parallel bars

uneven parallel bars

Event in women's gymnastics in which a pair of wooden bars supported horizontally above the floor at different heights is used to perform acrobatic feats. The apparatus allows a great variety of movements, but hanging and swinging exercises predominate. It became an Olympic event in 1936. Seealso parallel bars.

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Paul Hamm (U.S.) competing on the parallel bars during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Event in men's gymnastics in which a pair of wooden bars supported horizontally above the floor at the same height is used to perform acrobatic feats. Competitors combine swings and vaults with stationary positions requiring strength and balance, though swings and vaults must predominate. It has been included as an Olympic gymnastics event since the modern games began in 1896. Seealso uneven parallel bars.

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Two parallel bars form an artistic gymnastics apparatus only used by male gymnasts. The bars are supported by a metal or steel frame. The bars are made of wood or plastic or composite material. Routines consist of a wide variety of different skills through which the gymnast must meet specific requirements. A typical performance on parallel bars will involve swinging skills in a support position (on the hands), a hanging position, and an upper arm position; by manipulating each of these swings, a gymnast is capable of performing a variety of flips and turns. Additionally, parallel bar routines sometimes feature a strength or static hold skill. Finally, each routine ends with an impressive dismount which can be performed off the ends of the bars or off the side of the apparatus. A common, simple dismount is a back off where a gymnast begins by swinging forward in a front support between the bars and executes a backflip that travels laterally over one of the bars to a stand next to the apparatus.


Measures of the apparatus are published by the FIG in the Apparatus Norms brochure.

  • Height 200 cm (including about 20 cm landing mats)
  • Length 350 cm
  • Distance between the bars 42 cm to 52 cm (adjustable)
  • Parallel bars is a gymnastics apparatus.


The elements on parallel bars are regulated in Code of Points.

See also


External links

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