If you are planning on training at home, or want to open your own personal training studio then a pull up bar is a fantastic addition. They are obviously great for training the upper back, but with the addition of suspension trainers, they can be used to train a whole range of different muscle groups. There are a lot of different options available when it comes to pull up bars, there are door mounted ones, wall mounted ones, of free standing ones.
They all have their advantages, and will each suit a different need. Free standing pull up bars tend to take up quite a bit of space, so they are not always suitable for training at home. On the other hand they tend to allow a better quality of pull up due to the extra space that you get on the frame, they also more often than not come attached to a dip bar and other attachments. This means that the amount of exercises that you can perform doubles.
This article will focus exclusively on free standing pull up bars and show you a selection of the best versions on the market right now.
Why buy a free standing pull up bar?
If you are looking to train at home and provided you have the necessary space, a free standing pull up bar should be one of your first purchases. Yes, even before the dumbbells and bench. You see when it comes to training at home, bodyweight exercises are your best friend. Particularly when you are starting out and haven’t got too much equipment.
You can perform squats and lunges for your legs, push ups for your chest, triceps, and shoulders, and crunches for your abs. Training your back is very difficult though, that’s why having a pull up bar is so good. You can use them to perform pull ups, chin ups, eccentric pull ups (where you just perform the lowering part of the movement – great for novices), and if you own a suspension trainer you can also perform push ups, squats, lunges, squat jumps, rows, and rear delt flys.
What to look out for in a free standing pull up bar
The most important thing to look for when purchasing a free standing pull up bar is stability. A lot of these bars are built to be quite tall (otherwise it would be impossible to perform a pull up) which means that a poorly made bar could wobble if it had a lack of stability.
Other things to look out for are the height of the bar in question, too low and you’ll struggle to perform proper pull ups on it, too high and you might not be able to fit it in your house. The thickness of the bar is something that you might need to consider too, if you have a narrow bar then this might be too easy for men whereas a thicker bar might make it difficult to grip if you have small hands.
Additional features can upgrade your pull up bar from decent to incredible, some free standing pull up bars also offer dip bars, back support so that you can perform hanging leg/knee raises, or even the ability to turn it into a power rack (for squatting, pressing, etc).
In this article we will be looking at five awesome free standing pull up bars and helping you to decide which one is best for you.
Bar #1. Elite Pull Up Bar
The elite pull up bar is sold by a company known as Trapeze Rigging and it is clearly designed for gymnasts. The height can be adjusted from 92 inches high (perfect for pull ups) down to 77 inches tall which is perfect for dipping.
It also makes the bar perfect for inverted rows or “Aussie Pull Ups” which is a great exercise for people who aren’t quite ready to perform the full pull up yet. Inverted rows are also really good for performing higher rep sets using similar muscles.
If you can only perform two or three pull ups in a row then you will not be performing enough reps for hypertrophy (the range should be between 8-12 reps). Adding a set of inverted rows after your pull ups will help address this issue.
The bars are quite lightweight, which means that, unusually for a free standing pull up bar, the Elite Pull Up bar can be transported fairly easily, and can also be stored away. It can be assembled within two minutes and doesn’t require any tools to set up.
There isn’t much information available about a warranty on the product, you are just informed to contact the seller directly. If you are a particularly tall person, or a novice, or a gymnast then this bar is the perfect fit for you.
Bar #2. Merax Full Body Power Tower
The Merax power tower is a more sturdy pull up bar, and it contains a lot more features that allow a full body workout. There are parallel bars for you to perform dips on, a back pad so that you can do hanging knee raises, and even some push up bars that will allow you to perform neutral grip push ups (great for anyone with wrist issues).
With this one power tower you have exercises for a large proportion of your body, add in some squats and lunges and you’ve got a full body workout. This would suit a home gym very well, and it is surprisingly compact.
This is by no means the highest quality pull up bar out there, but for the price that they are asking it is fantastic value and will last a long time provided you treat it well. There is some assembly required, but we’re not talking Ikea furniture here or a custom built computer. The set up should take less than half an hour.
Whilst the product might seem lightweight compared to others it can easily take the weight of a 280lb man, so if you weigh less than that you are absolutely fine. Heavier guys and girls should exercise caution though (though the company states that it could hold a 330lb man). Again the warranty information is hard to find, which is a shame.
This power tower is very similar to the Merax power tower but appears to be of a sturdier design, the frame is made of heavy-duty steel and the pads are well made for comfort. This frame has an excellent pull up bar that is a really decent length, meaning that those extra wide pull ups your program asks for are easily managed.
The tower also contains a high-quality dip bar, and a hanging knee raise. The weight capacity for this frame is a staggering 550lbs meaning that you could not only perform pull ups with ease, you could also perform weighted pull ups!
This item also has a 1 year guarantee that helps elevate it above the others from a customer service point of view. You can also purchase parts separately after the warranty runs out, meaning that you don’t have to reorder the entire product if something does break. Overall this free standing pull up bar is an excellent choice at a very reasonable price.
Bar #4. Weider Power Tower
Weider are a respected fitness equipment company that have been around for a long time, their equipment is well known for being excellently made, the Weider Power Tower is no exception. In terms of features it is the same as the previous two power towers we looked at, with pull up bar, dip bar, and vertical knee raises.
A nice feature with this power tower is that the pull up bar is set up at the back of it, meaning that when you are performing the pull ups you don’t have to negotiate around the parallel dip bars as you do with the others. This does mean that you can’t place the tower up against a wall though, so bear this in mind when planning out your home gym.
There have been a few complaints about the difficulty in assembling the Weider Power Tower, with people saying that the instructions are difficult to follow and assembly time averaging 2 hours. If you’ve ever felt the frustration of assembling a product without effective guidance then you’ll understand why this could potentially be a big deal.
However a lot of the time, the more complicated the assembly, the more durable the product and those people who have successfully set their Power Towers up have been very impressed with them. If you’re good at assembling furniture etc then the Weider Power Tower is definitely worth your time and money.
Bar #5. Barbell Power Rack Stand
Technically this is a power rack that also has a pull up bar attached, but it is such a good piece of kit that hopefully you won’t mind! CAP Barbell are a fitness equipment company who sell everything from dumbbells to barbells to benches, they also have a line of power racks. Their power rack exercise stand is particularly good as it is amazing value for money, is very durable, and allows a tonne of exercises.
You can perform pull ups, chin ups, inverted row (using the barbell), bench press, squats, shoulder press, and if you have a suspension trainer you can add even more exercises to your program. Add a bench for the bench press and you’ll have a complete full body program that you can perform within a very small space.
The bar can take a max weight of 300lbs and the stand can hold a max barbell weight of 300lb giving you an idea of just how sturdy this piece of equipment really is. All you need to buy is the barbells to go with it. Sadly there are no dip bars, but you can perform hanging knee raises by holding on to the pull up bar.
When it comes to free standing pull up bars, you get a lot of value for money – more so than with any other fitness equipment that you might have available. There will always be some concerns about stability, but that comes with the fact that you chose free standing rather than wall or door mounted.
The five items we have looked at so far are all known to be stable, durable, and are all great value for money. All you have to do is decide whether you want a pull up bar that is portable, multi-functional, or a squat rack that also comes with a pull up bar.