Believe it or not, monkey bars are one of the most effective workout equipment you can use at your home or in the gym you go to. What makes them so endearing is the plethora of bodyweight exercises that you can do with them. With that said, this article includes the 5 most effective exercises that you can do with the monkey bar to tone, strengthen and stretch your muscle groups and body in general. They are also accompanied by the suggestion of the reps and monkey bar sets you can do. However, it depends on your flexibility and overall strength. 

5 Best exercises to practice with the monkey bar sets

1. Hand over hand

Hand over hand is one of the most basic exercises that you can do with the monkey bar. For this, you’ll have to keep your arms straight but make sure that you don’t lock your elbows. Now, slowly make your way across the monkey bars. 

Once you reach the end, repeat the process again. This helps in strengthening your grip and toning your shoulders. If you’re an amateur then you can begin with 5 sets and then slowly move your way upwards.

2. Bar muscle-ups

There are a variety of ways in which you can practice bar muscle-ups, such as underhand grip, switching grips, wide grip, etc. If you want to opt for the most basic muscle up, you can do a kipping pullup. In order to master that, you need to begin by placing your hands in an overhand grip, but slightly wider than your shoulders

Now, pull back your legs gently and then muster all the energy that you have to pull yourself above. Make sure that your chest is also over the bar. Once the chest is over the bar, extend your arms to make your waist approximately parallel with the bar. 

With the help of momentum, you can drop down gently. If you’re an amateur, you can start with one to five reps and five sets while maintaining proper posture.

3. Pull-ups

The three types of pull-ups that you can do with the help of a monkey bar playset are basic pull-ups, lateral moving pull-ups, and side-to-side swinging pull-ups. 

Basic pull-ups: 

To do a basic pull-up with a monkey bar, you need to start by grasping the bar with an overhand grip. Make sure that your legs are straight, don’t lock your knees and your glutes, as well as your core, are engaged. 

Once you’ve done all that, slowly raise your chin above the bar. This process of raising your chin gently is called tactical style pull-up. This exercise is not only for toning and strengthening your legs and hands, but it’s also good for your core and glutes as they are engaged. 

Lateral moving pull-ups: 

To do lateral moving pull-ups, you need to swing from left to right, laterally moving across the parallel bars. If you’re a beginner, you can start with five reps on each side and five sets. 

Side-to-side swinging pull-ups: 

Almost similar to lateral moving pull-ups, side-to-side swinging pull-ups only differ when it comes to the swinging part. For this, you need to swing your legs from side to side while you practice a pullup on one side and then on the other side. Side-to-side swinging pull-ups help in strengthening your grip and toning your overall body.

4. Bar kips

Now, this one is a bit complicated. So stay with us till the end. 

  • For this exercise, you need to start from the bottom of a pull-up position where your legs are completely straight. 
  • Now, from that position, start by swinging your body and clench your glutes and your belly. Keep your both legs moderately before you. 
  • This hollow position with every part of your body squeezed and tightened resembles the alphabet C. 
  • Once you achieve that, you need to pull back your body with a force so that your chest moves forward and the rest of the body moves forward but your legs move backward, like an inverted C.

This is the first rep. You need to continue alternating between these two positions until you can see above the bar. Once you are successful in seeing above the bar, you need to pull yourself to the bar and then with a swift motion pull yourself away. You’ll drop down in a hanging position which is your resting position. 

You can begin by five to ten reps with ten sets of this exercise.

5. Bar dips

For doing bar dips, first, you need to start by keeping your upper body above the monkey bar and aligning your hips with the upper part of the body. To get here, you will have to practice a muscle up first. If not a muscle-up, you can simply climb the ladder and start with this exercise.  

Once you’ve positioned yourself accordingly, you will have to grasp the main parallel bars and lower your body in such a way that your arms are at a right angle. To know that your posture is right, you’ll have to keep the chest parallel to the bars and then extend it fully.

If you’re still a beginner, you can begin this exercise by practicing five sets with five reps each. 

These are some of the best exercises you can practice with the help of the monkey bar. However, while practicing these exercises, rest is an essential component that should not be forgotten. You can rest in between the exercises depending upon the stamina and strength your body has. 

If you’re practicing intense workouts with this bar, the rest of at least 5 minutes is important. However, if you’re working on mild or moderate levels, a rest of one minute or so is required. Resting will pump your body with more energy and strength which will help in developing your muscle size. 

Make sure that you practice these exercises with precaution. Don’t overdo yourself. Go slow. 

Recommended reading: 7 Bicep Exercises That You Can Try At Home