Your guide to conquering the Monkey Bars!
One of the popular obstacles in many mud runs is the good old monkey bar. Some have inclines and declines in them, others just go straight across, today we discuss how to train to hang like a chimp from the bar!
First of all lets just familiarise ourselves with the Monkey bars or even the hang tough obstacles.
The Tough Mudder version usually starts with an incline before you decline to finish. They also have Hang Tough, similar to the Gladiators TV series. Spartan throw in the extra long course usually.
For complete beginners to novices alike I have a few hints and tips to help you incorporate into your training plan, to ensure that you can show off on the day in style!
Before we discuss further we need to quickly discuss the muscles that you generally use on the monkey bars – Forearms, Latisimus Dorsi, Deltoids, Biceps, abdominals and obliques. Any training that you do to strengthen these muscles will no doubtingly help you in conquering the bars.
Does your gym or local park have monkey bars? Most modern gyms have introduced rigs with TRX etc hanging on them. These tend to have a monkey bar set up.
The best and most effective form of training will quite simply be to DO THE MONKEY BARS!
Find somewhere to practice, and get good at it! I know that sounds a bit simple but it actually is! Have a rest day in between but hit these bars regularly. What works best if you are a beginner is to aim for say 20. For novices try going higher at 45-55.
Even if you can only do one at a time, aim for these numbers. Try to do some of the below at least once a week:
1. Wide arm pull ups all the way to narrow grip. Vary it all the way! See chin up widget here.
2. one handed hangs for 30 seconds.
3. Jump up and pull yourself up to chin level, and lower yourself slowly (Best for beginners) (see chin up, descend slowly)
4. Hanging leg raises –
5. Just hang for as long as possible. (as per one handed hang, but with two!)
If you need more try to perform the above wearing weight belts or attaching weights to yourselves, alternatively if you need more help you can purchase strength bands and use them to help.
All the above will help you build strength and develop your grip and basically force your body to adapt to the struggles of the monkey bars. O.K. so if your gym or local park doesn’t have somewhere to train on monkey bars then you’re going to have to be a bit more clever about things.
A good exercise if you have a TRX machine is to do some TRX pull ups, these are shown below.
You will also benefit by performing Lat Pull downs such as the one below:
Try to incorporate some of these into your training plan to prepare your body for the dreaded monkey bars!