Introduction: Swedish Ladder

My two daughters just started gymnastics and I have been putting together a home gym for them to practice. The Swedish ladder or otherwise called a stall bar, is a great aide for back bends, bar work, and handstands, so I wanted to find them one. After shopping around, it appeared the item sold for about $500. That was more than I wanted to spend. I was able to create a Swedish ladder for about $100.


2" x 6" x 8' two each

2" x 4" x 8' one each

3/4 inch plywood 12" x 14" two each

Construction Lags 3 1/2" six each and 4" four each

Carriage bolts with lock nuts and washers 2" two each

1 1/4" x 36" Dowels 15 each


Orbital Sander

Impact Driver


Chop Saw


Drill bits and paddle bits

Step 1: Layout and Drilling

After finding the dimensions for bar layout online, I drilled 1 1/4 inch holes for the dowels with a paddle bit. I set the depth of each hole by carefully drilling until only the tip of the paddle bit broke the backside of the board. This also made it easy to know where to put the screws in from the outside of the 2 x 6 to secure the dowels. Then it was time for sanding. I spent about an hour sanding with 40- and 60-grit sandpaper. Framing lumber ends up looking quite nice if you sand it long enough.

Step 2: Overhang

I cut out the plywood on the chop saw and then carefully matched the dowel holes at the top of the 2 x 6 to the plywood. I sanded again. Then I attached each plywood piece with a single 2 inch carriage bolt and locking nut.

Step 3: Rungs

I cut the rungs to a length of 34 inches. I put one cabinet screw into the end of each rung from the outside of the 2 x 6 using the existing hole from the paddle bit tip. I was able to pull the structure together nice and tight by making two rounds with the impact driver and re-tightening all screws as the rungs were pulled into the 2 x 6.

Step 4: Wall Mount Boards

I used scrap pieces of 2 x 4 and 2 x 6 as the back support and wall mount structure. I used paddle bits to predrill and countersink the 3 1/2 inch construction lag screws. In all, it required four lag screws in the 2 x 6 on the top and two screws in the 2 x 4 on the bottom.

Step 5: Overhang Bar

I drilled 1 1/4 inch holes for the overhang bar with a paddle bit. I then used a counter sink and a drill bit to put a hole in from the top of the plywood all the way through the overhang bar. I secured it with a 3 inch deck screw on each side.

Step 6: Attach to Wall

I used four 4 inch lags to attach ladder to wall studs. This made the structure very solid.

Step 7: Time to Workout

The kids love playing on the bars. We do handstands, leg lifts, and sit ups with a medicine ball and hang like monkeys. The Swedish ladder has become the most interesting and well-used furniture in the living room.

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