Best Rogue Monkey Bars
Ah, monkey bars. Remember those from childhood? We spent hours hauling our bodies across and under them, holding on until our hands and wrists were sore, building our upper body strength while it just felt like we were having fun. If you fell off and got the wind knocked out of you, that was just part of the excitement.
If you’re like us, of course, you’ve become too big and tall to use the monkey bars at your neighborhood playground. Besides, there are usually kids waiting to use them, and breaking in line is just rude. Luckily for us adult functional fitness junkies, Rogue Fitness has given the basic monkey bar rig an adult-sized upgrade.
While it is possible to add monkey bars to your home gym, the product is naturally suited to group fitness facilities. Let’s take a climb on the Rogue Fitness Monster Lite Monkey Bar Rig and see what this mammoth welded steel frame has to offer. It isn’t just about the climbing and pulling–the rig includes enough bench press and squat stations to keep members of any CrossFit class competing with each other and getting stronger.
24’ long by 6’ wide by 9’ tall, enough for multiple users and plenty of challenge
Pull up bars, throughout the frame, are textured for grip enhancement
3 by 3” 11 gauge steel construction, same as most Rogue racks
8 nine foot uprights and 4 12 foot uprights, for racking weights and climbing
Powder coat satin black finish for durability
24 1.25 inch monkey bars across a distance of 70 inches, each with laser cut steel and no rough edges
Monkey bars gradually get higher off ground towards center, for greater challenge
Quite expensive and too big for most home gyms
Can’t be installed outside
Right now, the Monkey Bar rig only comes in black. It has a black satin finish that will resist rust, corrosion, and moisture. Rogue doesn’t say you can’t put the rig outside, but we suggest indoor use only. The steel will not stand up against rain and weather extremes as it is not designed for that kind of use. We found several competing products with a choice of colors, which gym owners could use to brand their monkey bars or color-code parts of it by difficulty or muscle group.
The rig, at its heart, is a serious upgrade to Rogue’s Monster Lite Pull-Up rig, which is meant primarily for boot camp classes. The Monkey Rig adds more surface area and length, as well as the gradually increasing height and challenge of the angled bars. It also adds 6 bench stations, 6 squat stations, and 10 pull up bars in addition to the actual monkey bars that form the rig’s center.
The 24 monkey bars add up to a length of 70 feet. Each bar is made of one-inch laser-cut Schedule 40 pipe. The bars are 1.25 inches thick. If you look at the unit, you can see where it starts out flat, 8 feet off the ground on the edges. The bars work their way up to 12 feet at the center, then slope back down. Traversing just from the edge to the highest point, without going all the way back down to the opposite edge, is a strenuous workout. Gym owners will need to provide a foam pad underneath the rig, for when clients and students tap out and let go Ninja Warrior style.
Monkey bars can double as pull up bars, but you also get 6 pull up bars of 43 inches each. They are complemented by 4 70-inch pull up bars. There’s no reason not to have a pull-up competition, with as many participants as desired, as far as we can see. Pull up bars are all 1.25 inches thick, like the monkey bars.
The Monkey Rig is also compatible with all Monster Lite series J-Cups and attachments, making the rig an endless platform for building all dimensions of upper and lower body strength as well as cardio endurance, since pulling one’s own bodyweight unassisted will increase heart rate.
Here are some of the activities you can do with the Monkey Rig. Many are staples of boot camp and functional fitness classes, and you may have seen them on television if you watch boot obstacle course competition shows.
Basic Monkey Bars: this is the entry point for those of us who aren’t used to monkey bars. You just hang from a bar with two arms or go upside down if you are ambitious. You can work your way towards hanging with one arm, or reach and grasp the next bar once you are comfortable. If you are tall enough, you can even keep your feet on the floor when you use the lower sections. Or have a partner stand below you to help support your feet until you feel strong enough to scale the bars on your own.
Skip-A-Bar- as the name says, you increase resistance and challenge by holding onto a bar with one arm, reaching beyond the next bar with your other arm, then grabbing hold of the third bar and swinging yourself over.
Weaving-in this variation, you move your arms across the length of the bar so that you change sides as you “walk” the bars, in a weaving pattern.
The side swing gets you challenging different muscle groups and increasing your coordination by moving laterally instead of in a forward plane of motion. Depending on your overall fitness level, the side swing may be easier than walking forward.
There are many other exercises you can try, in addition to the basic walk and walking variants. We have even seen people do upside down pushups by clinging to the underside of the bars and planting their feet. You could also do pushups on top of the bars, reducing the gravity challenge while also augmenting a regular pushup with a less stable surface.
Extras and Upgrades
The squat and bench stations, standard on the Rig, are an upgrade over typical monkey bars or jungle gyms. They allow multiple users who prefer to stay on the ground to do so, while others climb and pull themselves along using the upper structure. It is a great way for a fitness class or group of friends, to increase their strength and work towards training goals without any downtime while they wait for equipment to free up.
The Rogue Advantage
Rogue brings that same ethos to the Lite Monkey Rig 2.0. Yes, it’s expensive, and the footprint is prohibitive for small gym spaces. It’s also not something most of us would want to use alone. With multiple lifting stations and over 20 feet of climbing space, the Monkey Rig is made for group fitness either as part of a class or with friends from the neighborhood. If you are lucky enough to find a gym with an installed Monkey Rig, you will have the time of your life once you get some of the motions down and build a comfort level. Whether challenging yourself, following a teacher’s instructions or having a friendly rivalry with friends, the possibilities for fun and fitness are endless with the Rogue Lite Monkey Rig 2.0.
The Final Word
If you have that space, or if you can find a gym that does, the Monkey Rig will help you explore full-body exercises that would not be possible otherwise. It will keep you safe, even if you should lose balance, as long as the gym facility has a pad underneath the unit. As we said before, the Rig is not meant for outside use and would not be safe if used outdoors. Inside, though, its solid steel construction, polished steel bars, Rogue welds and mounting hardware, and Rogue ingenuity will push you to greater levels while keeping you comfortable and preventing injury. If you can get access to a Rogue Lite Monkey Rig 2.0, and you have a love for functional fitness, we couldn’t recommend this experience more.