor. This method really helped me to master the separate parts of the technique before putting the whole thing together on the bar later on. And also gave me the confidence to advance my skills gradually.
You can use the XL paralettes in your own routines to help master push, pull and squat exercises too. You can also combine the paralettes with resistance bands to assist you in any concentric or eccentric movements. Just always make sure the paralettes are sturdy and secured, on a flat surface, before attempting any exercise. And that if you are using resistance bands, make sure you’re holding them, or that they are fastened, securely.
You can even use the XL paralettes in different combinations, whether one is lying down and one is upright – with this combination you can perform inclined press ups, for example.
The XL paralettes can even be used to help with injury rehabilitation. I recently had a slight knee injury, and I used my XL paralettes to keep performing squats and doing single leg work. Having the XL paralettes there to take the weight when it became too much was incredibly valuable for helping me keep mobile and then subsequently fully recover.
Below are a few different exercises, and some setting up advice, for you so you can try using a set of XL paralettes:
Regular Dips – Use both XL paralettes. Have one either side of you, standing upright and parallel. One hand on each paralette
Straight Bar Dips – Use one XL paralette. Place the paralette horizontally in front of you. Grip either side of the single paralette.
Incline Press Ups – Use both XL paralettes. Space out accordingly so that one paralette is upright and one is lying down, with two rubber feet pointing toward the sky. Place the tops of your feet on the upright paralette, and your hands on the rubber feet of the other paralette.
Neutral Grip Rows – Use both XL paralettes. Same setup as the regular dips but position yourself underneath the paralettes with one hand on each. Either bend your knees and plant your feet, or straighten out your legs and place you heels on the ground.
Aussie Rows – Use one XL paralette. Place horinzontally in front of you. Climb underneath and lie out wards in a straight line with your heels, and or feet on the floor. Grip the top of the paralette with both hands and pull yourself up just touching the underside with your chest.
Single Arm Rows– Use one XL paralette for each side, but have both set up so you can switch from right to left. Set the paralettes up in the same way you would for the regular dips, but lie down in the central gap. Place your feet firmly on the floor and bend your knees to 90 degrees, or if you can, perform with heels on the floor and legs straight out in front of you. One hand on each paralette.
Assisted Pistol Squat – Use one XL paralette. Place the paralette on whichever side you are going to perform your pistol squat on. Grip the paralette and slowly lower yourself down into pistol squat, using the other arm for balance. Grip as necessary to alleviate weight.
Assisted Dragon Squat – Use two XL paralettes. Place the parallettes parallel to your neutral grip and have them as wide as required. The wider, the easier to perform with full range of motion. Grip both paralletes tightly and lower down gently using full range of motion for your dragon squat.
Assisted Single Leg Squat – Use two XL paralettes. Place in the same setup as you would have for the regular dips. Move one leg out in front of you with your foot planted. Grip each paralette, lean over your front leg, lift up your back leg and gently lower down.
Goblet Squat – Use one XL paralette. Get into a squat position and hold the XL paralette out in front of you, with straight arms. Hold that position as you perform your squats. You can even add a reach up element at the top of the squat, just by rotating your arms and shoulder 90 degree so that the paralette is overhead.
Tuck Holds (Front Lever) – Use one XL paralette. Place XL paralette horizontally in front of you. Grip at regular width and swing under the bar in a tuck position, holding yourself off the ground. Extend your legs further from your chest to increase difficulty.
Straight Bar Dip to lower and tuck (Muscle up transition) – Use one XL paralette. Place XL paralette horizontally in front of you. Grip at regular width and slowly lower yourself down so that your chest touches the paralette then swing underneath the bar into a tuck, keeping yourself close to the top of the paralette.
Pike Press Ups (Handstands / Handstand Press Ups) – Use two XL paralettes. Find an elevated, secure and flat surface to place your feet on and place the paralettes in front of you as though setting up for regular dips. Place your feet on the elevated surface and grip the paralettes. Pike (bend) from the hips, externally rotate the shoulders and pull your chest towards your legs. Lower yourself down, bending the arms until you cannot lower yourself further and press back up.
Half Row to Straight Arm Extension (Archers) – Use two XL paralettes. Set up for the neutral grip rows. Perform a half row upwards, then extend one arm out straight to the side. Bring your arm back in to position and lower down. Then repeat for the other side.
by Guy Joynson for Gravity Fitness