The monkey bars are a well known gymnastic and playground fixture. A basic ladder is supported horizontally by attaching it to the wall, posts or columns. The athlete launches himself underneath the ladder and with one hand grasps the first rung of. Suspended from the first rung he or she then swings toward the next. After the grasp, you release the first rung, and then swing your body so your free arm reaches for the third rung.
Repeating this hand over hand movement you travel the length of the ladder by suspending yourself and moving from rung to rung, and then reverse direction and travel back. The horizontal rungs are also used for pull-ups, chin-ups, and various hanging exercises. This easy to use wall ladder can be installed inside or out, and provides a balanced form of exercise for upper body muscles.
The first registered use of wall ladders in gymnastics goes back to the late 1700s. It appears that sometime between 1778 and 1793, Johann Jacob Du Toot, while teaching at the Philanthropinum in Dessau, Germany, brought in the oblique ladder as an apparatus physical education purposes. He advocated walking up and down the rungs of the ladder without using the hands, swinging from its underside and climbing hand-over-hand.
Johann Christophe Friedrich Guts Muth, who taught at the Schnepfenthal Educational Institute until the early 1830s, benefited from Du Toit's recommendations at the Philanthropinum, since the Schnepfenthal Institute was designed to imitate the Dessau facility. In the late 1700s, he used the ladder as Du Toit had recommended and stood it against a wall for student exercises. Ernst Eiselen first used the horizontal wall ladder as an exercise device and it can still be found in many gyms and on even more playgrounds. Somewhat later, Adolf Spiess utilized the horizontal ladder as the main apparatus for girl’s fitness. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was the first to use the wall ladder as parallel bars, after removing the rungs to develop strength for vaulting or side (pommel) horse exercises.
In the mid 1800s Jahn did much to re-introduce gymnastics into German education model and became known as the ‘father of gymnastics’. Jahn introduced the horizontal wall ladder into a physical education for children in the name of German unity and fitness. As societies industrialize and populations increased, land became scarce and when playgrounds were invented in the late 19th century the popularity of the wall ladder skyrocketed.
Today the wall ladder is used by athletes, children, adults and seniors to improve agility, upper body strength, confidence, spatial awareness, and endurance. Our wall ladder is an easily installed piece of fitness equipment that can be used by the whole family for decades inside or out.