What is a Pull Up Bar?
Looking to take your health to the next level? Are you sick of weak back muscles holding you back? Does the idea of having to drive to a gym and pay for a membership cause you unnecessary anxiety?
If so, a pull up bar might be the answer to your problems.
A pull up bar is a suspended horizontal rod that you can use to do pull ups and similar body weight exercises. They are often installed in doorways, entryways, and hallways, but they can also be part of a free-standing piece of equipment or stick out from a wall. Typically, a pull up bar is high enough off of the floor so that the user must jump or at least stand on tip-toe to reach it.
Types of Pull Up Bars
As the name implies, pull up bars are typically rod-like in appearance. They can be separated into types based on how they are installed.
- Door Frame Mount: These pull up bars have a base that hangs off of a door frame. The hanging part curves underneath the frame, and the bar itself is suspended above the doorway.
- Horizontal Mount: These pull up bars attach to the opposite sides of a door frame, entryway, or hallway.
- Wall Mount: If you do not have a convenient entryway or door frame, a wall-mounted pull up bar is attached to two rods, much like a door-frame mount. The two rods, however, curve straight up and attach to a wall. The resulting pull up bar then sticks out from the wall. These mounts are great because they can be used both inside and outside.
- Ceiling Mount: Alternatively, you can mount a pull up bar to the ceiling. Typically, these bars have two rods or chains that extend from the bar to the ceiling for a secure hold. Ceiling mount pull up bars may be more likely to swing than other types of pull up bars.
- Free Standing: Free standing pull up bars are attached to a frame that sits on the floor. They can somewhat resemble an empty drying rack for clothes.
Considerations When Looking for a Pull Up Bar
There is a lot of variation in pull up bars on the market today. Some important things to consider before you buy include:
Some pull up bars can be put up and taken down quickly without fancy tools and hardware. These are perfect for people who travel a lot and want to take their pull up bar along. They are also nice for people who rent and cannot put up more permanent fixtures.
The two most common types of portable pull up bars are free standing and horizontal mounted. Free standing portable pull up bars are good for people who keep their pull up bar in the home while horizontal mounted portable pull up bars are better for those who are on the go.
Some pull up bars are easier to assemble than others. Does your pull up bar require additional equipment like screws or a drill? Will the installation comply with your landlord’s requirements if you rent? In addition, consider that it may take time to assemble a pull up bar, especially a free standing one. Make sure you know what you will need ahead of time!
What exercises can you do with your pull up bar? Can you adjust the height to do other exercises or to allow another household member to use it? Some pull up bars are designed to replace several pieces of workout equipment, while others are best for pull ups alone.
You should always consider the stability of your pull up bar! If it is not stable, you could be seriously injured or cause damage to the structure of your house. Also make sure to check the maximum weight limit of your pull up bar — some are lower than you would think!
Do you have the room for a freestanding pull up bar? Do you have a space to hang a door frame mounted pull up bar? For example, a wall mounted bar might be great, but it will not help you if you do not have a bare patch of wall to use it with!
Which Pull Up Bar is Best for You
The best pull up bar for you depends on your goals and your space!
Best Portable Pull Up Bar
Are you on the road a lot? Are multiple people of varying heights going to be using your pull up bar? Do you have a landlord who doesn’t want holes in the wall? Then you probably need a portable pull up bar!
Our favorite is the FEIERDUN Doorway Pullup Bar because it is highly portable and can be used in almost all standard door frames. Many portable pull up bars cannot hold more than 250 lbs, but this one can hold up to 440 lbs! As long as it is installed correctly, you can reach your fitness goals and keep your landlord happy!
Best Permanent Pull Up Bar
Our favorite permanent pull up bar is the ONETWOFIT wall mount pull up bar. This pull up bar can go on any bare patch of wall inside or outside. Like the FEIERDUN, it can support up to 440 lbs and has clear instructions so you can make sure you put it on compatible surfaces. This pull up bar also has cushioned handles and allows for both the classic and neutral grips.
Best Free Standing Pull Up Bar
The best free standing pull up bar is the CAP Exercise Stand. This free standing pull up bar is easy to assemble and does not take up too much room. It is also incredibly versatile and can be used for many different types of exercises such as bench pressing. In fact, CAP makes a wide variety of products, so it is also easy to use this exercise stand as a base for building your dream home gym.
Best Ceiling Pull Up Bar
Ceiling pull up bars are great because you can literally install them anywhere in your house. They are also especially useful for really tall folks because they can be installed higher up. Our favorite is the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mount Pull Up Bar. This pull up bar also has a fantastic return policy, so you are guaranteed to be satisfied with your results or get your money back.
Benefits to Using an At Home Pull Up Bar
Why pay for an expensive gym membership when you can get the benefits of a pull up bar at home? Having a pull up bar nearby will also encourage you to use it more frequently so you can really improve your muscular and skeletal health. With so many different options available, there is sure to be one that fits your needs and space.
Using a pull up bar consistently will allow you to build up your back, arm, and core muscles. In fact, strengthening them can help to ease pain and improve posture. Toned backs and shoulders also look much better than loose flab!
What Muscles Are Used on a Pull Up Bar
Regular pull ups primarily use your “latissumus dorsi” muscles, more commonly known as “lats.” These are located right behind your shoulders.
Pull up variations can emphasize many different muscle groups including biceps, triceps, grip strength, pectorals, and more. Your pull up bar really can give you a full body workout with just a few simple moves!
The Different Grips on a Pull Up Bar/Different Types of Pull Ups
A proper pull up uses an overhand grip and arms that are approximately shoulder width apart.
Chin ups, on the other hand, use an underhand grip and use more arm muscles than traditional pull ups. They are usually a little easier for beginners.
You can also vary the width of your grip to hone in on different muscle groups. Narrower grips will require more arm strength while wider grips will require more back strength.
Some pull up bars have small handles that stick out. If you were to grab them, your grips would be facing each other and you would be looking at your thumbs. This is called a “neutral grip” and is another great pull up variation. Note, however, that this variation is not compatible with all home pull up bars. Make sure yours has small handles that accommodate the neutral grip if this is something you want to try!
You can also use a pull up bar do do a dead hang which will improve your arm and grip strength. These are especially great for people who are new pull ups. Time yourself to see how long you can do a dead hang. Then, work your way up to chin ups and, eventually, full pull ups.
And if you are ready for a real challenge? Try a one arm pull up or chin up!
How to Do a Modified Pull Up
Not ready to do 50 reps of one-arm pull ups? That’s okay! Everyone needs to begin somewhere.
Modified pull ups are a great beginner exercise that targets the same muscles as regular pull ups.
To do a modified pull up, you will need a pull up bar that is about 30 inches off of the ground. Some free standing pull up bars can be adjusted for modified pull ups. You can also use a portable horizontal mounted pull up bar set at a lower height.
Slide yourself underneath the pull up bar so that you are laying on your back and looking up. Grab the bar, and pull yourself up. Your heels will still be on the ground when you bring your chest do the bar. Repeat.
What are Kipping Pull Ups
Nothing feels more amazing than finally completing a pull up — except completing more than one pull up.
Yet, getting reps can take a lot of practice. Kipping pull ups can help you increase your pull up count and enable you to reach your goals.
In a proper pull up, you will only use your arms and back to lift your body weight. When you do a kipping pull up, however, you will swing your legs to give yourself momentum. This will help you complete pull ups and get more reps in while you work up to the real thing. You don’t want to rely on your lower body forever, but it can certainly help at the beginning of your pull up journey!
Other Exercises You Can Do on a Pull Up Bar
This is a great beginner exercise that improves your grip and arm strength. It’s also very easy to do! Simply grab your pull up bar and hang. See how long you can go without dropping. You can try the dead hang with a pull up grip, chin up grip, or neutral grip.
Knees to Elbows
This exercise starts with a dead hang. Pull yourself up so that your arms form a ninety degree angle and your upper arm is parallel to the ground. Then, bring your knees up to your elbows. You can bring both knees at once or alternate sides.
Again, start in a dead hang. Then, slowly lift both legs so that they are parallel with the ground. Hold this for as long as you can. It shouldn’t take long before you feel the burn!
Accessories to Pull Up Bars
Ab straps hang down from your pull up bar and go over your upper arms. They help to keep you suspended so that you can do hanging exercises that target your abs such as leg raises and knees to elbows without having to worry as much about arm and grip strength. This means you can better target specific muscle groups. Ab straps will also allow you to rotate your body to utilize more muscle groups during your workout.
For some people, the difficulty with pull ups comes down to grip strength. Many people can develop cuts and painful calluses on their hands if they spend a lot of time on a pull up bar, especially if they do so in conjunction with other exercises that require a firm grip, such as kettle bells. Grip supports help to prevent calluses and wounds while allowing you to build up your strength with pull ups and other exercises.
Alternatively or in addition to grip support, you can put attachable grips right onto your pull up bar. These will also help to protect your palms while you do pull ups and making it easier to add more reps.
Power Grip Balls
Already a pull up master? Want to really challenge yourself? Try power grip balls! These small plastic balls hang down from your pull up bar. You can try holding onto them and doing the same exercises you would normally do on a pull up bar. This will just make those exercises 10x harder!
Pull Up Assist Bands
Pull up assist bands work somewhat like kipping pull ups because they provide additional momentum to help you complete reps. They are one way for beginners to try to perfect their pull ups and chin ups.
Last Words: Why Quality Matters
As always, the most important thing to remember when buying a pull up bar is quality. If you get a poor quality pull up bar, you will have poor quality results. In the worst case scenario, your pull up bar may break and cause an injury. It could also come out of the wall and cause damage to your home. If this happens, you will also need to spend money to repair the problems and then buy a new a pull up bar. Save yourself the trouble by buying something that is made to last the first time.
ComproGear is working on developing the best pull up bar on the market. In the meantime, check out our recommendations above. Your back will thank you!