Pull Up Bar – Everything You Need to Know

Having your own pull up bar in a home gym or office can simplify fitness for anyone with a busy schedule. And with so many variations of pull ups to practice, you won’t be bored anytime soon.

There are all types of pull up bars on the market. No matter what your needs are, one of them is sure to be a fit. Let’s take a look at a few of the best options out there and find out why pull ups are such a dynamic exercise.

Best Easy Setup Pull Up Bar

An easy set up pull up bar can simply be hooked over a door frame and be ready to use. Our top pick for this no-nonsense style of equipment is:

The Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar

Pros:

-Padded handles and grips throughout make this a comfy option.

-No installation is required. It can be temporarily hung from a 27- to 35-inch-wide door frame or used as a portable workout device.

-It comes with downloadable workouts inspired by the U.S. Navy SEAL’s training routine.

-Foam pads protect your door frame from damage.

-The bar holds up to 300 lb.

-Several grip options are available: close grip, classic grip, hammer grip and a wide-grip option to maximize lat strengthening.

-Can be flipped over and used for dips, pushups and situps.

Con:

-Several users have needed to replace the safety clip. However, reviews suggest that customer service is great and a complimentary replacement safety clip can be shipped to you upon request. Replacement parts are also for sale online.

Best Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar 

Titan HD Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar

Pros:

-The L-shaped brackets boost weight-bearing capability up to a max of 500 lbs.

-Mounting it on wood studs for a width of 16”, 32” or 52” will give it a safe and sturdy base.

-You can even install it on a concrete wall for any width you desire, up to 53”.

-The matte black finish enhances grip when you sweat.

-Reliable steel construction means this bar can withstand years of use by hard-training athletes.

-A professional pull up bar reminiscent of a gym or training facility bar, this item is ideal for anyone focused on body building or crossfit

-The customer service is spot on.

Con:

-Additional mounting equipment and tools not included with the device are needed for installation. But our step-by-step guide later in the article will tell you everything you need.

Best Free-Standing Rack Pull Up Bar 

OneTwoFit Multi-Function Power Tower

Pros:

-The OneTwoFit is designed to accommodate a variety of ages from youth to adult to senior.

-A unique combo of grips means you can easily adjust the width of your pull-up grip or even use this device for other types of strength-building workouts.

-It holds up to 330 lbs., and the height can be shifted from 79.5” up to 86.6”—a total of 3 height options.

-This stainless steel structure is 35.8” wide, creating a firm and unshakeable base for pull ups.

-Rubber tabs cover the steel feet to prevent movement of the equipment, even on tile flooring.

-Maintains a one-year warranty and part replacement.

Con:

-It will take time to put together once it arrives. However, customer reviews say the instructions are clearly laid out and easy enough to follow.

The Advantages of Pull Up Bars

Pull up bars are popular because they can easily be used at home and deliver impressive results. Imagine working out whenever you want to. With minimal equipment, you can reap the benefits of this multi-muscle workout device.

Pull ups are especially good at building width across the shoulders and upper back, giving you an attractive V-shaped silhouette. They’re ideal for producing the strong lat muscles essential for a powerful upper body.

If you’re setting up an epic home gym, a pull up bar is a must-have piece of equipment. But for many people, a pull up bar will be the only piece of gym equipment they need in their home as it works a full range of muscles simultaneously.

Your grip strength will be enhanced the more you integrate pull ups into your day. Those who participate in sports such as rock climbing or golf can have improved performance with better grip strength.

In many ways, a pull up bar makes strength training accessible to all. Even beginners who require assistance on the pull up bar or who simply hang from the bar can gain muscle mass and improve their grip. (We recommend wearing compression socks or leg compression sleeves to prevent blood from pooling in your legs during the hang.)

Pull up bars offer an affordable alternative to monthly gym memberships. There is a wide range of price options, from minimalistic bars to multi-use stand-alone equipment. Yet even a high-end pull up bar with a hefty price tag will more than pay for itself if it allows you to bypass that annual gym membership.

Quality Pull Up Bars vs. Cheap Pull Up Bars

A good quality pull up bar is important because it ensures your safety while using the equipment. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but make sure your pull up bar has these traits:

-Will not move or shift during use.

-The bar is designed to fit comfortably within your grip.

-Has a stainless steel construction.

-Is either coated with a matte finish or outfitted with padded grips to prevent slipping when the hands sweat.

-Is designed to minimize damage to the area it is installed.

You can tell a pull up bar is cheap, or possibly unsafe, if: 

-It’s constructed of thin bars that allow your fingers to overlap your hand when you grip.

-There is only bare stainless steel without a grip coating or pads.

-There are no padded or rubber pieces to prevent damage to the area you install the pull up bar.

-When in use, it wobbles or slides.

Different Types of Pull Ups 

The Standard Pull Up

The original pull up works the lats and only requires a basic pull up bar, nothing fancy.

How to: Grip the bar above you with the hands about a shoulder-width apart. Your palms will be facing away from you. Pull yourself upwards until your chin crests the bar, then lower your body by straightening the arms. The movements should be controlled and your body must be held rigid.

Wide Grip

Take your pull ups up a notch by widening your grip on the bar. This will make the exercise more difficult, but it’s a great way to target the lats.

Narrow Grip

Focus on building strength in the chest, arms and shoulders by moving your hands closer together on the bar as you do your pull ups.

Chin Ups

Alter your grip by having your palms face towards you rather than away from you. This underhand position targets the biceps.

Mixed Grip

A mixed grip provides the ultimate grip strength and is ideal for heavy weight reps. One palm faces towards you (like a chin up grip) and the other faces away from you (like a pull up grip).

Muscle Ups

In his step-by-step guide for Men’s Health, CrossFit coach James Pook suggests working your way towards a muscle up over the course of several training sessions: 

  1. First practice pull ups that require you to crest the bar up to your chest rather than your chin.
  2. Graduate to hip-to-bar pull ups.
  3. Work on your straight bar dips; you’ll need to manage four sets of six repetitions before moving to the next step.
  4. Prepare to do a full muscle up by hanging from the bar in an active kip swing motion. Pull up your body until the hips align with the bar, thrusting your head forward over the bar for momentum. Straighten your arms to lift your body up and out of the dip position. 

Australian Pull Ups

These are a great place to start if you’re a beginner. However, you will need a height-adjustable bar to perform one of these. 

How to: Move your pull up bar down to waist height or chest height. The higher it is, the greater leverage you will have, so chest height will feel easier. Hang “down under” the bar, as though you were in a reverse push up with your heels braced against the ground. Hold your body straight and rigid, pulling your chest towards the bar then back down.

Kipping Pull Ups

Always practice your kip swing movements and nail down a standard pull up before moving onto kipping pull ups, as injuries can occur if the movement is done incorrectly. You may want to book a session with a trainer to ensure you train with the correct motion.

How to: Grasp the bar as you would for a classic pull up, then swing your body to gain as much momentum as possible before executing the pull up motion. You’ll be able to perform more explosive movements during your workout with a kip swing motion. A sturdy pull up bar is essential for this move.

Which Muscles Are Trained Doing Pull Ups?

Pull ups are a strengthening exercise that work a full range of muscles, specifically the back muscles, arms/shoulders and the core. Take a look at the specific muscles within each of these three categories targeted by pull ups:

1.Major Back Muscles:

-Latissimus dorsi. 

-Rhomboids.

2.Arms and Shoulders: 

-Posterior deltoids. 

-Biceps.

3. The Core: 

-The obliques.

-Erector spinae. 

-Transverses abdominis. 

-Rectus abdominis. 

The Best Pull Up Bar Options 

To integrate pull ups and all the benefits that come with a stronger body into your daily routine, consider one of our top pull up bar picks:

No-Install Needed Pull Up Bar: Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar

With downloadable workouts, no installation needed and a 300 lb. capacity, the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar was made with both beginners and fitness veterans in mind. The padded grips accommodate a full range of grip positions. Flip this equipment over to use on the floor for pushups and dips.

Wall-Installed Pull Up Bar, Titan HD Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar

An indestructible steel construction that supports up to 500 lbs. gives this wall-mounted bar a tough reputation. The Titan HD Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar will hold up against years of hard training including bodybuilding, CrossFit or supplemental workouts for sports athletes.

Free-Standing Pull Up Bar, OneTwoFit Multi-Function Power Tower

Its adjustable height and variety of unique grip combos put the OneTwoFit Multi-Function Power Tower at the top of the list when it comes to pull ups bars. With a slender but sturdy base, you can install this stand-alone steel equipment wherever you know you’ll use it most.

Popular Pull Up Training Plans

3×10 Bodybuilding Style

This is a classic muscle-building routine which entails three sets of ten pull up repetitions. It’s a realistic and clearly defined goal to work towards. 

Grease the Groove

The concept behind this training regime is to make gradual gains by completing many short sets throughout the day. Try doing just four or five reps per set to keep the muscles from developing fatigue. For example, each time you walk past the pull up bar in your doorway, do a short set. Over time, your strength and skill will increase.

CrossFit

CrossFit includes several types of pull ups, but you’ll often hear about kipping pull ups and butterfly pull ups during CrossFit training. The goal is to use these styles of pull ups to increase your speed and metabolic output.

CrossFit is for more advanced athletes and should be done under the supervision of a CrossFit educator. Work your way towards a CrossFit routine by first building up strength with standard pull ups and nailing down a proper kip swing motion. Always follow the exercise guidelines developed by the CrossFit headquarters to reduce your chance of injury. 

Pull Ups for Beginners

It is common for both athletes and weightlifters to struggle with their first pull ups. Work you way up in steps by focusing on improved grip strength and stronger lats through the following exercises:

Dead Hangs

The first step to any pull up is better grip strength, and practicing dead hangs can help. Grasp the pull up bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart, extending straight and hanging from the bar so that your entire body weight is suspended. 

Spartan Training recommends starting off with just a 15-20 second dead hang and says that sliding your shoulders back a bit will activate your core. Eventually you’ll be able to work towards two full minutes of hang time.

Chair Support: 1st Level

If you’re just getting started on your pull up journey, you may find you cannot pull your body up so your chin is level with the bar. Grab a chair to give yourself some support.

Choose a chair that is strong and will not move; it should have a high back. Set the chair underneath the pull up bar facing you. 

The edge of the chair must be directly below the bar. Grasp the bar with your palms facing away from yourself and hands shoulder-width apart. Try to rest just one foot on the chair as you hang from the bar. 

The second leg can hang straight, without assistance from the chair. Push yourself upwards using the foot resting against the chair, but only allow yourself the minimal amount of assistance needed to complete the pull up. Your back muscles will be doing most of the lifting.

Chair Support: 2nd Level

Once you have mastered pull ups with support from the seat of the chair, turn the chair to face away from you. Slide the chair far enough away from the pull up bar that you will need to extend your leg to rest your foot on the back of the chair. Place something heavy on the seat of the chair to prevent it from tipping or have a workout partner hold the chair in place with their foot.

As you do the pull ups, rest one of your feet on the backrest while the other leg hangs directly below you. This will give you a small boost but won’t allow for much assistance, as you’ll be reaching for the chair. You’ll feel the intensity of your workout increase as a result.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Buying, Installing and Training

There are three popular categories of pull up bars on the market: no-Install pull up bars, wall/doorway installed bars and free-standing pull up bar equipment. Which one is best for yoou?

No-Install Needed Pull Up Bars

  1. If you’re looking for equipment that can be moved around the house or office as needed, won’t damage the walls and takes only a few seconds to set up, a no-install pull up bar is for you. Note that this type of bar cannot be used for more advanced pull ups such as kipping pull ups or muscle ups.
  2. Look for a quality pull up bar online with either a matte finish or padded grips to prevent slipping. Read the customer reviews.
  3. Before making your purchase, it’s best to measure the width of your door. The length of the pull up bar must be greater than the width of your door.
  4. Once you’ve found a bar that meets these requirements– we recommend the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar–place your order! You may wish to start planning your pull up workout while you wait for delivery.
  5. “Installing” a no-install pull up bar is simple. Hold the Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Doorway Pull Up Bar slightly above and out in front of you with the logo facing you, rightside up. Step close to the doorway and hook the ridge with the logo above the door frame on the opposite side. Slowly lower the bar on your side of the door until both padded ends of the bar rest against the frame or wall.

Wall-Installed Pull Up Bars

  1. If you have your heart set on executing all styles of pull ups and prefer the option of customizing your bar height, then a wall-installed pull up bar is for you. Installing one of these will require a power drill, a stud finder and some basic handyman skills.
  2. As you shop, look for a bar like the Titan HD Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar with stainless steel construction, pad grips or a matte finish to keep you from slipping as your hands sweat.
  3. You can find sturdy wall-mounted bars online at ____________. Once your bar arrives at your home, you can begin the installation process.
  4. To safely support your weight, each mount must be screwed into studs in the wall. Use a stud finder to determine where the studs are and mark the edges of each stud. For example, the width of the Titan HD Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar can be adjusted for studs 16”, 32” and 52” apart.
  5. Determine the height you want your bar installed at. An ideal height will allow you to fully grip the bar as you reach upwards with your arms nearly straight so you can begin a pull up from a standing position. Mark the height on the wall, then double-check it.
  6. Align one of the two Titan HD brackets vertically on top of a stud at the height you have chosen. Make a mark on the wall through each of the bracket’s screw socket openings. 
  7. Move over 32” or 52” (your choice) from the first bracket’s stud. Use your stud finder again to double-check that there are studs. Now mark the wall for the second bracket as you did the first. The width between the two brackets needs to accommodate the width of your body so you can comfortably execute pull ups.
  8. With the markings as your guide, use a power drill to secure each bracket to the studs. A total of six 4.5” lag screws with washers (not included) are needed to install both brackets. You may need to hand-tighten the screws after using the drill.
  9. Feed the pull up bar horizontally through the circular opening in each of the brackets. The bar will join the two brackets together. Hand-tighten the bar screws (included) to lock it in place.

Here is a video demonstrating how to install the Titan HD Pull Up Bar: https://youtu.be/QkYf-qMTnN0

Free-Standing Pull Up Bars

  1. If you’d like to do more than just pull ups with your equipment, or if people of various heights will be using the pull up bars, then an adjustable free-standing pull up bar station is a great option. 
  2. Assess if you have the space for a free-standing pull up station like the OneTwoFit Multi-Function Power Tower. With measurements of 35.8”x 47.5”x 79.5”-86.6”, this option does require more space than a simple doorway pull up bar. 
  3. If everything lines up, purchase a quality free-standing pull up station through ________________.
  4. When your OneTwoFit Multi-Function Power Tower arrives, follow the simple assembly instructions provided in the packaging. You’ll be pleased to find that putting together the Power Tower is easy and many customers are able to do it without assistance. 
  5. Be sure to check that all the screws are tight before you begin your pull up training.

A home or office pull up bar is a convenient option for modern lifestyles. You’ll have the ability to customize your workout and it saves you the hassle of a costly gym membership.

Visit ________________ today to view your options for the best pull up bars. Regardless of where you live or your daily routine, there is a pull up bar for every lifestyle and budget.