Monkii Bars: Work Out Anywhere

Love to Eat? Introducing

Are you passionate about food, nutrition and recipes? Unleash your inner foodie and check out our brand-new site - share your favorite recipes at Nutrition-WOD today!

Print
by DAN VINSON


Click here to support monkii bars’ Kickstarter campaign.

The “Wild” Life

Monkii Bars: Workout Anywhere

This outdoor gym did more than just get me into the best shape of my life; it changed the course of my life.
In the spring of 2007 I received word that I had landed a summer position as a Wilderness Ranger in California’s Sequoia National Forest. I was also a Division I athlete at Georgetown, and this would be the crucial summer in between my Junior and Senior year. I wanted to be in excellent shape for my final season, and CrossFit was going to my training method. During my first wilderness tour, I spent all of my free time constructing an all-natural CrossFit gym near the meadow I would use as my base camp. I made a combination squat rack and dip station out of logs and stumps; gathered every shape and size of rock for weights; discovered cliffs I could use to do handstand pushups; and organized fallen trees as box jumps. Surprisingly, it was difficult to find tree branches low enough to do pull-ups, so I tied a rope to a branch and looped it around a nook in a tree. This setup looked and functioned like a trapeze pull-up bar and added some excitement to workouts. This outdoor gym did more than just get me into the best shape of my life; it changed the course of my life.

While I was living in the wilderness, my best friend and co-founder, David Hunt, worked as a Wildland Firefighter in Montana. Whenever we’d get a chance to catch up, the common theme was how wild life had become: fires, bears, storms, and rescues. After we graduated from Georgetown in 2008, David received word that he would be stationed in Ethiopia for 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer. I’ll never forget the first picture he sent me of him working out in his new gym: squatting a car axle in a mud hut with a group of curious onlookers — it was AWESOME! He spent two years training like this and came back home in the best shape of his life. No bumper plates, no dub-step, no high socks or Nano 2.0’s. Just the raw desire to do the best with what he had.

In 2010, I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Africa and see how David was living. We constantly revisited our unique training methods and how we both felt inspired to take it even further. The ideas were still abstract, but we knew at that moment that we wanted to use our experiences to motivate people to bring their workouts outdoors.

The Birth of Monkii Bars

The Birth of Monkii Bars

monkii bars: We know people will see it and think of the freedom of the elementary playground, but know that this is something new.
Fast forward to January of 2013. We had just been accepted to a startup accelerator in Colorado. I had somehow made the move to Boulder, and we were sitting in my empty apartment with some bamboo shoots, duct tape and a pile of nylon webbing.  We were excitedly acting on a new idea: a gym that you could take anywhere. Our first concept was a portable kettlebell made with a bamboo handle. After quickly putting together a makeshift prototype using a shoe for weight, David swung it up over his head to test it. The shoe-weight flipped all the way around and smacked him in the back of the head.
I was still laughing when I noticed he looked like he was either concussed or was having a light-bulb moment. “What if we created a suspension trainer that stored all of the suspension material inside the bamboo so it was easy to bring anywhere?” monkii bars had just been invented.
As we were sitting there looking at our new invention, David said the name out loud: “Monkey bars.” It was perfect — reminiscent of a childhood memory to which everyone can relate. We wanted the name to stand out, of course, and after several spelling renditions, we decided on monkii bars. We know people will see it and think of the freedom of the elementary playground, but know that this is something new.

Monkii bars are a lightweight and ultra-portable suspension training tool that ignites adventure and enables you to work out anywhere. They come as a set of 2 bars with the suspension material stored inside each bar. Functionally they mimic Olympic rings, allowing you to do the classics such as pull-ups, dips, pushups, rows, and toes-to bar. You can also add the more exciting gymnastic movements like muscle ups, ice cream makers, skin-the-cat and countless others. The portable, lightweight and sexy design makes them easy to bring camping, on a trail run, to the office, on vacation to Europe or even for a quick WOD at home.

Getting Back to the Wild

Getting Back to the Wild

Whether you use monkii bars outside of your office or in a far off land, you join the small, but ever growing group of people connecting back to the wild.
“What if we did a workout underneath a hot air balloon?” I said this in August of 2013 while we were brainstorming ideas for a promo video conveying the theme “work out anywhere.” After a quick laugh and going through the various scenarios ending with me in jail or falling to my death, we did not revisit the idea… at least not until someone agreed to let us attempt a monkii bar workout underneath their hot air balloon. On October 22, 2013 we took off in Longmont, CO. About 500 feet off the deck, I hopped out of the balloon while David lowered me down to the monkii bars we had attached before takeoff. I was underneath the hot air balloon for over an hour and did as many reps and movements I could think of. As we began to descend, I noticed cars pulled over and people taking pictures. I waved and smiled even as I saw the Longmont Police show up. There’s no way this is illegal…right? We touched down and the officer made sure I was alright, laughed, shook his head and drove off. We did a quick interview with the local news, grabbed a big breakfast and I went home to get ready to coach an afternoon CrossFit class. This was interrupted by a 48-hour news frenzy that literally went worldwide. If you search “man dangling beneath a hot air balloon,” you will see what I mean. My Dad was proud to share that we had been written about in the “weird news” column.

There are still small groups of people that gather across Europe to celebrate and honor the Wild Man. They believe that these rituals must go on so that our connection to the land and to the wild remains intact. Even though the modern world tells these people otherwise, they continue to remain open to the wisdom of the old ways. We believe in the Wild Man and we love the outdoors. Whether you use monkii bars outside of your office or in a far off land, you join the small, but ever growing group of people connecting back to the wild.

Monkii Bars: Work Out Anywhere
Ready to get back to the wild or looking for a way to change up your routine? Click here to support monkii bars’ Kickstarter campaign. Find monkii bars on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at @monkiibars.

Printable Version

We Are Scouting Top Writers

Are you passionate about fitness and have something to say? Reach a huge online community and get the discussion going - start writing for Tabata Times today!

Share this post
@TabataTimes on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook 

Contribute to this story by commenting below:

Advertise Here

Most Popular of All Time

CrossFit Los Gatos posted an article
mindcoach published the post Confidence and High Intensity Performance on Tabata Times
I know we just moved out of ski season, but skiing has so much to teach us about mental strength...
Morgan Hill CrossFit shared a link on Facebook

week5 wod4 http://wp.me/p3Bc8L-jj

CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/whiteboard/

CrossFit Dark Element shared a link on Facebook

http://cfdarkelement.com/daily-wod/

CrossFit Sweatshop posted an article
CrossFit Oakdale shared a link on Facebook

http://cfoakdale.com/2014/07/03/kevins-climb-completed/

Concord CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Welcome some new faces :-) great job tonight Courtney, John and Megan!!!

CrossFit Mill Valley shared an image on Facebook

Worlds colliding to save lives. Juggling for Jude #poweredbymammoth

CrossFit 209 Sport shared a link on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=735577119822185&id=163071317072771

CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

What will you be making for your 4th of July BBQ??? Let's hear it!! https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=410308475776149&substory_index=0&id=271313329675665

CrossFit 209 Sport shared an image on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=284606848385040&id=148284738683919 More info on knee pain!!

CrossFit Oakdale posted on Facebook

http://www.playbuzz.com/erikw/what-crossfit-exercise-are-you

CrossFit Los Gatos shared an image on Facebook

Noon class finishing strong today! Kb's, push jerks and C2b pull ups! Oh ya ;)

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Oops, forgot to mention, use the link to sign up and help a brother out :-P.

CrossFit Envy shared a link on Facebook

Hey everyone! Inov-8's, along with Skins and CEP compression gear, and other great gear for CrossFit.

CrossFit Modesto posted on Facebook

Just a little FYI guys, Friday July 4th. Coach Chris will be in at 5:30am for a workout and Coach Billy will be in at 9am as well! These are the only two classes for Friday, so prepare for some fun!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

Make Coach Elliot happy and sign up for the Tommy Kono Meet coming up in August! There are sign up sheets at the gym! Talk to Elliot or any other coach for more info!

Tamalpais CrossFit posted on Facebook

July Happenings: Friday July 4th- 8 & 9am Classes only! Sunday July 6th- 9am Swim WOD at COM Kentfield Pool Sunday July 6th- Oly Strong moves to 10:15am on Sundays Tuesday July 8th- 11-11:45am CrossFit Kids starts, 2 spots left, register today! Parents WOD while your kid plays! Saturday July 12th- Crosstown Throwdown TCF vs Santa Rosa Strength and Conditioning – 11:45-2 pm at TCF, sign up on competition board located in SRB- all levels welcome! July 21st- Clarke Holland attends and dominates the CrossFit Games 2014

FTF Fitness posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma posted on Facebook

Schedule for the week of July 4th: Friday, July 4th: 10am class @ CSC only Saturday, July 5th: 10am class @ CSC only Make your way up to CrossFit Sonoma County to pick a Hero workout to complete in honor of Independence Day! The gym will be open from 10am-11:30am. Come in and throw down before a day filled with food, family, and fireworks!

CrossFit 209 Sport posted on Facebook

4th of July hours 8 and 9 AM only!!

bevchildress published the post Do You Struggle With Chronic Disease? on
I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease. I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping it at bay and...
mlsweezey published the post Baby Got Back: My New CrossFit Ass and Other Image Crushing Muscles on
Random Person: “um, do you workout?” Me: “No. This totally happens by accident. Strangest...
Morgan Hill CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

My awesome 7pm Metcon class workin' hard!

CrossFit Modesto shared an image on Facebook

Last nights Pull Up Skill,Clinic was full as can be! We had people get their first Kipping Pull Up, we had others improve their technique, and started others on their way to getting pullups! It was great time yesterday, good work to all those who attended!

CrossFit HEALDSBURG posted on Facebook

Schedule for 4th of July weekend Thursday, July 3rd 6:00am 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm 5:00pm Friday, July 4th 8:30am 9:30am 12:00pm Saturday, July 5th 9:00am Have a safe and happy 4th!!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

24:17 top time for the ladies for Shakira!

South Sacramento CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Mr. Sub 20 Michael! 19:40 score to beat.

American River Crossfit shared a link on Facebook

07/02/2014 http://wp.me/sGeX1-07022014

CrossFit East Sacramento shared a link on Facebook

Today's blog post is up on the CFES Blog - [4th of July Outta The Box WOD @ Guy West]

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Prehab/activation: SMR - low back / erectors 2 min Banded hamstring mobilization 2x10 glute bridges 2x10 supermans -then- 10x2 Banded Speed deadlifts Take a few minutes to find a reasonable work weight for Banded deadlifts. It will be in the 50-70% range of your best Deadlift... But use a weight that allows you to PULL FAST off the floor, and lockout fast, even with the band. Hold each lockout for a 3 count, and deload the bar between reps. Guys use the blue or red band, and girls use red. -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

CrossFit Envy posted on Facebook

Competitors Program Week 6, Day 3: 6x3 Power Cleans from the blocks @ 70-75% (at the knee or slightly above) -then- AMRAP in 10 minutes: (4,8,12...) toes to bar *unbroken 25' handstand walk after each round *if you complete the round of 24, then stop and mark the time -then- 4 rounds for time: 400m run 500m row 60 double unders

mindcoach published the post The Importance of Performance Goals on
I’ve written several posts and articles on the mental strength skill of goal setting, so this...
CrossFit West Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

Red, White, and Blue! http://blog.genesispetaluma.com/?p=2664

CrossFit Folsom Lake shared a link on Facebook

It's a new month! What are you going to do with it? These folks are making it happen! http://t.co/AJV8iYk8OR

CrossFit Davis shared an image on Facebook

June! Another great month at CFD!

Corey's Gym posted an article
CrossFit Petaluma shared a link on Facebook

CrossFit Sacramento posted on Facebook

Attention All Members.....The gym will be open on the 4th of July from 8-10am. There will be 1 class at 8 and open gym at 9. The gym will be closed on Saturday July 5th. Have a great Holiday weekend!

CrossFit Davis shared a link on Facebook

New On Ramp starts tonight! We are running a new schedule now that allows you to start on any Tuesday and attend classes for 4 weeks! For more info visit www.crossfitdavis.com or send an email to info@crossfitdavis.com

CrossFit Echelon posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

Who hit today's Swim WOD? If you missed it, have no fear. 5:30 and 6:30 classes are heading out soon. Get there!

Good Times CrossFit posted an article
CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

There's still time to sign up for the Rowing Clinic with Scott Frandsen on July 12th at 10am. Learn how to row with Power and Efficiency from the Olympian and Rowing Coach. $60 per person. Sign up at the gym.

CrossFit Genesis shared an image on Facebook

paleobutter published the post Paleo Chocolate & Amaretto Macaroons on Nutrition WOD
  Macaroons The legend of how amaretto liquor was first created is (oh man), so Italian...
Jefferson State CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Get your teams together now!

CrossFit Anywhere shared a link on Facebook

Let's Go USA!

North State CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

This Friday for Independence Day! we will be having a 10am Class ONLY with childcare. Wear your red, white, and blue and lets start the day off right!!!

CrossFit Redding posted on Facebook

4th of July CrossFit Redding Schedule: We will be running 3 WOD times 8a, 930a, 11a.

Another Level CrossFit posted on Facebook

For anyone who was wondering if the gym was going to be open on Friday the 4th of July..... We will be holding one 9AM class for anyone who wants to come get there WOD in before all the parties and family time start. =)

CrossFit Anywhere shared an image on Facebook

Swim WOD fun with all the kids this morning!

Another Level CrossFit shared an image on Facebook

Make a change in your life today!! Step outside of your normal box and explore something new.

CrossFit Genesis shared a link on Facebook

July 1, 2014 Workout of the Day #workout #crossfit #roseville

Dan Klug published the post Quick and Easy (5-Ingredient) BBQ Sauce on
Finding a relatively “clean” BBQ sauce can often be a more daunting task than the actual...
CrossFit Determination posted on Facebook

Strength: 1a) 4x:40 FLR 1b) 4x 8 pendlay rows WOD: 10-1 reps of Pull ups Power cleans

American River Crossfit posted on Facebook

CORRECTION: Special Hours on Friday, July 4th. 8am Group Class 9am Open Gym

CrossFit Campbell shared a link on Facebook

My fitbit #Fitstats for 6/30/2014: 25,136 steps and 11.2 miles traveled. http://t.co/lGgXoqQWii

CrossFit Campbell shared a link on Facebook

If you're always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you're in? #crossfitcampbell http://t.co/kxFRncZPR7

@TabataTimes on Twitter

Watch the latest episode of GPTV