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Parallette Training Foundation for Full-Body Power

Ryan Hurst from Gold Medal Bodies is here to show you how to build a training foundation with parallettes. This is the first of a three part series.


If you’ve ever seen a gymnast perform skills like the planche, you’ve probably wished you could too. Maybe you even got right down on the floor and tried one. Then looked around to make sure nobody was watching after you landed on your face.

Most of the classic bodyweight feats of strength are really damn hard (that’s why they’re called “feats of strength”), but with the right foundation, there’s no reason they can’t be achievable. But how do you build that foundation? Surely, if it were as simple as doing more bench presses, you’d see a lot more people who could perform a planche.

There’s a right tool for every job, and the tool gymnasts use to build upper-body strength for floor work is a set of parallettes.

Parallettes are great for a number of reasons. Not only do they allow greater stability and leverage than our hands have on the floor (which makes it easier to practice many skills), they’re small, light, and easy to build for yourself.

Everyone knows that pushing exercises are key for practical upper body strength, but what you may not know is how basic pressing can lay the foundation for more sophisticated, full-body movements, and parallettes are an ideal tool to help bridge that gap.

In recent years, parallettes have been adopted primarily by CrossFitters, owing primarily to their portability and cost. Unfortunately, the information on the web about parallette training is limited and simplistic. A quick check on YouTube shows tons of videos of people performing maybe three or four different parallette exercises, usually with poor form.

So let’s start there – by learning one high-leverage exercise with perfect form.

Enter The Parallette Push-Up

Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups
Ultimate Guide to Handstand Pushups on Amazon

“Just a push-up?”

When you focus on your form and pay attention to finer details of the movement, you’ll find that doing correct push-ups on parallettes can be much more challenging than you’d expect.

As a reminder:
• Keep your elbows tight in to your side, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Shoulders stay over your hands and don’t let them drop below the level of the bar on the bottom of the repetition.
• Push and drive your elbow pits facing forward.
• A three second hold on the bottom and top position, with a locked down core, tight butt and legs will create a whole body tension, and make this into a full body exercise.

This exercise can be performed daily if repetitions are kept low (not more than 5 repetitions in a set).

We’ll have another video in a couple of days that builds on this foundation and really tightens up your core strength for more dynamic movements.

Until then, give these a shot and be sure to leave a comment and let us know how you like ‘em. Do you still think they’re “just push-ups?”


Gold Medal Bodies has a full blown course on Parallette Training.

Parallettes One

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