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Pullup Bars for the Home Gym

Updated on April 12, 2015
The ultimate pull up station.
The ultimate pull up station. | Source

Which Pullup Bar is the Best for your Home Gym?

Few pieces of exercise equipment are as simple and effective as pull up bars. Far beyond doing basic pull up bar exercises, this handy bar can be used for abdominal work, wrist work, biceps exercises and more. People who can’t do a pull-up yet can use do assisted versions with the Pullup Revolution (featured below) or substitute a box or chair.

The possibilities are diverse, with a sturdy pullup bar even serving as an anchoring point for ropes, resistance bands or suspension trainers like the TRX.


Doorframe Pullup Bars

The bar you choose will depend on your budget, goals and the type of space you are working out in. A cheap indoor solution is the doorway pull up bar which uses brackets screwed into the frame of the door. This version has been around for decades, long before the iron gym pull up bar and its cousins came into existence.

As with all doorframe pull up bars, this version has its limitations. Wide grip exercises can only go so wide, and advanced moves above the bar are difficult or impossible to perform. Still, for the basics, it’s easily worth $20.

Today's doorframe pull up bar choices include expensive padded contraptions with multiple grips that need to be assembled. But there are also simple quality innovations like the highly rated Perfect Pullup. Shown at right, the Perfect Basic Pullup Bar is praised by users for its solid construction, top notch packaging, and easy installation to the door frame.

Besides rugged construction, the 'Perfect Basic' bar swings back and forth, allowing users to perform rowing exercises as well as pull up exercises. Price? Under $30.

The Who's Who of Pullups

Due to the number of times hot celebrities have been featured on and off the screen doing them, as well as the inherent difficulty, pullups are a famous and somewhat deified exercise. Who's doing pull-ups in the movies (or off)? It's a long list, but here are some our favorites:

Jade Vixen doing pull-ups in the nude. This was on Howard Stern's World's Strongest Naked Woman contest, broadcast on XM.
Jade Vixen doing pull-ups in the nude. This was on Howard Stern's World's Strongest Naked Woman contest, broadcast on XM. | Source
Robert DeNiro busting out his morning 50 in Taxi Driver. "Every muscle must be tight..."
Robert DeNiro busting out his morning 50 in Taxi Driver. "Every muscle must be tight..." | Source
Matthew McConaughey has been known to do a few pull-ups anywhere he can.
Matthew McConaughey has been known to do a few pull-ups anywhere he can. | Source
Remember the Bionic Woman television show? Well it was re-made for modern times. Actress Michelle Ryan is seen here getting in shape for the role. Nice one arm pull-up.
Remember the Bionic Woman television show? Well it was re-made for modern times. Actress Michelle Ryan is seen here getting in shape for the role. Nice one arm pull-up. | Source

Garage/Shed Pullup Stations

Garage and outdoor shed spaces allow you to be more creative with your pullup station. Install a commercial grade or homemade pull up bar, set up a power rack with a top bar, or suspend an iron pipe from the ceiling on some strong rope.

Let's talk about the homemade version for a moment. While a homemade pullup bar is typically priced below the basic doorway pull up bar, it has some additional advantages.

First, you can fit a nice wide pipe because you aren't limited by the doorframe width, which allows you to do wide grip pullups. Second, if the garage ceiling is high enough, the bar can be positioned to allow for some acrobatic trapeze work! Or at least enough so you can practice your “muscle-ups.” Third, a tough galvanized steel pipe suspended from the ceiling gives the user confidence. Some doorframe pullup bars can feel as though they might fall apart.

The handy do-it-yourselfer can build this station, but if you prefer to get a finished, professional product, look no further than Power Systems excellent ready-to-install sets.

These pullup stations will never be inadequate for your needs. The first is the Power Systems basic chin up/ pull up station. This is a solid steel pullup bar that is 46" long and sticks out 16" from the wall. A solid choice that should hold hundreds of pounds when mounted into the wall studs properly. You will need to buy your own installation hardware for this one. .

For about $20 more, you can get the upgraded adjustable Power Systems pullup station. This is the perfect piece for a home gym space with multiple users of different heights. Again, the pullup bar station mounts to the wall joists, and there are 5 adjustment positions every 4 inches. The system uses the familiar U-pin to lock the bar into position.

Like the non-adjustable power systems pullup station, this bar sits 16" out from the wall. These are top quality for a home gym, holding up to 350 lbs. The perfect choice for performing regular pullups, kipping pullups, muscle-ups, resistance band or suspension trainer work, and abdominal exercises.

While these versions cost more, they are a semi-permanent, high quality installation. A solid station like this gives you the confidence to put an all-out effort into your workout, and hopefully reach your pull up goals faster.


A Pullup Bar Workout

Once you have a pullup bar in the house or in your garage gym, a gym space without one feels naked. Find the right equipment for your home gym space and individual workout needs and start enjoying the advantages of a home pullup bar station.

Once you have your pull up station set up, try this workout and see if you can complete all the rounds in less than 15 minutes. Have fun!

Workout:

(after warm-up)

Circuit with no rest between exercises, 60 seconds between rounds.

Circuit #1

  • Jumping pull-ups x 10
  • Hanging knee raises: x12-15
  • Underhand Static Hang w/ engaged shoulders (not a dead hang) x 20 seconds
  • Regular (overhand) pull-ups x 6-8

Or: Circuit #2:

  • Alternate close grip pull ups: x 8-10
  • Hanging leg raises x12-15
  • Underhand pull ups x10-12

So the entire workout would be three rounds of either circuit #1 or circuit #2. Intermediate and advanced trainees could alternate circuits for a total of 6 rounds.

Pull Up Assistance

The pullup is a challenging exercise for many people, and there are many ways to perform assisted pull ups until you build up the strength and power to execute the full movement. Here are some free suggestions:

  • Stand on a ladder, chair, or stool. The ladder is advantageous because it gives you multiple positions to work from.
  • Perform 'jumping' pull ups, and resist the negative (downward) motion.

You can also purchase the Pullup Revolution from Lifeline USA. Basically, one end of this adjustable resistance band attaches to the pullup station/bar, while the other end has a foot cradle the user steps into. The pullup revolution assists the user to perform a full range of motion pull up in proper form. The upgraded 'Pro' version has a waist belt to assist with pushups as well.

No matter what pullup bar you choose, the key ingredient is you! As long as you have a strong, sturdy bar to pull up on, you can get great results. Buy the strongest pullup bar you can afford and it will bring you a lifetime of fun and effective bodyweight workouts.

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