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Stall bars are also known as Swedish bars, Swedish ladders, and wall bars. They look like a simple piece of gym equipment, but they’re very useful for may exercises. This includes strength and mobility training and also exercises for physiotherapy recovery. Depending on which set of exercises you perform, they can give you a full-body workout.
Gymnastic stall bars may look familiar if you attend an exercise club, or even from the gymnasium in your school days.
They can be used in many forms of exercising, such as pilates or yoga. Those doing resistance, flexibility, and strength training have many uses of stall bars. Patients who need to rehabilitate injured or wasted muscles will find stall bars easy to use. They’re also good for climbing and coordination training.
Some stall bar exercises you may already be familiar with, such as push-ups and tricep extensions. Others may be more specific to this type of gym equipment, such as flag pole (sideways handstand), hanging knee, and handstand push-ups.
The 5 best Stall Bars:
Below we review 5 of the best stall bars available for sale online. This will help you get a better understanding of whether they’re suitable for your personal needs in your own home gym.
The VSB series has a powder-coated heavy steel frame, with a black finish. All the bars are Ash wood with a 1.5inch diameter and smoothly sanded for comfort. You can use wood preserver but it’s not advisable to stain or varnish it in any way. Use oils to keep the wood clean and strong.
The chin-up bar is removable but all the other rungs are fixed as they’re screwed into the frame. This particular model includes all fittings. It’s best mounted on a strong board or frame, but not a stud board as that’s too weak to take all the heavy movement. The distance from the wall to the back of each bar should be 5inches.
There are no other attachments currently available to add on to this frame. Vita Vibe hopes to introduce a dip station and incline board to complement this piece of gym equipment shortly.
This model is very sturdy and users are reporting that it’s easy to assemble. When you choose your height, don’t forget to allow for space between the ceiling and the pull-up bar, so you can use it.
This model comes with a 10year warranty.
The CORE series has a powder-coated 12-gauge steel frame, with a grey and black finish. The Swedish bars are made of Ashwood with a 1.5inch rounded diameter. They’re smoothly sanded down for ease of use. Use a wood preserver and oils to keep the wood healthy. Don’t use any stains or varnish as they get sticky with use.
Whilst the chin-up bar is offset by 8inches, it is also removable. The biggest difference between the CORE and the VSB series is that you can move the distance of each bar, as they’re not fixed.
The package comes with full instructions and 8 – 5/16″ x 2-1/2″ Hex Head Lag Bolts, for fitting. This item is best mounted from a 2 x 6ft strong backboard, not a stud board. Stud boards are too weak to take the heavy load and the movement of the frame as you exercise. You can also mount onto brick or wooden studs that are set at 32 inches apart, using the appropriate anchors. The distance from the wall to the back of each bar will be around 3.5/8-inches. It’s the best fit indoors.
There are no other attachments available yet. Vita Vibe hopes to introduce a dip station and incline board to complement this piece of gym equipment.
These are very sturdy, and users are reporting they’re easy to assemble. When you chose your height, don’t forget to allow for the distance from your ceiling so you can use the pull-up rung.
This model comes with a 10year warranty.
With a maximum weight capacity of 400lbs, it’s no wonder this is called a gladiator bar.
The whole frame and rungs are made from Beechwood, which is very strong and viable. Each bar is 6 inches apart, other than the offset pull up bar at the top.
The kit mounts to a brick wall or wooden frame and comes with all the necessary mounts required. Bolts needed for the wall are positioned at 23” and 70” on the frame. Though it will mount to the floor. It also comes with wall spacers to allow for the gaps between the wall and frame.
It’s not recommended to use outdoors as the wood isn’t weather treated. The system is also modular, so you can fix a few of the singular frames to the wall, side by side. This creates a useful gladiator wall for exercising. Users are reporting that the frame is easy to install and the bars don’t flex or creak once you start using them.
There are many extra add-ons you can buy to get the maximum use out of your gladiator wall. You can add pulleys, ropes and dip bars. There are also numbers embossed onto the frame, which help to calculate certain stretches and other exercises.
This product comes with a 1-year warranty.
With a frame and rungs made from beechwood, the sanded round bars are fixed in place, so not adjustable. The pull-up bar is offset (set-forward) by 8.5inches from the level of the other bars. The spacing of bars is 5.5inches apart and they each sit 5inches from the wall, except the pull-up bar.
The bar frame is best fit onto wooden slats, or onto stud framing. It comes with pre-drilled holes, plus all the fittings required to mount the bar on a wall. No other additional extras are provided but you could fix your own add-ons to the bars, such as straps, rings, and pulleys.
It comes with a whopping 15year warranty.
If you only want to use the pull-up bars and not the ladders, then there’s no reason to buy the full stall bar frame. Instead, try the Perfect Fitness Progression Bar.
This has an adjustable pull-up bar, allowing for any level of fitness training. You can use the bar in 3 positions: fixed; leaning towards you at a higher level; or leaning towards you at a lower level. Whereas the pull-up bars on the stall bar frames are fixed.
You’ll also get a Navy Seal style workout poster. This should guide you through different exercises. Try the rows and lunges, or tricep presses and traditional pull-ups. The instructions advise all users from beginners to advanced levels.
The metal pull-up bar is best fixed into a door frame permanently. Once in place, it is quite compact when not in use as it folds up. The provided metal brackets are L20.5 x W1.5 inches and fix in place with the provided 2 screws for each bracket. The door will still open and shut, though it needs to be open when the bar is in use. Many users find it easy to install, though you may need a drill for speed.
This is a solid and well-constructed pull-up bar and should last many years.
What to Consider when Buying a Stall Bar
Here are a few tips for those considering purchasing a stall bar:
- How tall is your room? Make sure you have a gap at the top of the fitted bar, to allow for pull-ups.
- If it’s made of wood, look for one made from hardwood, such as beech, ash, and maple. Not the softer woods like pine.
- Consider where you will fit the stall bar, ie do you need to build a backboard or will it go into the studs? Are the holes pre-drilled in the stall bar to make it easier for you?
- Look for a stall bar whereby the rungs are fixed with screws and not glue, as these will be stronger.
- If you want to do pull-ups, then you will need a stall bar with an offset top rung.
Popular Stall Bars FAQs:
What muscles does a stall bar exercise?
There are so many different exercises you can do on a stall bar, and each one works on different parts of the body:
Works on the shoulders, biceps, chest, and even the legs if you lift them up as you hang.
Kneeling Shoulder Stretch
Works on opening up the shoulder frame and it also develops the traps and triceps.
Stretches the back and glutes in a very beneficial way and also works on the legs (hamstrings), arms and stomach muscles.
There are laps and traps exercises that work on every part of the shoulders.
You can also fix a thick elastic exercise belt to the bars. By placing the belt around different parts of your body, ie waist, legs, arms, you will work on various muscles.
Or fix rings and other add-ons for various strength muscle training exercises. You could quite easily create a full-body strength training routine by using stall bars.
Where to Mount a Stall Bar?
When fixing a Stall Bar choose a strong wall, ideally a masonry wall, or use the wall studs if you can locate them. Outside walls are generally more solid. Whereas, inside adjoining walls can be much weaker as they’re often hollow plasterboard.
As a rule, metal brackets will be good to go into concrete, or into the studs. Or, you could fix wooden strips onto the wall’s studs first, and then fix the stall bar frame onto the strips.
If you pre-assemble the stall bar outside the room where it’s to be located, make sure you can still get it through the door. Chose a room where there’s a suitable gap between the top of the stall bar and the ceiling, so you can do pull-ups.
It’s also best to install your stall bar in an area with good lighting. Here’s a useful set of instructions to put your stall bar together, ready for mounting.
How-To Use Stall Bars
Let’s look at some basic exercises that you can do on a stall bar, no matter what your level of expertise is:
Exercise 1 – Tricep Extensions
This will strengthen arm muscle, building muscle bulk if that’s what you’re aiming for.
Stand in front of the bar and grip bar 5, if you’re a beginner. The lower you place your arms on the bars, the harder you will work the muscles, but that’s for the more experienced workout.
Keeping the core taut, slowly walk backward so your body starts to lean. Go as far as you are able, and then a little bit more so that you can feel the pull on the muscles. It’s recommended that you do 5 sets of 5 reps each set. Gradually build your reps up to 15 but stay at 5 sets.
Exercise 2 – Hanging Leg Raises
To work on abdominal muscles, try this one.
Stand with your back against the bars. Raise your arms up straight, so you can grab the highest bar for your height. Once you have a firm grip, start to raise your legs as high as you can. Keeping the legs straight so it also works on your hips. Do 5 sets x 5 reps.
You can also do this with knees bent, called Hanging Knee, but it is more difficult and will work on other muscles too. This is also a good exercise for the back, keeping your spine straight.
Exercise 3 – Back Support
This is not easy for beginners, but very effective. Stand with your back to the bars. Once again, with arms raised up straight, grab the bars behind you. You can use an overhand or underhand grip, but each position works different sets of muscles in the arms.
Lift up your feet and balance them on the bottom bar. Count between 10-20 seconds, depending on how long you can do it. Push yourself to stay in that position for as long as you can. Do this 5 times.
Exercise 4 – Miscellaneous
You can also add rings and belts to the bars so you can do lifts and pull that work on different parts of the body. For example, by pulling on resistant bands that are anchored to the stall bar frame, you can increase the set of exercises available to you. Suspension pulleys are perfect for shoulder rotation and lifts.
Stepper platforms are ideal for aerobics. Knotted ropes are good for climbing skills. These are accessories you can add on to your fixed stall bars for strength training and injury rehabilitation.
Always take a couple of minutes rest between each different exercise.
See this useful video that takes you through various stall bar exercises.
Stall bars are an ideal addition to any gym, so long as you have the right kind of walls to fit them. Poorly fitted stall bars can cause serious injury if they come away while you’re exercising. It’s essential to follow the instructions as you fit your stall bars to the right type of walls.
If you’re creating your own indoor gym, stall bars are a must. You could also look at adding a dip station to complement the exercises you do on the stall bars.
Another ideal piece of gym equipment for the home gym is a foldable weight bench. See our review on the Bowflex Adjustable Bench. Not only does it fold up compactly, but it also has wheels for easy mobility. With added leg braces, it means you can continue to exercise, even with a knee injury. You can brace the legs securely to the bench and continue with your workout, putting less strain on the injured area.