parallel bars

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


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