How to Do the Monkey Bars

The monkey bars are a fundamental skill that helps children learn how to climb and navigate the world around them. The choreography of this game is not just about teaching kids basic skills, it’s also about fostering an early sense of autonomy and identity for people who may be struggling with other parts of their lives.

The “how to do monkey bars without hurting hands” is a question that has been asked by many people. The answer is simple, but requires some coordination and skill.

When you try to perform the monkey bars again after a long layoff since childhood, you’re likely to consider one of two things:

“%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% This is a nightmare!”

Part of the reason for that awful sensation is that your arms now have to hold a lot more weight than they did when you were seven.

It’s also because you probably don’t hang out as often as you should as part of your exercise program (if you even have a fitness routine).

It’s worth getting beyond the first shock and returning to the monkey bars on a more frequent basis. The monkey bars are a regular feature in both military and civilian obstacle courses since they train your shoulders, back, arms, core, and grip strength, as well as your agility. 

To make it over the monkey bars at all, you’ll need a strong foundation. Pull-ups and other general strength exercises can help you get there, but don’t forget to work on your grip strength as well; many people fall off the bars early because their grip strength is insufficient, not because their arms aren’t strong enough. A tutorial to improving your grip may be found here.

Working on basic fundamental motions, as well as your technique, can help you traverse the monkey bars more easily and effectively.

On the former front, you’ll want to start hanging on a regular basis, and Danny Clark, MovNat’s Master Instructor, advises the following exercises in particular:

  • Reaching for the Sky (focus on allowing the shoulders to flex fully instead of compensating with spinal extension)
  • Side Hang (work up to at least 45 seconds, minimizing “arching” the back and gripping the bar with the pad of the hand)
  • Pull on the scapular (work up to 5 reps)

There are a number different methods to cross the monkey bars in terms of technique. There’s the broad swing, which has your torso perpendicular to the bars and your hands facing each other; novices may find this method more approachable and steady. When you’re seeking for speed, the Front Power Traverse is a terrific option. If you’re just getting started or in wet, slick circumstances, you may want to grab each bar with both hands before moving one to the next; although this strategy feels more steady, it makes the traverse more difficult since it slows your momentum, delaying your progress and sapping more energy. As you gain confidence on the rig, alternate your hands on the handlebars (i.e., you only have one hand gripping a bar at any given time).

Use the Forward Swing Traverse, which has been depicted above with suggestions and directions from Danny, for smoothness and efficiency. This traversal lets you to flow across the monkey bars like an ape.

The more you use the monkey bars, the less dreadful this powerful bodyweight exercise becomes. So, instead of ignoring the monkey bars from your youth, jump on them the next time you’re at the playground (there are plenty of other workouts to perform while you’re there). 




The “indoor monkey bars” are a great way to practice your hand-eye coordination. They are also a good workout for your core muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get strong enough to do monkey bars?

Why cant I do monkey bars?

A: Unfortunately, you cannot do Monkey Bars on Beat Saber PSVR. This is due to copyright restrictions that Sony fears would be leveled against them should they allow something like this.

Is it hard to do the monkey bars?

A: It can be difficult, but you will have time to practice and become more skilled at it.

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