- 1 Best Portable Pull Up Bars Under $60
- 2 Best Extending Pull Up Bars Under $40
- 3 Top 10 Best Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4 Types of Pull Up Bars
- 4.1 Portable Doorway Pull Up Bars
- 4.2 Top 5 Best Doorway Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4.3 Wall-Mounted Pull Up / Chin Up Bars
- 4.4 Top 5 Best Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4.5 Extending / Telescopic Door Frame Pull Up Bars
- 4.6 Top 5 Best Extending Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4.7 Free Standing Pull Up Stations and Power Towers
- 4.8 Top 5 Best Freestanding Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4.9 Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bars
- 4.10 Top 5 Best Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 4.11 Outdoor Pull Up Bars
- 4.12 Smith Machine / Power Rack Pull Up Bars
- 4.13 Top 5 Best Power Rack Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
- 5 How to Install Pull Up Bars
- 6 Benefits of Using a Pull Up Bar
- 7 Types of Pull Ups
- 8 Difference Between a Pull Up and Chin Up
- 9 A Word of Caution
- 10 Final Advice for Buying a Pull Up Bar
There are many different types of pull up bar to choose from. Each bar supports a range of body weight exercises, but some are more portable than others.
Doorway, ceiling-mounted, and telescopic pull up bars are both lightweight and affordable, but pull up variations are limited. They can’t be used for kipping pull ups or muscle ups, which are popular for CrossFit athletes.
In this guide, we’ll review and compare some of the best pull up bars on the market. These are tried-and-tested designs that are perfect for upper body workouts in your own home gym.
Best Portable Pull Up Bars Under $60
Pull up bars are an inexpensive way to build a sculpted physique from the convenience of your own home.
Many of the top designs use the same basic construction of a steel frame, coated rubber grips, and toughened plastic. This includes the mechanism used to secure the pull up bar to a door frame, wall or ceiling.
Listed below you’ll find our top picks for pull up bars under $60, some with over 1,000 reviews on Amazon.
Best Extending Pull Up Bars Under $40
Extending doorway pull up bars are another popular option, as they place less stress on the top of the frame.
Many are just as strong as the bars that hang over the frame, supporting up to 300 lbs of weight. They’re also an excellent option for wider door frames (to 40”), but can require mounting brackets, which mark the frame.
Some of the best extending pull up bars, like the JFIT Deluxe model, only have one telescoping end. This helps to improve safety during intense upper body workouts at home.
Top 10 Best Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
We’ve shortlisted 10 of the top pull up bars on the market, based on price, weight capacity, and exercise options.
In-depth reviews and a walkthrough of the different types of pull up bar is available later in the guide.
1. Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
2. ProSource Multi-Grip Doorway Trainer
3. Fitness Reality X-Class Power Tower
4. Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar
5. JFIT Deluxe Doorway Pull Up Bar
6. Ultimate Body Press Wall Mount Pull Up Bar
7. Valor Fitness CHN-UP Pro Chin Up Bar
8. Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar
9. Stamina 1690 Power Tower
10. Bowflex Body Tower
Types of Pull Up Bars
Each pull up bar has the same basic function. That is, enabling you to raise your body off the ground using a variety of upper body muscle groups. This includes your arms, back, shoulders, and chest.
How many pull ups you can perform is based on your personal fitness level.
Buying a pull up bar can help you increase this number, especially if it’s placed at a convenient location in your home.
But how do you decide which type of pull up bar is best for your personal fitness goals?
Portable doorway bars, permanent wall or ceiling joist bars, stand-alone power towers, and power rack pull up bars all have their benefits.
In this part of the guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons for each type. This includes recommendations for the best pull up bars to buy.
Portable Doorway Pull Up Bars
Doorway pull up bars are designed to fit over the top of the door frame, with no fixings or brackets. The curved frame shape holds it in place through the counter-balancing of your body weight.
Having a lightweight, portable design means it can be removed from the doorway within seconds. But most are only suitable for residential doorways, up to 32-inches in width. For anything wider, you’ll need a telescopic pull up bar.
You can also benefit from a variety of grip positions, including close grip, neutral grip, and wide grip. This helps to activate different upper body muscles groups.
The best doorway pull up bars can also slide to the base of the door frame, for additional exercise options.
Top 5 Best Doorway Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
Our shortlist of the top doorway pull up bars is based on several important factors. This includes having a sturdy construction, high weight capacity, multiple grip positions, and how well it protects your door frame.
We also considered how well the bar fits to standard door frames, and the level of comfort provided by the handles.
1. Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Iron Gym describe this as a Total Upper Body Workout Bar, for its ability to train every upper body muscle group.
Pull ups and chin ups from the top of the door frame, with a narrow, neural, or wide grip. Switch to the floor, and you can perform crunches and tricep dips. Hanging leg raises can also be performed to help strengthen your core.
- Strong steel construction
- Comfortable foam grips
- Max user weight: 300 lbs
- Fits doorway width of 24″ to 32″
- Assembly tools included
With this selection of exercises, you can create a home workout that targets your biceps, back, shoulders, chest, abs, and triceps.
The reinforced, durable contact points work with your body weight to create the leverage needed to hold it in position. This helps prevent damage to the walls and door frame, as there’s no need for any screws or fittings.
With thousands of highly rated reviews on Amazon, the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar is one of the best portable pull up bars on the market.
If your bodyweight is lighter than the 300 lb weight capacity, you can even perform weighted pull ups. This is where you attach a dip belt to your waist, and slide on weight plates to make the exercise extra challenging.
Designed to fit residential doorways measuring between 24″ and 32″ in width. Iron Gym also recommend that the doorway trim / molding is less than 3.5-inches wide.
The Iron Gym Extreme is an upgraded version with additional grip positions, but usually costs twice the price.
2. ProSource Multi-Grip Heavy Duty Doorway Trainer
The ProSource Multi-Grip pull up bar is almost identical to the Iron Gym Extreme, but usually costs half the price.
This means it’s direct competition for the Iron Gym Upper Body Workout Bar, with both products available for under $30.
- 10 ProSource foam grips and 2 PVC textured handles
- Mount on a door frame or fix with J brackets
- Total bar width: 41-inches
- Suitable for doorway widths: 24″ to 36″
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Includes full assembly instructions
The ProSource doorway pull up bar features 12 comfortable handle sections, and a wide range of grip positions. As with the Iron Gym, this includes neutral grip, wide grip, and close grip pull ups.
You can also create a complete upper body workout that targets your biceps, shoulders, chest, back, and triceps. Hanging leg raises, oblique crunches, and sit ups are also possible, if you want to strengthen and tone your abs.
With a high-grade steel construction, the ProSource Doorway Trainer can support up to 300 lbs. The lightweight and compact design also means it’s quick to install on any residential doorway between 24″ and 36″ in width.
If you have a more permanent location in mind, you also have the option of wall mounting the ProSource bar. This can be done using the J hooks provided.
Overall, this is the best option for a multi-functional doorway pull up bar that can be both fixed and portable.
3. Perfect Fitness Multi-Gym Pro Doorway Pull Up Bar
As with the Iron Gym and ProSource pull up bars, the Perfect Fitness multi-gym has a 300 lb weight capacity.
Depending on which version you choose (Sport, Pro, or Elite), it can also fit door frames up to 35″ wide, which is wider than the Iron Gym (31″), but not as wide as ProSource (36″).
- Available in Sport (compact), Pro, and Elite versions
- Fit door frames from 27″ to 35″ in width
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Patented door frame protectors
- 1-year manufacturer’s warranty
The patented door frame guards offer an added layer of protection, to prevent any damage or scuff marks. They also help distribute the pressure more evenly to improve stability.
Foam coated handles provide added comfort during neutral, wide grip, and close grip pull up exercises. Padding on the curved frame provides added cushioning for your hands during push-ups and dips, targeting your chest and triceps.
Ab workouts focused on strengthening and toning your core muscles are also possible.
If you attach the Perfect Fitness pull up bar to the top of the door frame, you can perform hanging leg raises, while on the ground you can perform sit ups and crunches.
4. Ultimate Body Press XL Doorway Pull Up Bar
Ultimate Body Press have created a doorway pull up bar that’s completely unique in its design.
The elevated bar position enables even very tall users to experience the full range of motion during pull ups. You also have the multiple grip positions for neutral, close grip, and wide grip pull ups.
- Elevated bar design for greater wall clearance
- Fits residential doorways from 24″ to 36″ wide
- 300 lb weight capacity
- Compatible with suspension trainers and ab straps
- Exercises for the full range of upper body muscle groups
- No need for screws or drilling
To complete your upper body, bodyweight workouts, you can also perform hanging leg raises to target your abs. Alternatively, position the bar on the floor to perform dips, push-ups, and crunches, to target a wider range of muscle groups.
As with most doorway pull up bars, the Ultimate Body Press XL is compatible with a variety of accessories. This includes suspension trainers, ab straps, gymnastic rings, and pull up/chin up assist bands.
Best of all, the design leverages body weight to create a secure locking fit around door frames, without the need for permanent fixings. Fits door frames up to 3.5″ deep, with widths ranging from 24″ to 36″.
5. Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus Doorway Pull Up Bar
The Stamina Doorway Trainer doubles the number of neutral grip positions, compared to the bestselling Iron Gym pull up bar.
With five grip positions to choose from, you can quickly switch between close grip, wide grip, and two types of neutral grip pull ups. Using a supinated grip, you can also perform close grip chin ups.
- Suitable for doorways up to 36″ wide
- Attaches to doorway molding up to 3.5″ in height
- Sturdy steel construction
- Comfortable, non-slip padded grips
- 5 grip positions to choose from
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Bar braced over the frame – no permanent fixings
- 250 lb weight capacity
This lightweight and portable piece of home gym equipment is ideal for bodyweight workouts. From the top of the door frame you can perform a range of pull ups, or setup on the floor to begin a chest and tricep workout, with dips and push-ups.
The only downside with the Stamina doorway pull up bar is the weight capacity. At 250 lbs, it’s a full 50 lbs less than you get with any other doorway bar in our top 5. That being said, it’s also the cheapest.
Wall-Mounted Pull Up / Chin Up Bars
Wall mounted pull up bars should be fixed to a concrete wall or the studs in a plastered wall. They take a bit more time to install, but generally require less space, and you don’t have to worry about storage.
Unlike doorway pull up bars, these require permanent fixings, which is why they’re a popular option for garage gyms.
Wall mounted pull up bars are also more expensive than the doorway version, but provide greater wall clearance. You also have greater freedom of choice over their positioning.
Top 5 Best Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
Listed below you’ll find a shortlist of the top wall mounted pull up bars on the market. These were chosen based on the frame strength, range of grip positions, customer feedback, and ease of installation.
We also considered how easily you could attach accessories, such as ab straps and assisted pull up bands. For many people, this is an important part of building the initial strength needed to perform body weight pull ups.
1. Ultimate Body Press Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
Ultimate Body Press has a reputation for designing some of the best pull up bars on the market.
We’ve already mentioned their XL doorway pull up bar, but the wall mounted version is equally as popular. This is thanks to the precision engineered steel frame, with mounting plates wide enough to cover any drilled holes.
- 42″ wide pull up bar
- 14-21″ of wall clearance
- High-density foam for a comfortable grip
- Compatible with ab straps and suspension trainers
- Mounting hardware, parallel grips, and bars included
- Gun metal finish
Aside from the solid construction, you also have four grip positions to choose from. These were improved in 2014, based on customer feedback, and support pull ups with a wide, neutral, and close grip.
Using a supinated grip or pronated wide grip means you’re positioned around 14-inches from the wall. This is when some customers have experienced issues with their feet touching the wall during the workout.
There are several ways to avoid this, including bending your knees, and facing away from the equipment during the exercise.
Neutral-grip pull ups mean there’s around 21-inches between your body and the wall, which is plenty of space to perform pull ups and muscle ups, but maybe not kipping pull ups.
Note: Pay close attention to the date Amazon reviews were posted. Some were posted pre-2015, which was when UBP increased the steel thickness for the bar and mounting plates by 30%. They also upgraded the mounting hardware with larger diameter bolts around the same time.
2. Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull Up Chin Up Bar
Titan Fitness are renowned for their affordable power racks and strength equipment, which also extends to pull up bars.
The great thing about the Titan Fitness Wall Mounted pull up bar is the versatility. You can install the frame vertically or horizontally, and create a custom width of 16″, 32″, or 52″. (The width of the horizontal bar is 53″, so this may require some cutting down).
- Can be adapted into a multiple person pull up station
- Mount on 16″ wood studs for custom widths
- Can be installed vertically or horizontally
- Includes two L shaped brackets and a 53″ bar
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
Another impressive feature is the strength. The 500 lb weight capacity is 200 lbs more than the strongest doorway pull up bars on the market.
In terms of cost, the Titan Fitness pull up bar retails for around half the price of the Rogue P-3. Specs are virtually identical, with both bars supporting 500 lbs, using a 52″-54″ bar, and with a product weight of 30-35 lbs.
The big difference between the Titan and Rogue Fitness bars is that the P-3 has multiple settings for the distance from the wall. The bar can be set at 14″ or 22″, whereas the Titan bar is set around 30″ from the wall.
3. Rogue P-3 and P-4 Pull Up Systems
Rogue Fitness are perhaps best known for their CrossFit equipment, which includes rigs, power racks, barbells, and pull up bars.
Their full collection includes wall mounted, ceiling mounted, freestanding, and portable pull up systems. But it’s the P-3 and P-4 pull up bars that are most suited to compact home gyms.
- Includes 52″ pull up bar and mounting brackets
- 1×2″ 11-gauge steel construction
- Can be anchored securely to concrete or wood studs
- Up to 22″ depth for the P-3. 30″ depth for the P-4
- Weight capacity: 500 lb+
- Made in Ohio
The P-3 is the more affordable of the two, with multiple settings for the distance between the bar and wall.
This is the main area where the pull up systems vary, as the P-4 is set at 30” from the wall – 8″ more than the maximum setting on the P-3. Having this extra depth gives you more space to perform kipping pull ups.
Both the P-3 and P-4 have a weight capacity of 500 lbs+, with a 1×2″ 11-gauge steel construction and 52″ bar. They can also be fixed either vertically or horizontally, but mounting hardware is not included. Using 4″ long 3/8″ lag bolts for the brackets is recommended.
4. Gronk Fitness Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
This design from Gronk Fitness is a little different to the wall mounted pull up bars mentioned so far.
Rather than having a single bar between the horizontal supports, this offers a wide variety of grip options, including wide, narrow, and neutral grip. Wide and narrow grip pull ups can be performed pronated, or switch to supinated for chin ups.
- Can be used as a dip, pull-up, and muscle-up station
- Multiple grip positions to target your muscles from
- Powder coated to prevent corrosion
- Includes all necessary hardware and instructions
- Bodyweight training for your back, abs, biceps, and shoulders
- Weight capacity: 800 lbs
The Gronk Fitness Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar features a very similar design to the XMark XM-9025. In fact, the grip positions, mounting width (48″), and frame design are virtually identical.
With the Gronk bar the company claims it can support 700-800 lbs, but we were unable to find any weight capacity for the XM-9025. At the time of writing, the Gronk bar cost around $50 more than the XMark bar, making it the most expensive option on our list.
That being said, feedback in the customer reviews has been excellent. People appreciate the quick and easy install, solid design, and high level of customer service.
5. Valor Fitness CHN-UP Pro Style Mount Chin Up Bar
The CHN-UP Pro wall-mounted pull up bar is very similar in design to the Gronk Fitness model, and the XMark XM-9025. All three bars feature a 48″ width, making it easier to mount them on wall studs.
The Gronk Fitness version is the strongest, with an 800 lb capacity. But the Valor Fitness CHN-UP Pro is the cheapest, and still supports an impressive 600 lbs of weight.
- Multiple handles support all pull up variations
- High quality monkey chin up bar that’s cheaper than Gronk Fitness
- 48″ total length. 30″ clearance from the wall
- 1.25″ steel bar with knurling for improved grip
- Includes all necessary fixing hardware
- 5-year warranty
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs
Although the style of support frame is different, you can still perform all types of pull up. From wide grip to narrow grip, neutral grip with the parallel bars, or even 45 degrees. The clearance from the wall is also 6-inches more than with the Gronk pull up bar.
Powder coated bars help improve the durability, and create a more effective gripping surface. This is in addition to a 5-year warranty that protects the CHN-UP Pro against any defects during normal use.
Extending / Telescopic Door Frame Pull Up Bars
Telescopic pull up bars feature a chrome tube that extends to fit between the uprights of a door frame, usually up to 40-inches in width. A rubber pad is often attached to each end of the bar, to protect the door frame from damage and create enough tension to support your body weight.
Some designs are supplied with mounting brackets to prevent the bar slipping when in use, but these require small screws that leave marks in the door frame.
Compared to doorway pull up bars, the grip positions are much more limited. You don’t have the width to perform wide grip pull ups, or the handles to perform the exercise with a neutral grip (palms facing). This means you’re limited to close grip pull ups, or chin ups with a supinated grip.
Extending pull up bars are also the cheapest and easiest to install. They’re quick to setup and remove, but don’t support the same weight capacity as wall or ceiling-mounted pull up bars. Hand grips are often coated for added comfort.
Top 5 Best Extending Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
Portable pull up bars that fit between a door frame require a functional and secure telescoping design.
We created a shortlist of the top 5 telescopic pull up bars, based on their sturdy construction, comfortable hand grips, customer feedback, and how secure they are once fitted.
1. Sunny Health and Fitness Doorway Chin Up Bar
The Sunny Doorway Pull Up Bar is quick to install, and extends to fit standard door frames up to 36-inches wide.
The design isn’t as heavy duty as the wall or ceiling mounted bars, but it can still safely support up to 220 lbs. Non-slip grips at each end of the bar help prevent unwanted movement when in use.
- Adjustable bar length: 24.5″ to 36″
- Supports pull ups, push-ups, and ab workouts
- Includes fitting screws and weight bearing brackets
- Non-slip, padded hand grips to protect your hands
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
Although it has fewer grip positions than the ProSource Doorway Trainer, the Sunny Pull Up Bar is almost half the price.
When fitted near the top of the door frame, you can perform supinated and pronated grip pull ups. Set the bar near the base of the frame, and it can help you perform push-ups and sit ups, for a total upper body workout.
The only downside is that you need to fit weight bearing brackets to your door frame for added security. The initial setup takes around 10 minutes, and requires 3 small screws in each side of the frame. Once these are in place, you can setup and remove the bar in seconds.
2. GoFit Chin-Up Bar
The GoFit Chin Up Bar adjusts to fit most standard width interior door frames, extending from 28″ to 36″.
As with the Sunny Pull Up Bar, mounting hardware is provided. This includes 4 weight bearing brackets – 1 set for near the top of the frame, and 1 set near the base.
- Heavy duty chrome steel pull up bar
- Adjusts to fit door frames from 28″ to 36″ wide
- Foam padded hand grips for added comfort
- Full set of mounting hardware included
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
However, GoFit report their pull up bar has a 300 lb weight capacity. That’s 80 lbs more than the design from Sunny Health and Fitness.
As with most extending pull up bars, the screws used to attach the brackets to the door jamb will leave small marks. The mounting brackets are also quite wide for some door frames, but customers managed to secure the fixings using 3 out of 5 screws without issue.
Unfortunately, the padded grips are attached with Velcro, which means they spin freely when performing pull ups and chin ups. This is the same as the JFIT Doorway Pull Up Bar, which also reports a weight capacity of 300 lbs.
3. Garren Fitness Maximiza Pull Up Bar
The Garren Fitness Maximiza is one of the only doorway pull up bars to include multiple sets of fixing hardware. This includes two heavy-duty sets (300 lb capacity), and one medium-duty set (150 lb capacity).
While the heavy-duty set is perfect for pull ups, the medium-duty set is better used as an anchor point for sit ups and crunches.
- Adjusts to fit door frames from 26″ to 36″ wide
- Non-slip extra-long foam grips for improved comfort
- Body weight exercise options include pull ups, leg raises, and sit ups
- Requires 3 small screws in each side of the door frame
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Maximiza is stronger than the Sunny Doorway Bar, and has the same maximum doorway width of 36-inches. Unfortunately, it’s also twice the price, usually listed for around $35 on Amazon.
What you’re paying for is the heavier weight capacity (+80 lbs) and wider range of grip positions. The Sunny pull up bar only has very short grip sections, which will wear out quicker than the grips on the Maximiza.
Both the Sunny and Garren Fitness pull up bars come with multiple fixing kits. One uses weight bearing brackets for pull ups and dips, while the other is non-weight bearing, for sit ups and crunches.
At the time of writing this guide, the Garren Fitness bar had the higher review ratings on Amazon. Customers praised the strength, how quick it was to setup, and how easy it was to move between locations.
4. JFIT Deluxe Doorway Pull Up Bar
Most extending pull up bars, like the Maximiza and GoFit Chin-Up Bar, are limited to 36″. But the JFIT Deluxe Doorway Pull Up Bar is a popular choice for anyone with wider door frames, thanks to the 40″ maximum length.
- Fits doorway frames from 31″ to 40″ wide
- Removable hand grips with velcro fasteners
- Supplied with one set of safety brackets
- Replacement brackets and mounting hardware available
- Bar extends from one telescoping end for safety
- Company located in Vancouver, Washington
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Due to the way the JFIT Pull Up Bar is designed, you only have to tighten one telescoping end. This is what helps support the 300 lb weight capacity, even at full extension.
In terms of comfort, padded hand grips are provided to cushion your hands and prolong muscle fatigue. They’re also attached with velcro, making them quick and easy to adjust for different grip positions.
Additional mounting kits are available if needed, but the kit supplied will enable fitting to the top and bottom of the door frame.
This allows you to perform pull ups, dips, sit ups, and crunches. You’ll need to drill a few small holes in the door frame for the brackets, so bear this in mind if you’re living in a rental property.
One recommendation we have when using the JFIT bar is to perform pull ups from the side that tightens the bar. This means you won’t inadvertently loosen the bar during your workout.
5. ProSource Heavy-Duty Easy Gym Lite
The ProSource Easy Gym Lite is another pull up bar suitable for wide doorways, with a maximum length of 39″. Unfortunately, this isn’t as strong as the JFIT bar, and only has a 220 lb weight capacity.
- Adjusts to fit door frames from 25″ to 39″
- Can be used for body weight workouts, such as P90X
- ProSource Comfort grips to minimize slipping
- Includes end cap brackets and screws for mounting
- Quick and easy installation
- Requires 3 small screws in each side of the door frame
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
Mounting brackets are fitted in much the same way as other doorway bars, with 3 small screws in each side of the frame.
Comfort grips have also been added to minimize slipping during body weight workouts, such as P90X and Insanity.
You can usually save yourself $5 buying the ProSource Easy Gym Lite bar instead of the JFIT bar. But considering the difference in weight capacity and review ratings, our preference would always be to buy the JFIT.
As a company, ProSource have an impressive reputation for delivering high-quality, affordable fitness equipment. This includes everything from acupressure mats and foam rollers, to protective flooring tiles for home gyms.
Free Standing Pull Up Stations and Power Towers
Freestanding pull up and dip stations, like the Weider Power Tower, usually have a higher weight capacity than doorway pull up bars. They also offer a better choice of exercise options, such as weighted dips, assisted pull ups, and push-ups.
But due to their size and fact that they can’t be folded, if you have a compact home gym, it’s important to find a permanent location in your home.
Because it’s freestanding and doesn’t require a power outlet, you can even position your pull up station in a garage gym if there isn’t space in the house. The only downside is they often require a higher ceiling than you need with doorway pull up bars.
Top 5 Best Freestanding Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
Freestanding pull up stations are also known as ‘power towers’. Many of the best power towers support a wide range of exercises for upper body muscle groups.
This includes wide grip pull ups, chin ups, dips, hanging leg raises, push ups, and the roman chair leg raise.
Below, you’ll find a shortlist of the top freestanding pull up towers on the market, some of which have over 1,000 highly rated reviews on Amazon.
1. Fitness Reality X-Class Power Tower
The X-Class Power Tower is one of the strongest on the market, with a weight capacity of 400 lbs. That’s 100 lbs more than Bowflex, XMark, and Weider.
It’s also fitted with a set of handles for performing body weight rows, which is a feature that’s unique to the X-Class.
- Multiple grip pull up/chin up station
- Ergonomic back support with 3″ thick padding
- Dip station
- 2 adjustable handles for push ups and rows
- 20+ exercise options for home workouts
- Warranty: 10 years frame, 3 years parts, 2 years wearables
- Dimensions: 63.4″L x 49″W x 83″H
- Weight capacity: 400 lbs
The only downside is the price. At the time of writing this guide, Amazon had the X-Class Power Tower listed for just under $440.
It’s an incredible piece of fitness equipment, but at around $150 more than the Bowflex Body Tower, is it worth the money?
In our opinion, only if you need the 400 lb capacity, and that’s not as unusual as you might think.
A 200 lb guy with a few years of strength training could already be performing weighted dips with a couple of 45 lb plates attached to a weight belt.
If you’re serious about strength training and bodybuilding, then we would highly recommend the Fitness Reality X Class. The 10-year warranty on frame is exceptional, and twice as long as the 5 years you get with the Bowflex Body Tower.
2. Bowflex Body Tower
The Bowflex Body Tower is one of the few freestanding pull up towers to feature adjustable height dip bars. This is also an option with the Fitness Reality X-Class, while the Ainfox Power Tower features a height-adjustable pull up bar (64.6″ to 84.7″).
In terms of size, the footprint is larger than some power towers, but with a height that’s 6-inches shorter than the X-Class. The pull up bar is angled for wide grip pull ups, but with a curve in the middle that makes it difficult to perform close grip chin ups. There’s also no way to perform pull ups with a neutral grip.
- EZ-Adjust horizontal dip bars
- Support for 20+ exercises
- Commercial-grade steel frame
- Includes handgrips and sling straps
- Cushioned back pad for added lumbar support
- Workout placard provided as an exercise guide
- Dimensions: 50″L x 40″W x 77″H
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
Unfortunately, there’s no padded arm rests or back support cushion, which makes it difficult to perform roman chair leg raises. However, you can perform hanging leg raises with the sling straps (supplied), or lower the padded cross support to create an anchor point for sit ups and crunches.
For upper body workouts, you have 20+ exercises to choose from. Most are explained in the user manual, while the tower-mounted workout placard guides you through 8 of the best.
The warranty is also longer than for most Bowflex fitness equipment, with 5 years on the frame, and 1 year on wear parts.
3. Weider Power Tower
The Weider Power Tower is virtually identical to the Body Champ Power Tower, but often on sale for around $20 less. Aside from the price, the only difference is the amount of grip coating applied to the pull up bar.
For the Weider version, you have a full length padded hand grip between the uprights. In comparison, the Body Champ version has short sections of built-in foam cushions, which limits your choice of pull up positions.
- Pull up/push up station with padded hand grips
- Vertical knee raise (VKR) station for ab workouts
- Padded vinyl back support and arm cushions
- Dip station
- Anchor points for suspension trainers and P90X
- Dimensions: 57″L x 41″W x 84″H
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
As Weider produce one of the more affordable pull up stations, you can’t adjust the height of the dip bars or pull up bar. If this is a feature that’s important to you, the Fitness Reality X-Class and Bowflex Body Tower stations have height-adjustable dip bars.
Unfortunately, there’s no neutral grip position for pull ups. This is a common problem with power towers under $200. The ProGear 275 Fitness Station is one of the few that does, but the design makes it impossible to perform chin ups.
Without upgrading to a power rack, one of the only pull up stations that supports all grip positions is the Fitness Reality X-Class. This is from the company that used to be known as IRONMAN®, before they rebranded.
4. Stamina 1690 Power Tower
The Stamina 1690 is one of the best power towers on the market, in terms of value for money and customer feedback.
As with the Weider Power Tower, there’s no parallel bars for neutral grip pull ups. However, you can still perform wide grip pull ups and chin ups to train your back muscles, shoulders, and biceps.
- Wide base steel frame for added stability
- Supports push ups, pull ups, sit ups, dips, and leg raises
- Foam padded ankle holders for added comfort
- Non-slip end caps to protect flooring
- Foam padded grips to protect your hands
- Dimensions: 40.4″L x 50″W x 81.5″H
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
But the pull up bar is just one of the four workout stations available with the Stamina 1690. You also have the push up bars built into the base frame, parallel dip bars, and an anchor point for sit ups and crunches.
Available for under $100, the 1690 is cheaper than the power towers from Weider and Body Champ. This is reflected in the 250 lb weight capacity, but takes nothing away from the impressive build quality.
In terms of height, we recommend at least 90-inches from the floor to your ceiling. The Stamina 1690 measures around 82″ from the floor to the top of the pull up bar.
If your ceilings are much lower, you might want to consider the Ainfox power tower, where the height can adjust from 85-inches down to 65-inches if necessary.
5. XMark Multi-Function Power Tower (XM-4434)
The XMark XM-4434 Power Tower has a weight capacity that’s 50 lbs more than the Bowflex Body Tower, but 50 lbs less than the Fitness Reality X-Class.
The strength and range of exercise options is already proving popular. This allows you to perform knee raises, dips, push ups, and pull ups with a variety of grip positions.
Unfortunately, there’s no anchor point for your feet/ankles, so it’s difficult to perform sit ups and crunches.
- Pull up/chin up station
- Dip station with padded handles for comfort
- Vertical knee raise (VKR) station with padded back support
- Skid resistant rubber feet to protect floors
- Push up handles to target triceps, chest, and shoulders
- Heavy duty 14-gauge steel frame
- 2-inch high-density cushions with Duraguard vinyl
- Height: 86″
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
The only downside is that there’s no anchor points. It’s a similar story with the Weider Power Tower, but the Fitness Reality X-Class has 2 holes in the steel base frame to bolt it to the floor.
Some customers have also had problems with the grips on the handles. The material coating isn’t as easy to grip as on other power towers, and pull up grip positions are much more limited than the Fitness Reality X-Class.
Although the XM-4434 comes with a lifetime in-home warranty, this only applies to defects in materials/workmanship. It also excludes wear items, such as rubber grips and feet.
Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bars
This type of pull up bar can be mounted to the studs in your ceiling, making it a popular choice for garage gyms. Some wall-mounted pull up bars can also be fitted vertically from the ceiling, such as the P3 and P4 from Rogue Fitness.
Ceiling-mounted pull up bars are more expensive than the designs that fit your doorway, but also support a higher weight capacity.
Top 5 Best Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
When buying a new ceiling pull up bar, it’s important to check the width between the uprights. Most will be designed to fit a multiple of 16″, with 48″ being standard.
Weight capacity should support at least 300 lbs, with some of the top designs supporting 500 lbs+. In terms of price, you shouldn’t have to pay more than $150, and most are available for less than $80.
1. Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar
Ultimate Body Press are one of the best-known brands for pull up bars. Their ceiling-mounted version is suitable for homes with 16 or 24-inch joists, thanks to the reversible 14-inch risers.
- Designed for homes with 16 or 24-inch joists measured ‘on-center’
- Includes complete set of mounting hardware and instructions
- Patented 14-inch reversible risers
- 20″ parallel grip spacing
- High density foam grips for added comfort
- Ergonomic pull up bar supports all grip positions
- Compatible with gym rings and ab straps
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
Although it has fewer grip positions, the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Pull Up Bar is half the price of the Gronk Fitness design. But you can still perform wide grip pull ups and chin ups to build muscle and strength in your back, biceps, and shoulders.
You also benefit from a set of parallel pull up bars, which are spaced 20″ apart, and coated with a foam that makes them easier to grip. The 14″ ceiling clearance should also be enough to perform kipping pull ups as part of a CrossFit workout program.
2. Gronk Fitness Ceiling Mounted Multi-Grip Chin Up Bar
The Gronk Fitness Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar features a unique design with a wide range of grip positions.
Monkey chin up bars are a popular choice for power cages, but Gronk is one of the only fitness equipment companies to create a ceiling-mounted version. It’s also one of the only ceiling-mounted bars to feature a reversible frame.
- Width designed to center on 48-inch joists
- Monkey style multi-grip pull up and chin up bar
- Strengthen and tone your back, biceps, and shoulders
- Compatible with pull up assistance bands
- Reversible frame adjusts to your ceiling joists
- Powder coated for improved durability
- Weight capacity: 800 lbs
In terms of grip positions, you have two different widths of parallel bar. This enables you to perform neutral grip pull ups, which train your brachialis, brachioradialis (top of the forearm), back muscles, and shoulders.
The standard wide grip pull ups are also possible, and there’s enough space to perform chin ups if you want to focus more on your biceps.
Instead of knurling or foam padding, Gronk have applied a powder coating to the bar. This both improves durability and grip, allowing you to perform more reps without the use of lifting straps.
The width was recently adjusted to fit the standard 48-inch distance between ceiling joists. This is the same as the Titan Fitness bar and Stud Bar.
3. Stud Bar Ceiling Mountable Pull Up Bar
One of the features that’s unique about the Stud Bar is that you can buy different styles to suit your ceiling height. This is thanks to the length of the uprights, which are designed for 8-foot, 9-foot, and 10-foot ceilings.
As with the Titan Fitness Pull Up Bar, Stud Bar can be mounted to the wall or ceiling. This versatility means it can be attached to an outside wall, if you don’t have space in your home or garage gym.
- Width designed to center on 48-inch joists
- Enough ceiling clearance to perform kipping pull ups
- Available in 3 sizes to accommodate various ceiling heights
- Suitable for 8-foot, 9-foot, and 10-foot ceilings
- 14-gauge steel with triangular gussets for added strength
- Powder coated steel for added durability
- 1 1/14″ diameter bar for a comfortable grip
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs
The 600 lb weight capacity is a little lower than the 800 lbs you get with the Gronk Fitness bar. But if you’re doing weighted pull ups with more than 300 lbs strapped to your body then you probably need a custom rack built.
Unfortunately, you don’t have any parallel bars, so neutral grip pull ups aren’t an option. There’s also no angle to the bar, which some people prefer when they perform pull ups with a wide grip.
If you have high enough ceilings, you can always attach a set of Nayoya Gymnastic Rings for a more challenging body weight / calisthenics workout. These rarely cost more than $35, and will support the neutral grip pull up option, as well as body weight dips, rows, and push ups.
4. Titan Fitness Mounted Pull Up Chin Up Bar
Check out our review summary earlier in this guide.
5. Rogue P-3 / P-4 Pull Up System
Check out our review summary earlier in this guide.
Outdoor Pull Up Bars
For some people, it’s not always practical to setup a power tower station or ceiling-mounted pull up bar in their home. Doorway pull up bars can also be a little restrictive, in that they can’t support more than 300 lbs, and don’t allow you to perform kipping pull ups or muscle ups easily.
In this situation, an outdoor pull up bar could be the best solution.
You have two main options: either mount a pull up bar to an external wall, or set two wooden posts in concrete and have the pull up bar spanning between the tops.
The concrete version is the more permanent of the two, and most handymen can have this setup in an afternoon. But if you want to cut the cost, outdoor wall-mounted pull up bars are often available for under $200.
Smith Machine / Power Rack Pull Up Bars
Most power racks and some of the best smith machines feature a built-in pull up station. These tend to have a higher weight capacity than doorway pull up bars, and provide the best stability.
Some of the more affordable designs, like the Cap Barbell Full Cage Power Rack, have a single bar spanning the top of the frame. Others, like the Valor Fitness BD-33, feature multi-grip chin-up bars, which support most types of pull up.
Another advantage of power rack pull up bars is they’re positioned far away from any walls. This creates enough space to perform kipping pull ups and muscle ups, which aren’t always possible with wall-mounted and doorway bars.
Rogue Fitness offer some of the strongest and most affordable power racks, but only have the straight pull up bar. In contrast, most of the EliteFTS power racks feature a Monkey Chin Bar, or Monkey Chin Fat Bar, which supports neutral, pronated, and supinated grip pull ups.
Top 5 Best Power Rack Pull Up Bars for Home Gyms
Listed below you’ll find the top 5 best power rack pull up bars on the market. These were carefully selected based on strength, affordability, customer feedback, range of exercise options, and build quality.
While some racks have a compact footprint, others may require an entire room, so it’s worth double checking the dimensions before buying.
1. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage
In addition to their power tower, Fitness Reality (formerly IRONMAN), also produce some excellent power cages.
The 810XLT Super Max is one of their most affordable, and usually retails for just under $250. Not bad, considering the safety bars can support up to 800 lbs.
- Multi-position overhead chin up/pull up bars
- Compatible with 7′ Olympic barbells
- 19 adjustable height levels for safety bars
- Includes 2 x 23″ chrome safety bars
- 2″ x 2″ 11-gauge steel construction
- Support for over 20 different exercises
- 1-year limited warranty
- Total footprint dimensions: 46.5″ W x 50.5″ L
- Weight capacity: 800 lbs
But one of the main reasons we shortlisted it for our guide is the pull up grip positions. It’s one of the few racks that supports neutral, close, and wide grip pull ups, as well as chin ups.
Fitness Reality also have a newer version of the 810XLT, called the X-Class Light Commercial Olympic Power Cage. This supports up to 1500 lbs on the safety bars, 600 lbs on the pull up and dip bars, and can be upgraded with a lat pulldown attachment.
The only downside is the $600 price tag (or just under $800 if you want the lat pulldown version).
But considering the near-perfect review score on Amazon, impressive strength, and exercise options, the Olympic Power Cage is still excellent value for money. It also supports a wider range of pull up positions than the 810XLT.
2. Titan T-2 Short Power Rack
The Titan T-2 Power Rack features a unique design that’s perfect for body weight workouts at home.
The basic rack is fitted with a straight pull up bar, measuring 1 1/4″ in diameter. There’s enough space inside the rack to perform muscle ups and kipping pull ups, but your grip options are somewhat limited.
- 2″ x 2″ solid steel uprights
- Weight plate holders for storage and stability
- Includes one set of J-hooks
- 1 1/4″ diameter chin up bar
- Height of pull up bar: 80″
- Weight capacity: 700 lbs
Fortunately, Titan Fitness created a Multi-Grip Pull Up Bar specifically for their T-2 rack. This enables you to perform wide, narrow, or neutral grip pull ups. They’ve even included 45-degree cross members to create a position that’s midway between neutral and narrow grip.
As a finishing touch, the bar has been covered with a grip-enhancing black powder coating. In terms of price, the Multi-Grip bar usually retails for around $60, while the rack itself is priced closer to $300.
The T-2 rack also has an optional dip bar attachment, to add variety to your chest and tricep workouts.
3. EliteFTS Scholastic 3×3 Full Power Rack
EliteFTS make some of the strongest and safest power racks on the market. The price is also very reasonable, and although some designs cost over $5,000, the Scholastic 3×3 rack is usually available for around $980.
If you don’t need the anchor points for resistance bands, you could even save yourself $200 and buy the Scholastic 3×3 Basic Full Power Rack. It’s exactly the same design, minus the resistance band pegs and monkey chin up bar.
- Includes the EliteFTS Monkey Chin Bar
- Multiple storage pegs for plates, bands, or chains
- Includes 1 set of J-cups, 1 set of safety spotters
- Pull up bar diameter: 1 1/4″
- Rear K-Brace to stabilize the power rack
- 3″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel construction
- Lifetime warranty on all frames and welds
- Total footprint dimensions: 49″ x 61″. 90″ tall
But the great thing about the EliteFTS Scholastic rack is you can customize the pull up bar. Some of the options include an adjustable swivel pull up bar, monkey chin bar, 2″ fat chin bar, and cambered pull up bar with parallel bars.
Most are available for under $100, but the swivel version usually retails for around $190.
In addition to the pull up bar, the Scholastic 3×3 Power Rack has multiple storage pegs for plates, bands, and chains. There’s also enough space to safely perform squats, bench presses, rack pulls, and overhead presses.
4. Cap Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand
The Cap Barbell Power Rack Stand supports the same 300 lb weight capacity that you get with most doorway pull up bars.
But the big difference here is you can also perform squats, bench presses, and overhead presses. It’s also incredible value for money.
- Suitable for squats, bench presses, and more
- 12 and 14-gauge steel construction
- Reinforced uprights for improved stability
- 3-step powder coated finish for durability
- Barbell storage
- Quick and easy to assemble
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
For comparison, the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Pull Up Bar retails for around $80, whereas the Cap Barbell stand usually costs just under $100.
The only downside is that it’s a straight bar, so the grip positions are limited. However, you can still use this as an anchor point for suspension trainers. This gives you a wider choice of upper and lower body exercise options.
5. Fitness Reality X-Class Olympic Power Cage
If you’re looking for a high-quality power rack that supports all types of pull ups for under $1000, the Olympic Power Cage from Fitness Reality is an excellent choice.
The wide grip pull up bar is height adjustable, and supports both pull ups and chin ups. Inside the cage, a second set of pull up handles features parallel bars and a 45-degree grip position. Rubber coated dip handles can also adjust to 20 different positions, for a wider range of body weight exercises.
- 2″ x 3″ tubular steel frame construction
- Two 11.5″ safety bars and pair of J-hooks included
- 2″ x 20″ high-density rubber grip dip handles
- Compatible with 7′ Olympic barbells
- Available with a lat pulldown attachment
- 24+ exercise options for total body workouts
- Weight capacity (pull up bars): 600 lbs
- Weight capacity (frame): 1500 lbs
Safety bars can be fitted to the front or inside of the cage, at any one of 25 height positions. They’ve also been covered with rubber strip covers, to protect them against damage.
When you’re buying the X-Class Power Olympic Power Cage, you can choose to upgrade with the lat pulldown attachment. This features a lat cable pulldown and low row station, for a wider range of back, bicep, shoulder, and tricep exercises.
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, the Valor Fitness BD-41 could save you around $100. But by the time you add the BD-41 lat pulldown attachment and dip handles, the saving is only $30-$40. The weight capacity on the safety bars is also 700 lbs less than the Fitness Reality rack.
How to Install Pull Up Bars
Installing Portable / Doorway Pull Up Bars
This type of pull up bar requires no permanent fixtures, such as brackets or supports. Instead, the bars are shaped in a way to create leverage points using your body weight.
This leverage is enough to create a secure grip on the door frame, but it’s important to check the dimensions of the pull up bar. Most support a maximum door width of 35″, but you should also consider the height of the molding that it rests upon.
To minimize the pressure on the door frame and wall, you’ll need a bar with multiple padded contact points. Most simply added sections of foam padding to each end of the bar, but the Perfect Fitness Multi Gym pull up bar has a patented design that distributes the weight more evenly.
When you want to begin your workout, you can position the pull up bar at the top of the frame, and ensure the support is securely resting on the molding.
Installing Telescopic Pull Up Bars
Some extending pull up bars can hold their position without mounting brackets, but it’s not something the manufacturer recommends. For safety, always fit telescopic pull up bars using the mounting hardware provided.
You’ll often have one set of brackets for the high position (pull ups, chin ups), and one set for the low position (sit ups, crunches). For added strength, the top brackets usually require 3 screws per side, which will still enable you to remove the bar when you complete your workout.
Reducing Damage to the Door Frame
All doorway pull up bars are designed to prevent damage to your door frame. Most extending bars require you to drill 3 small screws into each side of the frame, but bars that mount on the frame require no fixings.
With enough use, some leverage bars may leave small tension marks around the door trim, but these can easily be painted over if required. Most, like the Iron Gym Workout Bar, have already been fitted with a thin strip of protective rubber to act as a cushion.
Benefits of Using a Pull Up Bar
So, we’ve talked about the best pull up bars on the market, but why should you buy one? They’re affordable and compact, but can they help you gain muscle and strength?
Compact and Sturdy Design
Most home gym equipment is bulky and difficult to move around. Cardio equipment often comes with transport wheels and a carry handle, but this isn’t an option with leg press machines, home gyms, and power racks, which can easily weigh more than 300 lbs.
In comparison, most portable pull up bars weigh less than 10 lbs, and can be ready to use in seconds. Extending pull up bars are even more compact, and can be stored under your bed, beside a dresser, or left in position between workouts.
Despite their lightweight design, doorway pull up bars are incredibly strong, supporting up to 300 lbs in most cases. If you’re buying a wall/ceiling-mounted version or power rack with a pull up bar, the weight capacity could easily be over 500 lbs.
Inexpensive to Buy
Leading a healthy lifestyle can be expensive. The cost of gym memberships, health supplements, fitness apparel, and grocery shopping quickly add up.
Fortunately, the best pull up bars cost less than $50, and many come with a 1-year warranty. Using only your body weight, you can perform a wide range of upper body exercises, for not much more than the cost of a gym membership.
Support Effective Upper Body Workouts
Pull up bars can help you sculpt and tone your back, shoulders, arms, lats, chest, and core (abs, intercostals), using only your body weight.
They’re also incredibly versatile, and compatible with a range of useful accessories.
If you’re struggling to perform your first pull up, attach some bands to assist you. If you’ve already built upper body strength and no longer find body weight pull ups challenging, strap on a dip belt and add some weight plates.
Effective pull up bar exercises
- Leg raises
This is best performed on a wall-mounted or squat rack pull up bar, as you need to hang with your legs stretched out. Raising your legs in front of you helps to build core strength. Keep your legs straight for a more challenging exercise, or bend the knees to perform more reps.
Can only be performed with the doorway pull up bars (either portable or telescoping). With the bar fixed to the base of the door frame, you can hook your toes underneath for support, and perform sit ups/crunches.
- Pull ups
Standard straight bars can still be used for pull ups, but your grip positions are more limited than designs like the Iron Gym Workout Bar. The best variation comes from the Monkey Pull Up bars attached to specialist power racks, but these are much more expensive. Pull ups build muscle in your back, shoulders, biceps, and forearms.
This exercise trains your chest, triceps, and shoulders, but can usually only be performed with a doorway pull up bar. A small number of extending pull up bars are supplied with 2 sets of fixings, such as the Garren Fitness Maximiza. This can also be used for push-ups.
Combining pull-ups with dips, muscle-ups can be used to train your chest, triceps, shoulders, back, and arms. Due to the range of motion and head height required, these can usually only be performed from a squat rack pull up bar, or one that’s mounted to the wall/ceiling.
Safe to Use Without a Spotter
If you workout at home, chances are you don’t have a spotter to assist you. For some exercises, such as free weight back squats and bench presses, this can be a necessity.
Fortunately, modern home gym equipment is incredibly safe to use. This includes pull up bars.
Because you’re not loading a bar with weight plates, it’s also impossible for you to become pinned under the equipment. When your muscles become fatigued, you can simply lower yourself to the ground.
Pull up bars are available in many different styles. They vary according to grip quality, method of attachment (wall/door/ceiling), number of grip positions, portability, weight, and materials.
But one thing they all have in common is their ability to help you achieve fitness goals, using only the resistance of your body weight.
Even if you don’t have a garage gym or ceiling to attach one to, every house has a door frame. The best pull up bars also support a variety of exercises and grip positions, and most are extremely affordable.
One of the lesser known health benefits of pull up bars is their ability to improve your posture.
An increasing number of jobs require sedentary office work, where you can be sat behind a desk for hours at a time. This can lead to numerous health problems, such as bad posture and rounded shoulders.
Pull ups work in a similar way to inversion tables, where your upper body is stretched out through a natural range of motion. Including pull ups in your regular fitness routine can also lead to significant muscle gain, which helps protect your spine from injury.
Types of Pull Ups
In theory, the pull up is a simple exercise that only requires a bar and your body weight. But if you’re just getting started, it can be difficult to perform a large number of reps without assistance.
Fortunately, the wide grip pull up isn’t your only option.
Some of the best pull up bars are designed with multiple grip positions, including parallel bars. It’s often easier to perform a chin up, then transition to neutral grip pull ups, and finally move onto the wide grip variation.
Alternatively, you can purchase pull up assistance bands, which effectively reduce the amount of weight you need to pull.
If you’ve already realized the benefits of pull ups, your body weight may not be challenging enough. That’s when you can strap on a dip belt and perform the exercise weighted.
Dead-hang Pull Ups
Dead-hang pull ups are the opposite to kipping pull ups. This is where you focus as much as possible on the contraction of the arm and back muscles, instead of performing as many reps as possible.
Assisted Pull Ups
If you want to include pull ups in your upper body workouts, you don’t have to start with full body weight.
Pull up assist bands are available from several companies online. The thickness of the band dictates the level of tension created, which usually counteracts between 10 lbs and 175 lbs of body weight.
A full set is relatively cheap, at around $15 for 3 levels of assistance (light, medium, heavy). Alternatively, you can rest your knees on a box or chair while you perform pull ups, but the bands give you more control.
Weighted Pull Ups
This is the opposite to assisted pull ups, and a popular option amongst powerlifters and bodybuilders.
With most exercises, your goal is to exhaust the muscle within a target rep range. This is typically 8-12 reps for muscle gain, and 2-6 reps for strength gain.
When you’re performing body weight pull ups, with enough strength, your muscles may not fatigue after 12 or 15 reps. If you want to reach muscle failure within 6 reps, you’ll need to increase the weight.
One option is to hold a dumbbell with your ankles, but it’s possible to outgrow even this method, if your gym doesn’t have heavy enough dumbbells. A better option is to use a dip belt, where you can slide Olympic weight plates onto a chain that hangs down from your waist.
Although chains can be used for weighted dips, we wouldn’t recommend them for weighted pull ups. This is because they can move around too much if you’re leaning back. A dip belt maintains a more stable center of gravity.
Kipping Pull Ups
Kipping pull ups – also known as hip snap pull ups, utilize an upward bucking thrust with your body, making it easier to complete multiple repetitions.
Popular with CrossFit athletes, this is often considered the opposite of a dead-hang pull up.
To generate momentum and limit fatigue in your bicep and back muscles, they key is to push your body away from the bar after pulling yourself up.
Difference Between a Pull Up and Chin Up
Performing a pull up requires you to take a pronated grip on the bar, with your palms facing away from your body. You can then use the strength in your back and biceps to pull yourself up, usually until your chin reaches the bar.
Pull ups can be performed with a wide grip, narrow grip, or neutral grip, where the palms of your hands are facing each other. This exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi muscles of the upper back, but neutral grip pull ups also target the brachialis.
Chin ups require a supinated grip, with your palms facing towards your body. They place more emphasis on the biceps and forearms, but also work your lats and traps. Chin Ups are considered easier to perform than pull ups, due to the close-grip arm position and supinated grip.
A Word of Caution
Caution with Doorway Pull Up Bars
When you’re fitting a pull up bar to your doorway, always make sure that the walls and door frames have a solid construction.
Extending pull up bars are held in place with a combination of brackets and tension, so it’s important the frame is strong enough. Drywall isn’t a suitable material for the kind of tension that this type of pull up bar exerts.
Also, if you’re fitting telescoping bar brackets to a door frame with a door you want to close, make sure that it’s mounted to the correct side of the frame.
Health Advice for Using a Pull Up Bar Safely
Body weight exercises, such as pull ups, can be an effective and affordable way to build muscle and strength in your upper body.
But if you’re just starting a new fitness routine, we would always recommend consulting your physician, particularly if you have any health concerns.
As an exercise, pull ups are incredibly safe. There’s no way to get pinned under a bar, and you’re in complete control of the weight at all times.
But if you plan on buying a doorway pull up bar, always make sure it’s installed correctly before each workout.
Also, if you’re using a leverage pull up bar mounted to the top of the door frame, limit the amount of swing and momentum you put into each rep. The last thing you want is for the bar to bounce free of the frame and cause injury from a fall.
Final Advice for Buying a Pull Up Bar
Some of the best pull up and chin up bars cost under $30, but it’s important to invest in the design you’ll get the most use out of.
If you’re living in rented accommodation, your only option may be a leverage pull up bar mounted to the door frame. Alternatively, if you have a large garage gym, a power rack with monkey chin bar might be the best use of space.
Extending pull up bars are your most affordable and compact option, but make sure to fit the mounting brackets to a door frame you use often. Bedroom doors are ideal, or if you have one, the door to a walk-in closet.
For less than the price of a month’s gym membership, pull up bars enable you to create an effective body weight/calisthenics workout from the comfort of your own home.