Pull up bars are basically the most important part of your home gym.
You heard me; the best pull up bar is going to be used more than anything else in your gym, and I can prove it.
Resistance training is one of the most effective methods of training your lower and upper body.
You can look at most big pieces of gym equipment, and it’s all going to require you to use your own body’s resistance at some point or another.
Well, eventually those expensive machines aren’t really going to do it for you anymore. You’re going to need the most reliable machine ever—your own body.
Resistance training by using your own body, and more manual, simple ways of training by using it.
The pull up bar will be your ultimate calisthenics companion along the way to that chiseled, lean body you’re after, and we’ve found the best ones for you today.
Best Pull-up Bar Reviews & Recommendations For 2020
Iron Age Pull Up Bar
Doorway pull up bars have to be the most budget and space-friendly option to have in your home. It’s a great way to transform a smaller space into a workout zone.
Iron Age basically gave you the best possible option in this category.
With a high clearance of up to 36.2” for wider door frames, this multiple part system stays in place and actually protects your door frames from damage.
Unlike other brands, Iron Age also made this ready right out of the box. You just open up, pull it out, and get to work.
The foam and rubber padding help protect the frame, but the soft touch grip help protect your hands from everything else.
One of the reasons that Iron Age hit the top of the list was the insane weight capacity for a door frame pull up bar.
Seriously, 440 pounds is impressive on its own, but for this, it’s above and beyond.
Because there are multiple points of contact, it puts the least amount of stress on your frame.
Pop this off the door frame to place on the floor and get multiple other workouts in, such as assisted push ups and additional exercises.
Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar
Chin up bar, pull up bar—it depends on how you use it. Either way, Iron Gym (not to be confused with Iron Age) has a cheap option that comes with an added benefit.
First and foremost, it’s using a very similar design concept. It’s not too big, not too small, and fits just about every standard household doorway.
But they switched it up a bit. They added these outward sticking pegs for you to do muscle ups or one handed raises on, making it a little more versatile than your standard door frame pull up bar.
There’s no screws, no damage to the door—the bar on the back includes some traction padding to help stabilize you, but also take some of that strain off the door frame at the same time.
Built with a blend of various metals, Iron Gym supports up to 300 lbs of body weight, and fits doors up to 32”.
The foam grips are soft to the touch, making it easy to just grab on and start doing pull ups. You won’t have to grab onto any metal contact spots to pull yourself up.
Gronk Fitness Ceiling Mounted Multi-Grip Chin Up Bar
Yeah, it’s that Gronk. How many Gronks do you know?
This isn’t a portable pull up bar by any means. Instead, you actually fasten this to the ceiling.
You need to have a strong structurally sound area to do this in, but once you do, it’s going to become a staple of your home gym.
If you can affix this in your garage or a specially made home gym, it’s beyond worth it.
This holds up to 800 lbs without buckling, meaning you and a friend, and their friend could all do pull ups at the same time.
I don’t know why you’d want to do that, but it’s built strong enough to handle it.
Between all the crossbar contact points, you have plenty of places to perform mix ups (half chin up, half pull up), pull ups, chin ups, and even muscle ups. The world is your oyster.
The only “assembly time” here is affixing it to a spot on the ceiling.
Building the actual pull up bar is just putting some bolts through the main bar and the extenders, then you just have to bolt it to the ceiling. It’s pretty simple, and super effective.
ONETWOFIT Multifunctional Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar
For a home pull up bar that you actually install into your house, ONETWOFIT actually makes a surprisingly good bit of value for the money spent.
Wall mounted pull up bars are usually a lot more expensive, and it’s for that reason that we really wanted to test this one out.
You can perform up to a dozen different, modified exercises with this one pull up bar. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself, especially if you switch it into its second position.
That allows you make use of the multiple padding spots for dips, pull ups, muscle ups and more.
Disconnect this from the wall and put it on the floor for assisted push ups, as well as other manual exercise maneuvers.
You’ve got a stellar 440 lbs of weight capacity on this thing. Try as you might, but you’re not going to bend or break this unless you run it over with your truck.
One major benefit to this that we’re happy about is the thick padding.
There’s plenty of foam here, so even after this gets a bit weathered and tattered from age, you’re not going to burn through the foam to the metal.
Prosource Fit Multi-Grip Pull Up Bar
Some things are best done simply. Prosource didn’t tack on any frills, and they didn’t jack up the price, either.
They just made one of the most cost effective, overall best doorway pull up bar units on the market.
You get a decent weight capacity of 300 pounds—which, if you’re doing pull ups, should accommodate your needs—as well as a doorway-saving design.
With four points of contact, you’re able to do additional exercises without straying too far from the normal doorway pull up bar design.
There’s not only grips on both bars, but also two in between the main bar that hangs in the center of the doorway.
Split pull ups, muscle ups, chin ups—it’s your world.
This intuitive design just adds a bit of extra contact points while reinforcing them in spectacular fashion, and someone actually being one of the lowest reputable pull up bars on the market today.
Just to add to this, Prosource made a no-wiggle design. You see that bar that’s going to rest on your door frame?
It has traction padding on one side to grip the wall right above it and lock everything into place.
Pull Up Bar Buying Guide and FAQ
What to Look for in a Pull Up Bar
Best pull up bars have a few attributes that you need to pinpoint and dissect before you commit to any purchase.
We’ve outlined them all for you so you can break it down step by step.
You’re only going to run into steel with what we’ve selected.
Even in non-specific metal blends, they’re still using steel, it’s just usually a lower gauge (meaning there are higher concentrations of nickel and other trace elements).
The point is, you need something sturdy. This is going to directly impact the next stop on our list, which is weight capacity.
Pay attention to other materials if the pull up bar has additional features, like plastic end caps and rubber grips.
This has to do with tension, as well as your total body weight. Add them together, and that’s the weight capacity that your pull up bar should have.
For wall mounted units, this isn’t a problem. They can usually go upwards of 400 to 500 pounds with no problem, while ceiling mounted units can go even higher.
The cap is going to depend on the materials, but also the engineering and design as well.
If you’re hanging this up in a door frame, pay special attention to the minimum and maximum door width available for the bar you have in mind.
If it’s not supposed to fit a 28” door, but you put it in anyway (if it’s oversized), you could actually damage your wall and risk injury.
Adhere to the warning and specifications in the packaging to avoid unnecessary accidents or make using these more difficult on yourself.
Grips really matter here. If you don’t have good grips, you’re going to have sore hands rubbing against the metal tubing pretty quickly.
Grips should be made out of rubber, ideally. Soft to the touch, firm in your hands, and easy to hold onto.
It’s one of those things that we wish we could test first when buying online, and it’s where user reviews come in handy.
Mounting (Wall Units)
Mounting is one of two things: simple, or the worst way to spend your Sunday afternoon.
Depending on the size and dimensions of your wall mounted unit, you might have to get specialized screws and drill into concrete, or you might be able to pull some magic with thick plywood.
It all depends on the unit. Mounting a wall unit requires leveling and precision, so don’t mess around when doing it.
Are Pull Up Bars Safe?
Even the best doorway pull up bars are not 100% perfect. If they were, nobody would use alternatives.
Pull up bars are safe once you’re at a good weight range. You don’t want to begin your weight loss journey from a high weight by pulling yourself up on a doorway pull up bar.
Wall mounted pull up bars, or power tower style bars are actually pretty safe. If they aren’t affixed, they need padding beneath them for traction.
In general, regardless of what installation type, pull up bars are safe to use.
If they’re designed with steel and a high weight limit, you can trust that your body weight isn’t going to tear it down or cause you injury.
Understand how leverage works and how your body is going to impact weight distribution during use, and you will be okay.
What Muscles do Pull Up Bars Work?
You get the best wall mounted pull up bar, then you start working those pull ups, and stop… because you don’t know what muscles you’re actually working out.
If you don’t know that, how can you know what to expect?
One of the major muscle groups that pull ups in general help work out are the lats. These basically define the overall width of your back.
If you’re after a total body workout that changes the shape of your physique, like giving you that V-shape that all men want to have, this is a seriously powerful workout to train those lats.
Your back is what defines the width of your shoulders. While actually working your shoulders does help with a bit of the bulk, it’s not going to carry most of the weight.
It’ll round those shoulders out so they look excellent along with your arms and back, but it’s not the brunt of the work.
You have to work out those back muscles first and foremost. Another few muscles groups that pull ups work out are the teres, pecs, erector spinae and external oblique (among others).
Your external obliques aren’t all visible, but they attribute to overall size.
You’ll get that bit of a shredded look on your sides, but the main reason you want to work these muscles out is the additional bulk in your back.
It not only makes you look more aesthetic, but actually makes pull ups easier in the future.
Can a Pull Up Bar Break Your Door?
If you live in a house that was built in 1893 when people were literally shorter than they are today, then maybe.
Pull up bars are designed to actually work with the way your door frame is designed. Look at the 45° angle cuts on the door frame.
That wood is relying on the vertical sections of the door frame (the sides), and puts pressure/force on those sections.
Modern door frames will hold onto the pressure just fine. Pull up bars will not break your down.
If you notice some with higher weight capacities, that’s not just because of the steel grade used in construction, but it also accounts for how much your door frame can handle.
Additional support bars and contact strips are put in place to differentiate the way pressure is displaced.
You’re pulling straight down, so apart from the structural integrity of the door intact, these different spots help redistribute the way pressure is distributed.
You do need to measure it out, though. If you use a bar that’s far too big for your door frame (but have it hang on there anyway), then you’re going to run into problems.
If it’s too big, you might unevenly distribute weight and crack the drywall on either side of the frame.
How do I Get Better at Pullups?
Would it be enough to say practice makes perfect? Probably not.
Truth is, just doing pull ups over and over again isn’t enough to improve your ability to, well, do more pull ups.
It’s all about form, as well as a few exercises that can help you out.
Assuming that you walk up to your best ceiling mount pull up bar, take a deep breath before you grab anything. Feel your muscles.
When you grab on, focus on your form before you try any exercise. Feel the way you’re gripping the handles, feel those muscles engage, and do proper pull ups.
From there, these are some ways you can improve your pull up technique.
1. Enhance Grip
Your wrists and forearms have specific muscle groups, and those need to be trained.
You might actually have more upper body strength than you realize, you’re just walling it off because your grip isn’t what it needs to be.
Use dumbbells to do weighted wrist-ups (they’re a thing) with 1 or 2 pound weights.
2. Lower Body Fat Content
Pull ups aren’t easy on your body. Your body fat content is literally weighing you down and making it harder to pull yourself up.
Fat doesn’t help you, in any way shape or form, to pull your entire body up by using your arms and chest.
Remove as much of that as you can, and you’ll do much better. 8% body fat is very lean, but around 11% body fat is okay as well.
3. Train Your Abs
When you do a pull up, you should be tucking your abs in and curling your body so that you can work out your entire core while you’re at it.
It’s easier to control your upper body when your upper abdomen is tight and in shape.
4.Narrow it Out
This one isn’t the most hardcore or awesome method, but it gets the job done just fine when you’re trying to train your body.
Narrow out the distance between your hands.
We all know that a wider pull up is harder on our bodies, so this gives you a training wheels approach to get your body ready for harder pull ups.
5. Negative Hangs
It’s redundant, because you’re going to just hang there. Yeah, just what you’re imagining—grab on and hang on.
This is going to stretch and train those muscle groups that you’ll be using later for actual pull ups.
Use these to get yourself ready for pull ups, or to just alternate your workout on the days where you’re not bringing 100% to the gym.
On Your Way to Six-Pack Abs
Pull ups are traditionally one of the best ways to build your core and sculpt those arms.
Every muscle group needs a tough workout, but let’s be honest: your focus (and where everyone’s eyes will go) is on that core.
You’re going to shred and tone your body, and with these, you’re on the fast track to getting that year-round physique you’ve been wanting.
Screw getting in shape for your bikini body; these will help you stay fit and sexy for life.
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