In an ideal world everyone would have their own fully-stocked home gym, sadly the estimated cost of one is enough to bring a tear to the eye of anyone living in the real world. For those of you who want all the benefits of a home gym but for just 1% of the cost, your best bet is a doorway mounted pull up bar.
Why is this? Well Pull Ups are probably the best upper body exercise that you can do, even the more expensive ones will set you back less than $60, and a pull up bar takes up virtually no space whatsoever.
Why buy a pull up bar?
One of the biggest advantages of owning a pull up bar is that it completes a bodyweight workout, most people don’t own more than one pair of dumbbells so decide that bodyweight is the best way to go. They can perform push ups to strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps. Squats to strengthen the lower body, lunges, ab crunches, and many other exercises. But training the back is nigh-on impossible without weights.
This is why pull up bars are so good, if you’re not strong enough to perform a full pull up you can always perform them eccentrically. This is where you start at the top (use a step to get in position) and then lower yourself down as slowly as possible. This is a lot easier than pulling yourself up, but will strengthen the same muscles, eventually allowing you to manage full pull ups.
What to look for in a Pull Up bar?
If we’re being honest, the number one fear with pull up bars is the bar falling off or breaking whilst you are mid-pull up! So number one on our list of things to look for is durability – or security might be a better choice of words.
You want a bar that fits well into your door frame, has a lot of positive reviews from satisfied (and non-concussed) customers, and ideally a picture of someone who is heavier than you successfully hanging off it with no drama! What you might also want is for the product to have a decent warranty – though considering the price of a lot of pull up bars this will not always be the case.
Another good thing to look for is whether your pull up bar has multiple functions, this can either be a good or bad thing depending on your needs. Sometimes all you want is a high quality pull up bar that does exactly what is says on the box. Other times you might want a bit more bang for your buck, in which case getting a pull up bar that can also double up as a decent dip bar (for triceps) or push up stand, could be a priority.
How easy a pull up bar is to set up could also be a factor in your decision making. Some of you may want something that is ridiculously easy to assemble, others may want something that involves a lot of screws for your own peace of mind.
The final thing to think about before purchasing a doorway mounted pull up bar is storage. Are you planning to leave it in the doorway permanently? If so make sure that your preferred choice allows this? If you are only going to be putting it up when exercising but want it tidied away afterwards then you might want to consider how easy it is to store away. Some pull up bars are just a pole, whilst others have lots of different attachments and take up a lot more space. Choose wisely.
Five Great Pull Up Bars on Amazon
Choosing a pull up bar can be quite confusing with so many variables to focus on, so this article will list five excellent pull up bar choices for you to pick. These aren’t ranked in any particular order, they’re all excellent choices but are suitable for different needs.
Sold by Perfect Fitness, the Perfect Basic Pull Up a really excellent choice. Particularly for those of you who struggle to perform pull ups. That’s because you can easily adjust the height of the bar so that it reaches waist height (as well as the usual height). This means that you can perform inverted rows/Australian Pull ups, which are fantastic for building your back muscles up – and can also be used for a killer bicep workout.
It is quite easy to adjust between the two heights, as the bar is slid out of the top brackets. One thing you should bear in mind is that this Pull Up Bar does need to be installed so will be a permanent fixture in your doorway. This is good for homeowners who don’t plan on moving, but should be avoided by anyone who is currently renting or may have issues covering their traces to get their deposit back.
The Perfect Basic Pull Up is fantastic value too considering the quality of the product and the prices of similar products. If you are looking for an incredibly versatile and durable pull up bar that is going to be a permanent fixture then the Perfect Basic Pull Up is the product for you.
The Maximiza pull up bar is one of the old school pull up bars that have been around a while, you can adjust the length of it to fit any doorway and you screw it in to two small screw-in door mounts. One small benefit that the Maximiza has over other adjustable pull up bars is the fact that it has some very comfortable hand grips. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but it’s still a nice touch, and could help you grind out an extra couple of reps.
The bar can take up to a maximum of 300 pounds when using the heavy-duty door mounts, or 200 pounds when using the medium door mounts. This should suit the majority of people absolutely fine, but if you’re over 300 pounds stay clear.
Maximiza offer a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied with their product (no questions asked) which is a pretty decent deal. In all truth there is nothing particularly special or glamorous about this pull up bar, it will do a job and do it well. If all you want is a decent pull up bar that will last forever, then this is the bar for you.
What’s good about the Ultimate Body Press bar is that instead of being attached to the door frame, it is actually placed above the door. This means that taller people have a better range of motion (a big issue with doorframe mounted bars), but also allows for a wider grip due to the extra space available.
The angled bar allows for more variations than your standard straight bar would, with wide grip and close grip being properly catered for. Because it is wall mounted you can also add equipment such as the TRX to your training, by attaching it to the bar. This will double the amount of exercises you can now perform at home – without spending a penny on dumbbells or a bench.
The Ultimate Body Press Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar is a little more expensive than most of the competition, but the quality and elegance of the design makes it well worth your money.
The difference between the ProSource pull up bar and the other ones we’ve looked at so far is that there are no nails or screws required to install it. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be careful about where you put it though, only use sturdy door frames and some users have reported that placing cardboard between the bar and the wall can save your paint job.
The bar itself is excellent, with 12 different grips allowing you to perform neutral-grip pull ups and wide grip variations. A nice decent pull up bar that will allow you to perform any form of pull up you like, and doesn’t require any damage to your door.
The Stamina Pull Up bar is similar to the ProSource bar in that it does not require screws to attach it to the bar, in fact the main selling point of the Stamina bar is that it can be very easily moved. That’s because the Stamina bar can be used for many other exercises, such as dips, push ups, and ab crunches (you can place your feet underneath it).
Now for some people this would make the Stamina bar the obvious choice, but it is important not to get carried away here. For example, push ups work perfectly fine without any equipment as do abs, and you can use a chair for dips if you need to.
This doesn’t mean that the Stamina bar isn’t worth your time though, it just means that multiple exercise functionality should not be the sole reason you decide to pick it. The bar is an excellent pull up bar in its own right, and allows a number of different grip variations and widths. It can be easily removed and stored away when not being used – something that puts it head and shoulders above most of the competition in that regard.
The Stamina doorway trainer is a decent product that is very versatile, it may not be as heavy-duty as some of the other bars available, nor is it as good a bar as the Ultimate Body Press bar. But it will get the job done, and could fit in very well with a home based circuit program.
So there you have it, 5 of the best pull up bars on Amazon (or anywhere for that matter). Decide what type of pull up bar you want, measure your door frame (cannot stress this enough) and start planning the perfect home gym based circuit.