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I admit it – I find it easy to get overly excited by gym equipment… To the point where I ordered not one but TWO pairs of Bulldog Parallettes to review for the site!
Let’s take a look at the smaller version today – I hope you enjoy the review, and if you’re on the fence choosing between the tall or short bars then maybe just do what I did and buy BOTH 🙂
Now jump in to find out why I think these are one of the best pairs of parallettes available in the UK…
At a glance…
- Tall vs short parallettes is a personal decision – the shorter version is MUCH easier to store!
- The overall design and quality of the small Bulldog parallettes is excellent
- The 38mm diameter handle is REALLY nice for spreading your weight across the hand for maximum comfort
- Priced at £55 and fit for for full commercial use, these short parallettes are great value for a premium branded product
Bulldog Small Parallettes Review
Tall vs Short Parallettes
If you have the space then the tall bars offer a bit more versatility for SOME training styles – for example I like to do full dips between them with a weighted vest on.
HOWEVER now I’ve got my hands on these small parallettes I would say they are a pretty impressive product and I am using them FAR more than I expected.
Why is this the case?
Well they are NOT THAT SMALL. Yep – that’s right. They are still clocking in at 30cm tall (12” to our American friends) so they are still high enough to let me crack on and work out properly. I’ve been doing feet-up dips with them as their height is a little MORE ideal for that as well as handstand pushups (or my butchered attempts at them!)
Another area they excel is floor work – if you use press-ups as a finisher in your workouts (try this by the way, it’s excellent) these bars really help take the strain off your wrists compared to working off the flat floor. This is quite pronounced at the END of a workout where you’ve already pressed significant volume.
Design is virtually perfect
Similar to the tall equivalents the Bulldog small parallettes have a sturdy and wide base at 30cm x 46cm. This is a much smaller footprint than the tall bars, BUT as you are 50cm closer to the ground you are EASILY as stable as the tall equivalent.
Reducing the height to 30cm has made it harder to know what to “do” with these as a beginner. As I’d been researching parallettes prior to buying I had a few things in mind (press ups, handstands, building up to L-sits, etc.) but the shorter bars are far harder to pick up and just mess around with them compared to the large bars. If I gave you the large parallettes you would naturally start to tuck-planche or similar, but on the shorter bars there is a BIT of head scratching if you aren’t prepared!
The high quality rubber feet are great – very thick rubber on each end of the foot keeps the metal raised above your floor. This is great as it means I can use them on my wooden floors without scratching them up or having them slide around. This is doubly great as it keeps my partner off my back about the floors, and stops me breaking my neck by having the stands slide out from under me!
Portability & storage
An advantage over the tall bars is that the small parallettes are easier to store – the smaller footprint and shorter height both helping to make them easier to stash away.
I’ve been keeping them overlapped at the end of my bench simply because there is space there for them and the shorter height doesn’t interfere with my plate storage (the tall bars get in the way) but the small bars would easily tuck on to a shelf somewhere when not in use.
Note that with their shorter stature and stealthy black finish these are FAR easier to trip over than tall parallettes – ask me how I know!
Identical to the large version, the shorter bars come with a 38mm diameter construction. Initially I wasn’t sure what to expect – coming from barbell sports all I really knew was 28-29mm bars! The 38mm diameter gives a wider platform to spread your weight over making it more comfortable on your hands.
Again the fit and finish is excellent – the bars are surprisingly heavy and the overall construction is robust. I was really impressed with the thick metal plates which bolt them together – these are REALLY thick, to the point where it meant i had to put some welly in to tightening the bolts that hold them together! I anticipated these areas being an easy win to cheap out on materials and was pleasantly surprised by the product.
The feet are excellent with a 50mm x 50mm box construction and chunky rubber feet to keep the metal elevated and away from your floors. They also provide a nice bit of purchase on your gym matting so the paralettes aren’t skidding around like crazy!
Build quality & branding
With parallettes the bits we’re most interested in are the handles and feet. If you can get them right then – in general – you’re on to a winner. Bulldog have pulled it out the bag on BOTH of these fronts as commented on above with excellent powder coated handles and sturdy, rubber coated feet.
Something else to consider is that these parallettes are sold for home AND commercial use. Commercial rated equipment is usually an excellent indicator for quality as the product has been designed to be used ALL day EVERY day!
With a maximum weight capacity of 125kg these bars have more than enough headroom for most people to use them even with additional weight (weight vest, holding a plate, or similar).
I find it comparatively HARDER to weight the movements on the small bars compared to the tall parallettes so weight capacity – for me at least – is less of an issue with these. This is simply because of the tall vs short arguments laid out above with the taller bars lending themselves to a wider range of movements.
There aren’t many pieces of commercial spec, high quality gym equipment available for £55 – but these parallettes are one such example! I don’t think there is much to complain about for the price and these bars represent excellent value.
BUT the one fly in the ointment is the large bar set also sold by Bulldog which comes in at only £10 more (£65 in total). If you have the space they are my preferred bars simply for the wider range of exercises that can be done by beginners.
That said if you are prefer the shorter design either for storage reasons or your training preferences then the Bulldog small parallettes are a fantastic choice and represent great value for a premium branded, commercial spec product.
As far as short parallettes go, the Bulldog Gear version are fantastic. The build quality is excellent with nice, thick bars and a very sturdy construction. Couple this with a ridiculously affordable price tag of £55 (at time of writing) and you’re on to a winner!
If you’re interested in the training avenues parallettes open up (calisthenics, bodyweight movements, holds, ab work, pushups, handstands, you name it!) then the ONLY reason I can see to NOT buy these is if you would rather have a taller set of bars!
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- THE “Bulldog Parallettes – Large” review (10/10)