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Gymnastics/Making a Swedish ladder


I want to give my son, who is 5 years old and 49" tall, a Swedish ladder for Christmas. I found them being sold for around $70 in Europe, but here in the US they go for $500 and up, which I can't afford. I'd like to try to make one myself, preferably under $100 if I can do so safely. I'll be consulting woodworkers and plans and such as I move forward.

I'm wondering if there are any tips, measurements, etc you could provide to help me start my planning of what I definitely want included and what I really don't need. For example, I've seen some designs that include an offset top and bottom bar while others have an adjustable and removable hanging pull-up attachment. I'm thinking the hanging attachment version would be better for a growing child, but would I still want the offset because it's no trouble and allows for later growth? I also see a wide variety of options in the amount of space between each bar and don't know what would be ideal.

I expect him to want to do things like climbing, hanging, pulling up, human flag, etc. It's primary use will be explorative play by an internally motivated child with a secondary purpose of being available to practice intentional gymnastics moves. I'd like it to be usable for the rest of his time at home. Can you offer any resources or advice to get me pointed in the right direction?

Hi Louisa,
I'd never heard the term 'swedish ladder' before so I had to google it to find that you're talking about wall bars (which is the term I'm familiar with).  I've never seen any attachments but it sounds like they would be fun to play on.  

In all the gyms I've worked out in across the country (maybe 10-20 different ones throughout the years) I've only seen the design similar to with very slight modifications from gym to gym.  The offset top bar is key, but I think other changes can be made too.  One thing I've seen is a 1 inch foam pad laced through near the top and bottom rungs in order to provide padding for leg raises.

Have fun with that, I would imagine building it could be a fun project to involve your son in as well.


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Robert Davis


I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to to tell me what you want help with!


I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team ( After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see


I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

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