What to look for when buying a stall bar
Stall bars, aka wall bars, swedish bars, or swedish wall bars, are simple in principle but vary widely in construction between manufacturers. Here are some things to consider:
Rung Shape - Most of our models make use of rungs with an ovoid profile, more or less an oval with flat sides and a rounded top and bottom. The flat faces make a more comfortable surface to lean on during stretching and hanging exercises, or your knees during some Schroth therapy exercises. They also provide a more ergonomic shape allowing for stronger grip over a longer period of time. Larger round rungs are stronger but strain the users grip strength quickly, due to "hand pump". The ovoid design results in a rung with the strength of a 1 1/2" round dowel, but feels like a more comfortable 1 3/8" dowel.
Rung Material - A frightening number of manufacturers use poplar wood rungs. The rungs are (usually) the weak link in the stall bar unit, and poplar is not up to the task. Just about all other domestic hardwoods make a more preferable material, but especially ash, beech and maple.
Rung Attachment - Some stall bars secure the rungs with glue, which can break free and allow the rung to spin. Ours are screwed to the unit through the back of the vertical rails, so they cannot spin. Furthermore most of our rungs attach to the vertical rails by mortise and tenon, which are precisely machined to give the closest fit that is still easy to assemble.
Horizontal Crossbars - Most other wall bars may attach via brackets, which limits your wall anchoring options to only the bracket locations, leading many people to have to build their own backing boards to mount the wall bar to.
When choosing a stall bar for Schroth scoliosis physical therapy:
There are additional items to consider when buying a wall bar for scoliosis therapy. How important each of these items is to you must be determined by your therapist.
Rung Spacing - When building stall bars for Schroth therapists, I'm usually asked to make the rung spacing a narrow 5 1/2", so that the patient can find the hand position that ideally leverages them into a position most suited to the exercise they are performing. I've now brought that principle to the Rangeley, Rockland, Portland, and Acadia stall bar models.
Rung Clearance to Wall - Some Schroth exercises require the user to wrap their arms behind the rungs. For these routines there must be enough clearance behind the rungs to do so. The Acadia, Portland, and Rockland models accommodate these exercises, as does the Rangeley when paired with the optional spacer block kit.
Offset Top Rung - Schroth hanging exercises require the user's torso to clear the other rungs during hanging routines. The 5 1/4" clearance on the Acadia and Rockland, and the 5 3/4" on the Portland models allow for this nicely.
Stall Bar Comparison Table
|Rung Spacing||6"||6"||5 1/2"||5 1/2"||5 1/2"|
|Top Rung Offset||1 3/4"||3"||5 1/4"||5 1/4"||5 3/4"|
|Rung to Wall||2"||3 7/8"||3 7/8"||4 7/8"||4 7/8"|
Each stall bar is made to be as easy as possible to assemble and install. All hardware is included and holes are pre-drilled. You will need a screwgun, 3/16" drill to predrill the wall studs, and for the Acadia, a 1/2" wrench to the plywood gussets in place. For more information, click on the link below to download the installation instructions.
North American White Ash: Ash is a tough hardwood with a beautiful grain pattern similar to oak, with a mix of light tan colored sapwood and medium/light brown heartwood.
Hard Maple: Second only to hickory in strength among domestic hardwoods, maple also finishes beautifully and has very consistent color and grain pattern.
Other materials are available upon request.
Stall bars are covered by a three year warranty. All other products are covered for one year. For more information, click the link below to download the full warranty and terms & conditions.
What’s the difference between each model?
Rockland: The original, Schroth therapy design is also well suited to gymnastics, fitness, stretching, and so forth. A top rung offset forward 5 1/4” allows you to hang freely and give the best hanging stretch. Nearly 5” of space between the rungs and wall allows you to wrap your arms behind the rungs, and putting your feet on the rungs will not result in your toes rubbing on the wall behind the unit.
Acadia: Meant to be a more budget friendly version of the Rockland, the Acadia requires less labor to create, thanks to the use of strong, high quality plywood ‘gussets’ to achieve a forward offset top rung. Functionally it is largely the same, save for a rung to wall distance that is an inch narrower. Also the top rung is round instead of oval.
Portland: The Portland builds on the Rockland with a top rung that is offset a half inch farther forward and forgoes the Rockland’s spacer blocks for a single piece vertical rail design that is aesthetically more pleasing. The vertical rails are also able to accommodate a rear offset rung, second from the top rung, that gives an additional hand position that is useful for gymnastic exercises such as side levers.
Rangeley: Designed specifically for gymnastics exercises, the top rung of the Rangeley is offset forward 1 3/4”, just enough to relieve strain on the forearms when hanging from it. This allows the torso to be braced against the other rungs for exercises like hanging leg lifts, while properly isolating the lower abductor muscles. Rung spacing is 6” center to center, the most requested for gymnastics use.
Katahdin, Building off of the Rangeley, the Katahdin offers the more often requested 3” offset top rung. This is still close enough to the other rungs to brace the torso against them, but does so with a little less pressure, which many should find a bit more comfortable. Also, rung to wall spacing is increased from 2” on the Rangeley to 4”, giving more clearance for the toes when putting your feet on the rungs.
What's the difference between coated and uncoated rungs?
Coated rungs have a thick coat of polyurethane, offering durable protection and making them easy to clean, a must for hospitals and clinics. Uncoated rungs offer the best possible grip, especially with sweaty hands. A steam kiln drying process ensures the rungs are very resistant to humidity changes and wood movement that can result from moisture. If the unit is to be used in a commercial setting, or if it is desirable to clean the unit often, coated rungs are the way to go. If the unit is for a single person’s home exercises, the traction provided by uncoated rungs might make more sense.
What's the difference between round vs oval rungs?
The ovoid rungs found standard on most models are preferred to round rungs by most users for a few reasons. First, the flat surface on the front and rear of the rung is a more forgiving surface to place pressure against such as that applied on your back while doing hanging leg lifts. In Schroth therapy, certain exercises call for bracing the knees against the front of the rungs, which is far more comfortable when that is a flat surface, rather than a round one. Second, the oval rungs are more resistant to forces applied on the vertical plane, which is most often the case with stall bars, than round rungs. This is because the oval rungs are 1 5/8” tall, vs up to 1 1/2” with round. Third, oval rungs are more ergonomic in their shape. What this means is that they can be made with more material, which makes them stronger, without causing hand pump, the way larger round rungs will, especially on smaller hands. The more ergonomic shape offers the strength of a 1 1/2” dowel, while feeling more like a 1 3/8” dowel. This may not seem like much until you actually grip them, and it represents a notable increase in strength.
All this considered, some prefer round rungs, especially those using their stall bars for gymnastics exercises. Round rungs don’t change in feel as your hands’ angle on the rung changes. This makes going through motions like side levers more comfortable. A great benefit to being a small operation is that we can accommodate special requests for rung shapes, sizes and materials.
What's the difference between each material?
Vertical rails and crossbars: Two materials are offered standard for most stall bars; white ash and hard maple. White ash is cost effective but strong and has the added benefit of bending a great deal before breaking. This gives it uncommon resilience. Cosmetically any given piece ranges from dark to light brown in the heartwood (near the center of the log) and light yellowish tan in the sapwood (toward the bark of the log). While I try to make every piece look as good as possible, I am of course limited by the stock available. Hard maple is the second hardest north american hardwood. It is stiff and very strong. Cosmetically it may have brown or even black streaks but is largely and very light peachy tan color. Maple tends to be very consistent in color within a single piece, and is my go to recommendation for those who want the best looking stall bar.
Rungs: Right now all rungs are made of beech wood (except custom orders). Beech is about as strong as ash, but has a fine grain structure that allows me to offer them without finish for better traction, and greatly minimizes the chance of the use getting splinters from unfinished wood. It is also very cost effective. Cosmetically it is a medium brown with a reddish tint. In terms of strength, rungs are where material is very important. My vertical rail and crossbars are deigned to be over engineered, and can be made from softer woods like poplar without compromise. The rungs however cannot be made too thick without resulting in discomfort on the part of the user, and so should be made of material suitably dense. Beware of companies using poplar (aka tulipwood) for their rungs. While all Infitness stall bars have the same 275 lb warrantied user weight limit, it is recommended that the rungs be made of maple for those wanting the strongest and stiffest option.