Why do the Parallel Bars bend?

Well, that title asks it all. When the men work the parallel bars (in the Olympics), you will notice how much the parallel bars bend. I WAG this is to soften the blow when the “drop” and catch themselves with their arms (or armpits?) on the bars? (I’m sure there’s a technical term for this “dropping” motion.)

If this is not the reason, is there a reason these bars are not more rigid? Seems to me it’d be hard to work a routine with the bars flexing so much under you the whole time. :confused:

Actually I’d guess they help you jump.

Plus dynamic exercise really makes you ripped.

It would be really hard to make a bar that didn’t flex. Have you ever looked at the high bar when gymnasts are doing giants? It flexes like a motherfucker, and it is made out of steel.

Woa Woa Woa… those bars are made our of steel? How is that not incredibly painful to grab and hit and such like a gymnast does?

The frames are made of steel. The bars are made of composite plastics, right?

(wikipedia says
The uneven parallel bars or asymmetric bars is an artistic gymnastics apparatus. It is used only by female gymnasts. It is made of a metal or steel frame. The bars are made of wood, plastic, or composite materials. )

As a former gymnast, I can say it can be incredibly painful. They wear hand guards to provide some protection, but I have seen gymnasts rip all the skin off their palm. One of the gymnasts in Beijing was bleeding from his underarm after a P-bar set.

The high bar (also called the horizontal bar) is made from steel.

Speaking from direct experience. Definitelty steel. The gymnasts these days all wear leather grips. The grips even have dowel bars that give you extra grip. Have no fear about gymnastics becoming a pussy sport though. Tearing the skin off your hand is still such a standard part of the field that even acknowlegding the injury would be scorned. There is no remedy for that.

The bounce in both the parralell bars and the high bar is used to the gymnasts advantage. I’ve swung on playground equipment that did not bend. It’s very difficult to even do basic stuff.

Here is a few other things you didn’t know:

There are springs under the floor excersize mat. It is not just a carpet on the floor. It doesn’t do a whole lot for you, but it is a far cry from tumbling on the cement (which for some reason I was strangely good at in my day.)

There are springs holding the rings up on the ceiling. They don’t bounce a lot, but when you’ve got 150 lbs swinging all the way around it is not nothing.

there was segment on oxygen last night with bela karoli, bart connor, and nadia about how the appartus had changed from when they were in competion and now. bart mentioned the give in the bars, changes in the rings and on the floor that give the gymnast more bounce to do moves with more revolutions.

Excellent post! I’m soory I missed hearing that segment. We were wondering if the floor helped the athletes, or was it all pure strength. The floor might be that spongy-like material, I WAG, found under some indoor playgrounds (like some McD’s).

Here is a picture of what is under the floor. There are other systems, but they are all designed to add some bounce. On top of that, you will have foam, probably like what you have seen at McDonalds. On top of that you have a carpet.

Yep. Back when I was doing Martial Arts, I was part of a demo we did at a gymnastics competition. Everyone was quite pleased with the extra bounce, save one fellow who cut his foot open with his sword doing a form tha involved a jump up in the air and coming down with a slice.

The extra bounce messed him up.

Fun to do falling exercises on though!