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The Monkii Bars 2 – A Refreshing Take On Suspension Training [A Review]

monkii bars 2 review

The Monkii Bars 2 is a suspension training system designed with the outdoor adventurer in mind. This portable system (and when I say portable, I mean like fits in the palm of one hand portable) turns any tree or light post into a fully functioning home gym.

Suspension trainers have become increasingly popular over the years, largely due to the incredible exercise variety and versatility they offer as well as their minimalist design.

As you might expect, as the demand continues to grow, so does the supply. Put another way- there are a ton of these things on the market these days and some are much better than others.

The question then, is whether or not the Monkii Bars 2 system has what it takes to separate itself from the pack.

That’s exactly what this review is here to help you decide. We’ll take a close look at everything this suspension trainer does and doesn’t have going for it.

After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of what the Monkey Bars are all about. Are you ready to get wild? Good, let’s start from the beginning.

Disclaimer: the good folks at Monkii were kind enough to send me a Pocket Monkii to try prior to this review. I wasn’t compensated in any other form and my review is based solely on my experience with their products and my research.

Suspension Trainers 101

If you’ve never tried a suspension training workout before, you might not get what these systems are all about. No worries, this quick review will bring you up to speed a little.

Suspension trainers are really simple systems. They basically just consist of a pair of handles attached to straps. The straps are attached to a surface in one way or another and there ya go- you’re all ready to start working out.

It would be silly though to associate their simple design with simple workouts.

Because that is not the case. Suspension trainers can provide the most challenging workouts you’ve ever done. Seriously, these things are no joke.

I’m not trying to scare you away here, because you can adapt your workout to match your fitness level. But you should know suspension training works ya.

And it’s all because of how unstable the handles are- unstable on purpose that is.

Since the handles are attached to very mobile straps, they’re going to want to move while you are doing your chest press or squat or whatever move you’re working on.

And your muscles are going to have to work a whole lot harder to stabilize those handles so you can successfully perform whatever exercise you’re doing.

This engages more muscles for each task, which in turn builds more strength and burns more calories.

Their design also makes them super versatile. With the addition of foot straps, you can perform hundreds of moves with these devices. Hitting every upper body, lower body, and core muscle in between.

Their simple design also makes them really portable and easy to travel with, but you could just as easily set one up for permanent placement in your home (and have it work as a fully functioning home gym system).

If this is starting to sound familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen the TRX suspension trainer before. Their commercials are everywhere. You even see TRX classes in most commercial gyms now.

TRX kinda started the whole suspension training craze years ago and they’re still going strong. But as I mentioned above, a lot of other companies have their own suspension training products now, so TRX isn’t the only name in the game anymore.

Speaking of which, now that we’re all up to speed on suspension training, let’s get to the Monkii Bars.

The Monkii Bars 2

Monkii Bars

I was recently introduced to the Monkii Bars 2 system and I have to admit- at first glance I wasn’t that impressed. I thought to myself, “oh wow, another TRX rip-off, how original”.

But then I dug a little deeper…

What stands out to me about this particular suspension trainer is how much attention their design team paid to the small details. From the handles to the app, it’s obvious the folks at Monkii did their homework.

I also like the dual strap system, but more on that in a minute.

Fun fact: this company was fully funded through Kickstarter, raising over $2,000,000 without investors. Impressive.

The folks at Monkii currently offer their suspension system in 3 models: the Monkii Bars 2, the Pocket Monkii, and the Tactical Kit (just a black on black color scheme for the Monkii Bars or Pocket Monkii).

Pros

  • Durable, powder coated aluminum handles
  • Individual straps for each handle
  • Foot straps fit inside handles for easy storage
  • Compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Easy setup
  • Ton of workout variety
  • Can be used inside or outside
  • Free access to Monkii app
  • Lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Only a 250 lb weight capacity

Monkii Grips

One of the first things that caught my attention was the fact that the grips are made out of aluminum. This is a big change from the foam or rubber grips we usually see on other suspension trainers.

These powder coated aluminum handles are more rugged than most, allowing them to withstand the forces put through them during your workouts. Being metal, they should also hold up better with outside use.

For you hikers and adventurists out there, I think you’ll appreciate the more rugged handle design. You won’t have to worry about tearing or damaging a handle while out on a trail.

The handles are also free floating on the straps. This means that the handles aren’t attached to the straps (or hindered by) and can rotate during use.

This is good for two reasons- first, it means you don’t have to worry about your wrists getting kinked up in the wrong position because the handles can move with you your wrists; second, it means you have to work a little harder to stabilize them with each move (trust me, it’s a good thing).

There are foot loops  hidden inside each handle. Simply pop the ends off to bring the foot loop out for use- clever and functional.

You also get to pick the color of your Monkii grips- I’m not gonna say this adds to the quality of your workout, but a little pop of color never hurts.

Solo Straps

Something else that caught my attention immediately was the strap system. A lot of suspension trainers use a single strap with a handle on each end- the Monkii Bars 2 uses 2 separate straps, one for each handle.

What’s the difference? The solo strap system gives you more variety.

First of all, you can set each one at different heights for staggered pull ups (heck of a way to up your pull up game, also comes in handy for you wanna-be Ninja Warriors).

It also makes it easier to loop them over tree branches and do pull ups, dips, or any other exercise you can think of. Think of them as a set of gymnasts rings- challenging and super versatile.

When it comes down to the brass tacks, each strap is woven by a high-end webbing manufacturer. The result is a strong, wear resistant strap with a softer edge than you’d expect.

Each strap also comes with tick marks spaced out for reference, making it easier to accurately position the Monkii grips at whatever position you need.

Their smaller suspension system, the Pocket Monkii (which I have set up in my attic as we speak) comes with a more traditional strap system where the handles are connected to a single strap.

This makes the the Pocket Monkii a little easier and faster to set up inside, but more on that below.

The straps for both Monkii systems have a 250 lb weight capacity. This isn’t bad when you consider how small these straps are, but they aren’t very compatible with larger users.

Set Up

Setting up the Monkii Bars 2 system isn’t as complicated as it might look at first. When you open the pack and see 2 independent straps and 2 handles not connected to anything, you might start to panic.

Dont.

If you’re going to be suspending your straps from a horizontal bar or tree limb above you, you basically just throw each strap over the bar, loop them thru each handle, and then connect the strap with the included BomberBuckle.

P.S.- their patented BomberBuckles are awesome. I love how easy it is to push the button and instantly adjust the height of your straps.

Inside each handle there is a foot loop. Take them out and attach them around each handle as well.

If this isn’t making much sense, don’t worry. A video is worth a thousand words:

Monkii used to offer an Adventure Kit as well, I’m not sure if they still do. The Adventure Kit included a door mount for the Monkii Bars 2 system that made it really easy to set up inside on any standard door.

The Pocket Monkii is the easiest system to set up. I set mine up in about 60 sec.

The Pocket Monkii can also be used outside if you purchase the outdoor anchor separately (costs about $35).

Once your workout is finished, it’ll probably take longer to store your Monkii Bar system then it did to set it up. If you’re neat and tidy (unlike me) you can roll each strap up and attach them to the handles with the included rubber straps.

Or you could just ball them up and throw them in a back pack. Either way works.

Monkii App

If you purchase a Monkii Bars 2 set, you get free access to their Monkii app. This is a nice perk because if this is the first time you’ve used a suspension trainer, odds are you won’t know where to start.

I can say from first hand experience that their app is pretty awesome. It’s really user friendly and I like that the folks behind it have a sense of humor.

All of their set up videos are set to very sensual music…I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I like that they don’t take things too seriously (their head trainer must have a very special relationship with trees).

That said, their instructional videos are very helpful. The app will walk you through everything from setting up your system for the first time to illustrating how to perform each move safely.

If this is your first suspension training experience, the Monkii app has got ya covered with their 21 day beginners workout course. Each day they show you how to do 1 or 2 exercises and they gradually build on what you’ve learned the previous day.

After 3 weeks, you’ll be ready for the more advanced workouts.

The app is super user friendly- with each exercise it suggests how many reps and sets you should do and in what order.

Overall, the app has over 300 workouts on it and they are separated into different workout categories (upper body, core, yoga, total body, etc). They’ve got something for everyone, regardless of your skill level.

You can also check out daily videos on Monkii’s homepage for inspiration.

Overall, I’d say their app is top notch. I love that you get free access and they get bonus points for how user friendly it is. Some competitors make you start paying for app access after a year (I’m not going to name any names, but it rhymes with BRX).

Warranty

Their warranty is described under their “Monkii Pact”. It basically states that your Monkii Bars 2 or Pocket Monkii is guaranteed for life.

During the first 30 days, you can send them back for any reason and get a full refund.

After that first 30 days, Monkii will repair or replace any set at no cost to you. They also replace any lines or straps that break down for free.

So there ya have it- a lifetime guarantee that your Monkii Bars will work the way they’re suppose to.

Final Thoughts

Suspension training has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and I know why- this stuff works. I’ve used them here and there in the past, but sense I got my Pocket Monkii I’ve been using it on a regular basis.

When it comes to core workouts, it’s hard to beat a suspension trainer. It’s like using a Swiss ball on steroids.

In terms of the Monkii Bars 2 system, I think it has a lot to offer. I really like the aluminum handles. They offer a sturdy grip and they’re pretty easy on the hands.

I’ve actually been working out without my gloves lately (which is rare for me) without any issues. The solo strap system is also unique and it makes for a ton of challenging workout options, especially if you like to exercise outside.

The Monkii Bars design is great for traveling too, especially the Pocket Monkii, which you could fit in a large pants pocket if you wanted to.

The only real downside I see to this suspension trainer is the 250 lb weight limit- larger users will have to go with a more robust system.

Overall though, I think the Monkii Bars 2 (and Pocket Monkii) are great products. They’re both competitively priced and backed by lifetime guarantees. Highly recommended.

 

 

Will

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