1. The highest good for a mortal, is health.
  2. The second highest, to look good and have wealth.
  3. Which is gained with conscience clear,
  4. Finally, to laugh with friends that are dear.

For the majority of the exercises you wont need any equipment.  As of the fourth month of exercises however, you will need a horizontal bar for about a dozen exercises.

In this chapter, I want to show how some equipment can help you grow.

1.     Horizontal Bar

2.     Parallel Bars

3.     Swedish Rib-Stall and Bench

4.     Horizontal or Bridge Ladder

5.     Scaling Wall

6.     Rounded Bench

7.     Roller

8.     Inverted Boots

It seems to me that schools, physical culture studios and fitness gyms should have and use this equipment effectively.

Many schools have well equipped gymnasiums.  Unfortunately, it is often the case that some equipment is not used or rarely used.  This is expensive and deplorable.

1. Horizontal Bar

This is one of the best apparatus to stretch the spinal column.  When I was a boy, I didn’t have a bar so I used the step of a stairway leading to the second floor at the back of our house.  For months, I did my daily stretching exercises there.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I strongly advise that you get a solid bar.  Set it up surely.  To avoid injury to your hands or slipping, rub your hands with magnesium carbonate.  You will need this bar for a dozen or so exercises as of the fourth month of the course.

2. Parallel Bars

The parallel bars help to develop the upper part of your body.  It produces effects on the spinal column as well.

From day to day, increase the pull to your arms.  Some athletes tie a weight to their body to make the exercises more effective.

If you don’t have parallel bars, place two chairs or tables side by side.  But be very careful.

3. The Swedish Rib-Stall & Bench (abdominal board)

Around 1800, Peter Ling created his famous Swedish method.  A Swedish speciality, the rib-stall is particularly effective for gymnastic warm-ups and flexibility exercises.  It helps straighten arched backs and strengthens stomach muscles.

As for the bench, it is an apparatus with various effective functions.  It can be attached to the rib-stall and is better known as an abdominal board.

4. Bridge or Horizontal Ladder

This is equipment you can find in most playgrounds.  The object is to go forwards or backwards along the bars.  Every time you grip a bar, you can create pull to your arms.

To stretch yourself even more, place a medicine ball between your feet and do several rhythmic motions with your legs.

5. The Scaling Wall

The height of the wall is 14 or 15 feet (4 or 4.5 meters).  The spacing between each hole is one foot (30cm).

The student takes a peg in each hand and scales the wall and then comes back down.

The difficulty of this exercise is that the scaling is done without the use of your feet.  It makes you work the arm and shoulder muscles as well as the general chest muscles.  It also helps to develop agility and courage.

Safety First

Always place a mattress at the foot of the wall.  It should be a mattress similar to the ones used for pole vaulting.

6. Rounded (arched) Bench

The rounded bench has proven to be a great growth apparatus.  By using this bench, you will expand your thoracic cage.  It will develop your shoulders and make your spinal column more supple.

You can build this half-moon bench to benefit from its effectiveness.  I suggest the following dimensions:

Width:         12 inches (30cm)

Length:        6 feet (1.80m)

Radius:        2 ½ feet (75cm)

Half circumference:         7 6/7 feet (2.40 m)

Diameter:     5 feet (1.50m)

7. Roller

A pleasant complement to your stretching exercises is this beneficial roller.  It helps to strengthen your muscles and to make them supple.

8. Inverted Boots

Dr. M. Martin is the inventor of the inverted boot.  Exercises done with these special boots decompress the spinal column.  It helps to correct posture, increase flexibility and soothes aching backs.

To make the exercises more effective, athletes use weights on a progressive basis over a fixed period of time.


Exercises done, when the head hangs below the feet, can present some danger concerning blood pressure.  At the beginning, you shouldn’t hang longer than one minute.  Proceed cautiously and gradually.

*                 *                 *

I have just presented an array of equipment capable of stretching and toning the spinal column.  Obviously this isn’t complete.

I know there is other, more sophisticated equipment, whose aim is to develop ones stature.  If you are interested take the time to consult an orthopaedic equipment dealer.


1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, part 1, part 2), part 3), part 4), part 5), part 6)

Filed under: Journal 1

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