Purchasing premade gymnastics equipment is expensive and if you have a dedicated gymnast who wants to practice her handstands, dips and routines even after the gymnastics locale has shut down for the night, you know that unless you want to jeopardize your furniture, something needs to be done. The answer is to simply learn how to make gymnastics equipment yourself. Follow these steps and you will learn how to make the most versatile piece of equipment—parallettes--with just a few lengths of PVC pipe and the tools you already have around the home.
Cut the seven foot piece of PVC pipe with the saw as follows: two pieces at 1.5 feet each, 12 pieces at 5 inches in length
Attach an elbow joint to each end of the 1.5’ of PVC pipes.
Attach a 5” piece of PVC pipe to each elbow joint. You now have two long pieces of PVC pipe that look a lot like handle bars.
Add a T joint to each of the 5” pieces of PVC pipe. You will use two T joints per handlebar.
Connect one piece of 5” PVC pipe to each end of the T joints. Per handlebar you will attach two pieces per T joint, making it four pieces per handlebar at the joints. You now have two handlebars that are attached to a set of stabilizers that prevent them from falling over.
Test the setup to make sure everything is even and feels right. If the parallettes are too tall, now is the time to shorten the pieces of PVC pipe between the elbow and the T joints. Test it again if you make adjustments.
Take apart your parallettes by removing the T joints from the pieces of pipe that are attached to the elbow joints.
Glue the elbow joints to the long piece of the pipe with the liquid nails. Let this dry completely. Glue together the T joints and the small pieces attached to them at either end. Attach the end caps and glue them on as well. Let this part of the gymnastics equipment dry as well.
Mix the quick drying concrete. Slowly pour it into the top pieces of the parallettes via the elbow joints. Next, pour the concrete into the bottom portions via the opening of the T joints.
Allow the concrete to set but not completely dry! Apply a bit of liquid nails around the T joint opening and quickly place the top of the parallettes over the bottom portion.
Adding concrete is an optional step and not necessary for a little girl who might only be about 50 pounds soaking wet. For a full grown male gymnast, however, it is a good idea to reinforce the PVC setup.
Always check the parallettes for stress fractures, especially when they are not concrete reinforced.