Stall Bar Exercises
Stall bars, also known as the Swedish bars, have become more popular over the years by workout enthusiasts. Gymnastics strength training in itself is becoming increasingly more popular over the years, and that is exactly where the Swedish bars get their origins. They were invented in the 19th century by a Swedish teacher who was chronically suffering from arthritis. He later invented the wall bars in an effort to relieve himself of his struggles, only to learn that his efforts were effective. Later, it was found that the Swedish bars were a great resource for gymnasts when it came to conditioning, building muscle, developing flexibility and maintaining a sense of mobility. Gymnasts who train using the stall bars have been able to drastically increase their competitive scores and their agility when it comes to performance (3). The use of these bars have even been said to be used for rehabilitation efforts in a physical therapy setting, much like it was originally intended. They also found use of the stall bars for pre-rehabilitation efforts worked in the prevention of injuries and improvement of alignment within the body, while correcting posture and balance (1).
The idea behind the use of stall bars is that you can simultaneously use your bodyweight to train your body into building muscle, maintaining mobility and increasing flexibility. The stall bar is made of sturdy wood and is built to withstand the weight of people without failing. Like a ladder, securely attached to a wall, you can successfully perform leg raises, chin ups, and for a more difficult exercise, sideways hand stands.
There are many benefits to the use of stall bars, but in order to be rewarded those benefits, you must be disciplined, committed and determined. Stall bars are difficult to use, so the beginning will certainly be challenging because the progression will be difficult to perform. Finding the exercises that are right for you based off of your fitness goals are important. Depending on your goals, the use of stall bars can definitely build strength, muscle and cause you to burn fat and lose weight, however, one downside is that the use of stall bars does not allow added weight progression as you advance through your routine. Sure, you could add wrist and ankle weights if you’d like, but that will only get you so far. If you are looking for body building type muscle, any type of gymnastics exercise, stall bars or no stall bars, chances are, you won’t get those results simply from this type of workout. As mentioned, that’s partly because in order to get bigger you need to increase weights, slowly over time, to build the desired amount of muscle. But, if you are looking for a relaxing way to keep yourself flexible, mobile and maintain your current strength, then the stall bar routine can benefit you. The strength and mobility gained from the use of stall bars can make other workouts more effective and efficient, as well.
The biggest benefit you can receive from the use of stall bars is the versatility that the exercise allows. There is more than one exercise that can be performed, and there are many variations available for each exercise for the ultimate and complete workout that you can make harder over time. The only downside, again, is that eventually you can plateau, and eventually you will reach a point of maintenance as opposed to gains. However, the most beneficial exercise notably is the hanging leg lift. If done properly, the stall bar prevents shoulders from rolling backwards, for a more effective core and trunk workout. Other exercises like the side lever pull can even increase pike flexibility. There are other supportive workouts like back support exercises and front support exercises; both allow you to isolate your front from your back to focus more on back strength or frontal strength. Being able to isolate the front from the back can allow a sense of symmetry. If you feel as though your back is pretty strong, but your abs and front are lacking, the bar strength can bring the other side up to speed for optimum core strength. (4)
As far as physical therapy is concerned, the use of stall bars has been used, as mentioned, for relieving arthritis and even symptoms of scoliosis. Various hanging exercises have been proven to be beneficial for those who have experienced various types of ailments and pain. As you may or may not know, since most exercises performed on the stall bar focus on core strength and hamstring flexibility, improving those muscles and flexibility can and will improve posture and pain by further developing the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your body daily (4).
If you think you have what it takes to be disciplined enough to take on the challenge of training with a stall bar, then chances are, you are about to embark on a journey for a better body that will lead to more effective workouts with other machines and routines. The use of a stall bar is a great way to warm up and get your body moving and perfectly aligned to condition it for your workout regimen. Although, it’s not a good source for bodybuilding, it is a great resource to improve your athletic performance elsewhere, while improving your physical wellbeing, alignment and flexibility. The use of a stall bar can further prevent physical injury that you would otherwise be subject to without the use of the bar, when participating in other fitness routines. If your goals are simply for a more conditioned body and a core strength that you can’t get from any machine or crunch, than the use of a stall bar is definitely for you. Or, if you suffer from arthritic conditions, back pain, or other physical ailments that hold you back from being able to complete or even endure regular fitness workouts, the stall bar and its exercises can certainly offer the relief you need to be able to keep up with the demands of physical workouts, painlessly and effectively.