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Fans Guide To Parallel Bars

If you have not already read Fans Guide to the Code of Points - please do so as it will make this all much clearer.



Parallel Bars are an often underappreciated apparatus in Mens Gymnastics. Two bars are 180 cm (~5' 10") off the ground - gymnasts swing under the bars, on top of the bars, on their upper arms, release - flip - and recatch, and generally end with a high-flying dismount. It is an incredibly challenging event and is beautiful to watch when performed well.


At the Elite level, a great PB score is 15.6 and higher.


The 5 Element Groups that must be completed are:


  1. Elements in support or through support on 2 bars
  2. Elements starting in upper arm position
  3. Long swings in hang on 1 or 2 bars
  4. Underswings (hard to explain - anyone have some clarity here?)
  5. Dismount



Here is a sample routine from one of the worlds best on parallel bar- Li xiaopeng (China):




Scores from the 2007 World Championships


2007 World Gymnastics Championships
Men’s Parallel Bars Final
A B Score  
1 PETKOVSEK Mitja SLO 6.800 9.450 16.250
1 KIM Dae Eun KOR 6.800 9.450 16.250
3 FOKIN Anton UZB 6.700 9.500 16.200
4 YOO Won Chul KOR 6.800 9.175 15.975
5 HUANG Xu CHN 7.100 8.850 15.950
6 YANG Wei CHN 7.000 8.900 15.900
7 HOSHI Yosuke JPN 6.500 9.350 15.850
8 CUCHERAT Yann FRA 6.500 8.850 15.350



Notable Skills or Sequences done under the 2004-2008 Code of Points:

  • Peach Basket. This skill, when done to handstand, is a D value skill and fufills the element group 4 category. It has several permutations. All start with the athlete swinging under the bars with his hands near his hips or things and then shoots to handstand. A peach is the first skill of Li xiaopeng' sPB routine above. His second skill also uses the basic characteristics of a peach, but adds a full turn. This increases the difficulty from a D to an F and does not count against the athlete for repetition of skills. An athlete can also do it with a half turn for a E.
  • Belle. This fulfills element group 3 and if done in the tuck position, it is an E. If performed in a pike, it is an F. Li xiaopeng does both the E and the F Belle in the routine above. He does the tuck belle as his 9th skill and the pike belle as his 4th skill. For this element, the athlete will swing from handstand and fall until he is hanging on the bars. He will then kick his legs up and do a double backflip to his upper arms.
  • Healy. This is a D value skill where the athlete starts in a handstand and done one full turn on one arm as he lets his back and legs fall over his head. He will then recatch in support (or upper arm for a C). Li xiaopeng does this skill directly before his double front in the piked position.
  • Straddle Front 1 1/4. This skill has a D value. The gymnast will flip forward in the straddle position an land on their upper arms. This skill can also be done where the gymnast catches with both hands in a dip swing for an E. It can Xiaopeng does this skill immediately after his tuck belle.



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Gymnastics Huddle › Articles › Fans Guide To Parallel Bars