Parallel bars is a gymnastics apparatus that was invented back in 19th century. The bars are made of wood, are two in number, are oval in cross section, and as the name implies they are in parallel.
In gymnastics, the parallel bars competition is performed by men exclusively. The event comprises predominantly of swing and vaults. Release and re-grasping of the bars is needed along with movement below the bars.
A routine is performed on parallel bars and it requires various elements depending on the competitive level of gymnasts. A typical performance consists of swinging skills in a support position, an upper arm position and a hanging position.
Parallel bar routines, at times, feature a static hold skill. Each routine ends when the gymnast dismounts from the side of the apparatus or from end of bars.
If the elements are not performed exactly, score deductions are made. Examples of specific deductions are if the hand position is adjusted in the handstand and not being able to control swing elements.
- Artistic Gymnastics — an Olympic sport where gymnasts perform short routines on different apparatus, such as the Vault, Floor (men and women), Pommel Horse, Rings, Parallel Bars, High Bar (men), and Uneven Bars, Balance Beam (women).
- Horizontal Bar — artistic gymnastics event also known as high bar, where athletes perform aerial stunts on a horizontal bar.
- Uneven Bars — an artistic gymnastics apparatus used only by female gymnasts comprising a pair of parallel bars set at different heights. (also called or asymmetric bars).