How to Make PVC Parallel Bars

Written by kirk maltbee
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How to Make PVC Parallel Bars
PVC piping can be used to make reliable parallel bars. (coude en pvc de 45° (2) image by Marie-Thérèse GUIHAL from

Many fitness buffs look to Olympic-style training to further their own routines, choosing to implement parallel-bar training into their upper-body exercise routines. Unfortunately, the Olympic-grade parallel bars also come with Olympic-sized price tags, with many retailing in the thousands of dollars. Those looking to add parallel-bar training to their routines can opt to build a reliable set from PVC piping, the old standby among home gym enthusiasts, who trust in PVC's sturdiness despite its low cost.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 8 PVC 2-inch end caps
  • 8 PVC 2-inch T joints
  • 4 PVC 2-inch 90-degree elbow joints
  • PVC primer and bond
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Black marker
  • PVC saw
  • Two 18-foot PVC 2-inch pipe lengths

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  1. 1

    Lay each 18-foot piece out on a flat and stable work surface, then measure and mark each of the following increments: four 3-foot lengths, eight 2-foot lengths and eight 6-inch lengths. Cut accordingly, then divide the pieces into separate piles to avoid confusion when assembling.

  2. 2

    Begin building the top grip surface by priming and bonding one end of one of the 3-foot lengths: swab some primer generously over the end, then use the brush included with the bond to apply the liquid over the primed surface. Insert the prepared end into one of the 90-degree elbow joints, then prep the other end and attach another 90-degree joint, taking care so that both openings in the joints point in the same direction.

  3. 3

    Prep the ends of two 2-foot pieces and insert their prepped ends into the open holes on the elbow joints. Prime and bond the ends of these 2-foot pieces and attach a T joint to each end. You want the T joints attached vertically so that the short side holes of the joints point in toward one another.

  4. 4

    Prep the ends of another 3-foot piece and insert it into the T joint's side holes. You should now have a rectangular shape that has an exposed T-joint hole on each bottom end.

  1. 1

    Create the support base for the grip surface by prepping one end of two 2-foot pieces and inserting each one into the exposed holes on the T joints on the bottom of the rectangle. Prep the ends of these 2-foot pieces.

  2. 2

    Attach a T joint to each of the prepped ends, but turn the T joints so that they're perpendicular to the 3-foot pieces. Prep one end of one of the 6-inch pieces and insert into one of the T-joint holes. Repeat until all remaining holes of all the T joints have a 6-inch piece in them.

  3. 3

    Prep the remaining ends of the 6-inch pieces and attach end caps to each one. You now have a completed freestanding parallel bar. Repeat all the above steps to make the final bar, thus creating the set. Sand the top surface to create a more textured grip area.

Tips and warnings

  • The bars described here are freestanding and can be situated to accommodate persons with varying shoulder widths. To make the bars stationary, simply attach two 2- to 3-foot pieces on the inside base in lieu of using 6-inch pieces. This will make the parallel bars one cohesive unit rather than two separate bars.
  • Don't use the bars for Olympic-style swinging or injury may result.

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