You may have probably seen a piece of ladder-like equipment in your gym and wondered what the heck it is. It seems very underwhelming and unappealing: a short ladder mounted on a wall doesn’t seem to pose any substantial challenge at all.
That’s where most of us are wrong. Stall bars are actually a great addition to develop your coordination skills, flexibility, and training your core. These are also great for resistance training and have been used by professionals for callisthenics.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about stall bars, their uses, and benefits as well as how to spot the best stall bars in the market today. Read on to find out more.
Best Stall Bars For Home Gym Setups Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Swedish Ladder Wood Stall Bar Suspension Trainer||Limitless XVP Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
|Vita Vibe VSB Series- 36" Wide Stall Bars||Vista Vibe||Check Price on Amazon|
|3B Scientific Eucalyptus Wood Stall Bar||3B Scientific||Check Price on Amazon|
|SportBaby Wooden Swedish Ladder||SportBaby||Check Price on Amazon|
|Dani LLC Wall Bars||Dani LLC||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Limitless XVP Fitness Swedish Ladder Wood Stall Bar Suspension Trainer
On the XVP, you’ll find eleven rods that are more than sufficient to allow different kinds of training. This can be used as a gymnastics ladder, stretch bar, and training equipment that can be added to your home gym.
The protruding chin-up bar allows more ranges of movements. I like that it also comes with a suspension strap. The manufacturer boasts of one its high-quality wood make. Though I honestly find it questionable as they didn’t even say what kind of wood it is.
The stall bar has a width of 32” and a height of 7’8” so it will definitely fit in any standard-sized door frame. The manufacturer didn’t say any weight capacity but reviews recommend no more than 150 pounds.
#2 - Vita Vibe VSB Series- 36" Wide Stall Bars
Vita Vibe promotes the vitality of dance and fitness through its products. Initially, their target market were dancers, ballerinas, and gymnasts with their high-quality barrett, but have evolved to create more products for other fitness needs. Their VSB variant is not one to miss.
Creating the foundation are two heavy gauge steel on both sides of the ladder. This is one of the few ladders which have steel bars and I like how this ensures that the wooden rungs have sufficient support in order to allow you to execute a wide range of movements. It’s nicely coated with powder giving off a matte yet textured finish.
The rungs are evenly spaced at 8”, and the chin-up bar is at the same distance in front of the frame. On the other hand, the distance from the wall to the bar itself after mounting is at 5”.
Additionally, the rungs are made of Natural Ashwood that’s been sanded and has a ½ inch diameter for easier gripping.
When properly installed the VSB can carry up to 300 lbs. Key is proper installation. The manufacturer recommends that a backer board be used for mounting this. They also do not recommend to stud mount it as it isn’t the safest or most secure way to mount.
You can also explore the idea of mounting multiple stall bars side by side for bigger wall space to work out. Lastly, you have a 10 year warranty when you purchase the SVB.
#3 - 3B Scientific Eucalyptus Wood Stall Bar
The whole ladder is made of rock-solid eucalyptus which is a kind of wood that is resistant to decay and rotting. Despite this, it is very soft to the touch and very smooth so you won’t be expecting any calluses from prolonged usage.
I like how the makers have also given a lot of thought to this product as they knew the wood wouldn’t be able to handle colder conditions very well so they coated the whole ladder with an anti-humidity sealer.
The rungs are 1.5” in diameter and the wall studs are about 12” apart which creates sufficient enough space for movement. Mounting hardware is included when you purchase one. This has a weight capacity of 250 lbs.
#4 - SportBaby Wooden Swedish Ladder
Now this is one stall bar that’s redefining what versatility means. Sportbaby is a brand that makes clothes, bags and toys for babies. Now, this either ensures the durability of this product or may imply otherwise.
You’ll find a lot of things when you purchase this product: there’s the stall bar itself, rope, rings, rope swings, rope ladder, and a detachable makeshift bar for kids. This was actually designed with the idea of incorporating a jungle gym and stall bars in mind. Personally, it is overwhelming.
Let’s focus on the stall bar itself: this has a 31.5” width and has 10 rungs. The manufacturer claims that this can carry 280 lbs. However, to be honest, with all the accessories it has, it may carry a lot less.
This is built from combined wood pine and high quality beech wood. The wood is made smooth with varnish and lacquer, so you’re sure not to get any stubs on this.
While you really get more than what you pay for, they might be overcompensating. I’ve read some reviews that this doesn’t come with sufficient instructions to assemble. And with all the things this came with, assembling this would be like solving a jigsaw puzzle.
#5 - Dani LLC Wall Bars
Dani is made from the same wood: beech and pine. The whole frame is made from pine while the horizontal beams are made of beech wood. The manufacturer boasts of its durability, especially how it is exceptionally smooth and soft to the touch.
Similar to the Sportsbaby, you’ll need more than 87 inches room height in order to fit this wall bar in. The 31 inch width gives enough room for movement. The manufacturer promises ease of installation and assembly while claiming that this is your safest bet when it comes to wall bars.
I have mixed feelings about this product as there are users who claim that it arrived rough and needed sanding.
My Number One Pick
What To Look Out For When Buying Stall Bars For Your Gym
Stall bars are called a variety of things: Swedish bars, Swedish ladders, wall ladders, wall bars. Regardless of what you want to call it, it’s basically a wide ladder, ideally about 91 centimeters wide, 8 feet in height.
Usually, these are mounted to the wall and have round rungs of ‘ladder steps’ on it. It’s made with a kind of wood that may vary per manufacturer.
A Touch Of History On Stall Bars
Let’s backtrack a little bit: how did wide ladders start to become a piece of popular fitness equipment for gymnasts, ballerinas, athletes, the military, and therapists alike?
In the early 18th century, gymnastics meant differently to how we know it now. Back then, gymnastics was the word used for physical education, generally to describe any kind of sport.
It was the father of gymnastics, Johan Guts Muths, who first used a 20-foot-high wooden ladder in order to train a group of young boys. On this ladder he had tied ropes on it, a climbing pole, and a rope ladder, turning it into a versatile piece of equipment.
Following suit were Per Henrik Ling who introduced the concept of therapy for arthritis through stall bars. The US army adapted this in the 1960’s actually building Therapeutic Gymnasiums and among the equipment found there were stall bars. As they say, the rest was history.
Exercises You Can Do On Stall Bars
As versatile equipment, there are tons to do on stall bars. Some may include:
1. Human Flag
Seems simple enough? Think again. This is an extremely efficient isolation exercise that leverages your control, strength, and stability. This exercise alone can give you strong and well-defined abs.
2. Tuck Human Flag
You can consider the tuck human flag as the easier variation of the human flag. When you tuck your legs in, this reduces some of the pressure from your core, which helps the exercise to become a fraction easier.
3. Leg and Knee Raises
Like the human flag, this one can be a great way to train your core as well. Pick out a nice spot for you and ensure that your feet aren’t touching the floor.
The key here is to execute without swinging for momentum to maximize the benefits of this exercise. While this may look simple (yet again), it is definitely hard. So don’t fret if you’re not doing it as fast as you want to; work for small progress each day.
4. Front Support
This one tests the strength of your arms. You lean in to the wall bar and support yourself with your arms alone. The front support exercise can help strengthen your triceps, shoulders and lats.
5. Dragon Flags on Stall Bars
The Dragon Flag works for the same muscle groups like the human flag with a greater emphasis on the shoulders and legs.
You start doing this in a comfortable lying position with your legs straightened out. Slowly, you lift your legs from your back and try to raise it until you’re at a vertical position, your feet pointing towards the ceiling.
At that point, you bring down your legs back again to go back to the starting position. It’s critical that you do this as slow as possible in order to maximize the benefits of the movements
Other Points To Consider When Buying Stall Bars
While stall bars are a great way to build strength, flexibility and coordination, there are a lot of precautionary measures you need to consider before setting one up at home.
1. What height is right for me?
Determining the appropriate stall bar height and width for you is critical for you to be able to execute lots of exercises on it.
Imagine you’re around 140cm, if your stall bar is at 160 cm, that will definitely inhibit you from doing some exercises especially those that require your arms above your head or feet pointing towards the ceiling.
One formula to compute for a correct stall bar height is to take your measurement from your feet up to your fingers when your arms are raised. Adding five or six rungs to that measurement would suffice.
2. What shape of the rung is right for me?
So there are two kinds of rungs: oval and round-shaped ones. In terms of choosing which is for you, this actually boils down to your preference.
What I can tell you is that there are certain exercises that can be done more comfortably on an oval rung, and vice versa. Hanging leg lifts, for instance, I would personally prefer oval rungs to use as it gives me a flatter surface to rest my hand against.
For this, I recommend you test out both rungs first and start deciding from there.
3. What kind of rung material do you prefer?
Most manufacturers use wood rungs. If I was choosing, I’d recommend you look for beech, maple, or ash wood. These are better quality materials and will last long despite use.
You would also want to consider how the rung is attached. Some use glue and this is very risky on your end as this could easily mean that at any point it can pop from the frame. Look for ones that are screwed as these are safer.
4. Do you have a spot to install it in?
Before you buy your stall bar, check your walls. Your walls should be weight resistant and can carry your weight including the stall bar. Also, I would recommend finding a good spot with good lighting.
There are also two methods in which you can install your stall bars: wall-mount or rack-mount:
- Wall-mount system
As it suggests, this stall bar is installed by drilling holes on a wall and mounting your bars on there. Most stall bars are set up using this system.
- Rack Mount
Other manufacturers offer a rack where you can install your stall bars on. Usually, you’ll fasten your stall bars using screws and the whole rack itself is securely screwed on the floor.
5. How do you assemble it?
Most user reviews either rave about the ease of assembly or curse the manufacturer swearing never to buy from them again. Assembly is expected to be easy with clear instructions.
All hardware should be smooth and pre-drilled for your convenience. Otherwise, you would need to do all the smoothing and drilling on your own, which was not what you paid for.
6. What's the warranty offer?
Of course, we cannot forget about the warranty. Always ask for the warranty as this will save you a lot of money in case your stall bar is damaged.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stall Bar Setups
Q: Which is better: coated rungs or uncoated rungs?
A: There are pros and cons for both. Coated rungs are covered with polyurethane which is easier to clean and offers protection for the wood underneath it. On the other hand, uncoated ones are more challenging to clean and usually absorb sweat which leaves an unpleasant odor over time. However, it is easier to grip. Considering how it will be used, be it commercial or home gym would determine which one is better for you.
Q: Why is the gap between the wall bar and the upper bar too far apart?
A: The main purpose of this is to give you enough space for your shoulders during exercises when you have your back against the wall. The gap also enables you to hold on to the upper bar better.
Stall bars are one of the best tools you can have in your gymnastics program or any fitness program.
It can help develop your core and arm strength while training your coordination, flexibility, and total body control. Besides that, it is also a great stretching tool and will allow you to correct your posture or alignment issues.
There is a rich history behind stall bars and there is a reason why it’s regaining back its popularity. What do you think of buying one for your home gym? Do you think you’ll be able to do a human flag?
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.