Installing a pull-up bar in your home gym can help you reach your fitness goals. Completing pull-ups or chin-ups helps develop the biceps and the lats, as well as the forearms, upper back, and abdominals. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to add one to your home gym—you can build a homemade pull-up bar in a few simple steps with materials from a local hardware store.
Free-standing or mounted?
If you’re building your own pull-up bar, the first step is determining whether you prefer to construct a free-standing pull-up bar or a mounted pull-up bar. Any mounted bar will need to be anchored by a structurally sound beam, stud, or doorframe. Free-standing pull-up bars require piping, tubing, and gear, which may be expensive. Designs that allow for easy assembly and disassembly can cost nearly $600.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for portability and minimal materials, you can quickly construct a pull-up station using a barbell, two galvanized steel rods or a similar bar, and a pair of ratchet tie down straps. Avoid building your pull-up station in spaces that are not structurally sound or not suitable for exercise.
Mounted pull-up bars typically take up less space and are anchored to support structures. There are multiple styles of mounted pull-up bars, including:
Ceiling—Using a 2 x 4 or 2 x 6-inch board that is bolted or otherwise secured to your ceiling, these pull-up bars can be a simple construction or incorporate multiple grip options to simulate gym equipment.
Wall—These pull-up bars are mounted to the wall, and rely on a 2 x 4 or 2 x 6-inch board that runs the entire height of the wall or a horizontal mount design that attaches to multiple studs to distribute weight more evenly.
Over the door—Manufacturers and retailers are most likely to sell pre-built over-the-door pull-up bars. When you mount this equipment, it’s critical that your doorframe be secure and stable.
ECOTRIC 50'' Heavy-Duty, Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Can be setup vertically or horizontally
Users can adjust bar based on ceiling height or athlete height
Mounting hardware included
How to build a ceiling- or wall-mounted pull-up bar
The primary piece of equipment that you’ll need is a galvanized pipe. For anyone that plans a total lift weight (body weight plus any weighted vests or weight belts) of 200 pounds or less, a 3/4-inch pipe diameter is likely sufficient; however, a 1-inch pipe is safer, though more expensive and more difficult to find.
Be sure to test the grip of each pipe, as this is the piping that you’ll wrap your hands around to do your pull-ups and chin-ups. This project will likely cost between $35–$55.
One 3/4–1-inch galvanized black pipe, 48 inches in length
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized black pipes, 18 inches in length
One 2 x 4 or 2 x 6-inch wood board, 54–60 inches in length
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized 90-degree elbow couplings
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized flanges
16 wood lag screws
Pipe wrench or channel locks
A drill and drill bits
A stud finder and pencil
Steps for building a ceiling- or wall-mounted pull-up bar:
Locate the ceiling support beam or wall studs in the wall and mark the center of the beam or stud with a pencil. If installing on the wall, measure and mark the proper height where the pull-up bar will sit.
Thread the 18-inch pipes into the 90-degree elbows. Hand tighten the 48-inch pipe into the other end of the 90-degree elbows. Try to make the piping square.
Thread the flanges into the opposite (open) ends of the 18-inch pipes with the flat side away from the connection point.
Square the bar and use a pipe wrench to tighten all of the connections between the piping, the elbows, and the flanges.
Mark the location where the holes in the flanges would meet the 2 x 4 or 2 x 6-inch board with the pencil. Pre-drill the holes for the lag screws.
Place the piping on the 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 and align the flange holes above the drilled holes. Drill in the lag screws. Tighten with a socket wrench if necessary.
Mount the pull-up bar to the ceiling or wall along the central beam or in the center of the studs using the remaining lag screws. Tighten with a wrench.
Test the mounted pull-up bar by offsetting your body weight by either sitting or standing in a chair while you pull up on the bar. This is also an exercise you can do to progress your workouts if you’re not quite able to do a full set of pull-ups yet.
How to build an over-the-door pull-up bar
The most important factor in an over-the-door pull-up bar is the structural stability of the door frame. This equipment works because the frame helps diffuse your weight when you use the pull-up bar and stays in place due to gravity. This project will cost $25–$35.
The second most important consideration for an over-the-door pull-up bar is the width of your door frame. While most door frames are 28–32 inches wide, others are larger and will require different equipment.
One 3/4–1-inch galvanized steel pipe, length determined by door width. For a 30-inch door, use a 24-inch pipe. Adjust up or down based on your door measurements.
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized pipe fasteners, 6 inches in length
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized pipe fasteners, 5 inches in length. These may need to be adjusted up or down based on the depth of the wall above the door frame.
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized pipe fasteners, 4 inches in length
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized pipe fasteners, 3 inches in length
Four 3/4–1-inch galvanized 90-degree elbow couplings
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized 90-degree T-connector couplings
Two additional 3/4–1-inch galvanized 90-degree elbow couplings, if closing the system without additional angled bars
Pipe insulation, at least 12 inches
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized, 90-degree T-connector couplings
Two 6-inch galvanized pipe fasteners
Two 45-degree galvanized elbow couplings
Two 3/4–1-inch galvanized pipe fasteners, 2 inches in length
WD-40 or other lubricant
Steps for building an over-the-door pull-up bar:
Affix one 4-inch pipe fastener into one 90-degree elbow, then attach another 90-degree elbow to the other end of the piping. The empty sockets for the elbows should face the same direction. Screw one of the 5-inch fasteners into the empty socket of an elbow. Repeat construction on the other side of the door.
Into each component, screw a T-connector coupling so that the “T” portion of the two components face in opposite directions. Then screw in a 6-inch pipe fastener to both empty “T” portions. Wrap this 6-inch pipe fastener in pipe insulation, if acquired. This is the piece that will set against the door jam, so insulation is recommended. You could also use a pool noodle or other foam material you have around the house.
There will be one portion of each T-connector that’s empty. This is used to extend the bar beyond the door frame. Screw in a 3-inch pipe fastener to each side component. If closing the system without additional wide-grip piping, affix a 90-degree elbow coupling to each component so they face each other. If adding the optional wide-angle bars, attach a T-connector with the single leg screwed into the 3-inch pipe fastener such that the two open sides are horizontal.
(Optional) Attach 2-inch pipe fasteners to the far sides of the open T-connectors, in the same direction as the 6-inch pipe fasteners. Then, affix the 45-degree elbow coupling, angled down and away from where the door jam will be located. Finally, screw in the remaining 6-inch pipe fasteners to the open side of the 45-degree coupling elbows. Wrap duct tape around the threading on the end of the pipe if it exists.
Now, you’ll have two sides to the pull-up bar. The last remaining piece is to attach the long length of galvanized pipe to either side mount. Ensure that the whole piece of equipment is squared and tightened.
To finish, cut the industrial sponge in half or in quarters and use an ample amount of duct tape to attach the open elbow couplings, providing a cap and buffer against the door sill and wall.
Test first by offsetting your weight and then with a fully weighted pull-up.
Buying a pre-made pull-up bar
There are many other options for construction, however, they can be quite time-consuming and costly. If you’re not interested in a DIY pull-up bar, there are low-cost options for pull-up bars of all varieties—free-standing and ceiling, wall, and over-the-door mounts. Here are popular options available from retailers and manufacturers:
Free-standing—The WeiderⓇ PowerTower provides more than just a pull-up bar. It also allows an exerciser to do ab work with leg raises, dips, and even includes an elevated push up station. Expect to invest $115–$140, depending on retailer.
Ceiling mount—The Ceiling Mount Pull Up Bar by Ultimate Body Press is a no-frills option that still has a sleek design and adequate padding on the grips. Suggested retail price is $130, though the product can be found for under $80 throughout the year.
Wall mount—This basic wall-mounted pull-up bar from ProSource is a great option for a simple and effective wall-mounted system. Multiple grips are available in standard sizing and costs approximately $40.
Over-the-door—The ProForm Door Gym is available at many manufacturers with a retail price of $25 or below and is packaged and sold with a band to help assist anyone not yet ready to do a full set of pull-ups.
Weider Power Tower
Allows an exerciser to do ab work with leg raises, dips, and push-ups
Ceiling Mount Pull-Up Bar
No-frills option that comes with a sleek design and adequate padding
Prosource Fit Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Basic option for a simple and effective workout system
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