Pull-up bars are excellent for giving a strength training edge to your home exercise plan. They are perfectly suitable for small home-gym spaces. If you plan to go for one, do it without second thoughts. However, you may be confused by the different types of pull-up bars in the market. The famous two options that confuse you the most are door pull-up bars and wall pull-up bars. However, besides those two, there are a few other types of pull-up bars to consider. This guide will help you find the perfect pull-up bar and pull-up bar style for your needs, whether you have a one-bedroom apartment or a full-size exercise room in your house or garage.
Why pull-ups (chin-ups)?
To build strength in the back and biceps, the pull-up tops the list of effective exercises. By using your own body weight for resistance, the pull-up works multiple muscle groups, including some of the big guns – rhomboids, biceps, mid and lower traps, obliques, and rectus abdominis – with an emphasis on the latissimus dorsi.
Pull-ups not only build up the back, helping you avoid injuries to that vulnerable area, but they also improve stamina, create lean muscle mass, and strengthen your grip – a necessity for many competitive sports.
Pull-ups may look simple, but they can be a challenge to master; they are even sometimes used by the military in order to determine the fitness level of recruits. Try starting with only a few in the beginning, but hit the bar numerous times a day. Resistance band-assisted pull-ups are also a good way to start.
Pull-up bars overview
Pull-up bars are the ideal tool for performing intense upper-body workouts at home using only the weight of your own body. This small piece of fitness equipment is so useful and inexpensive that just about anyone serious about building a sculpted physique should own one. In this overview, we’ll break down what you need to know and share our top picks for the best pull-up bar for your home workouts.
There are a few different kinds of home pull-up bars, some more portable than others. But in general, pull-up bars, aka, chin-up bars, are composed of metal, some kind of foam or rubber grip, have a means of being secured to a doorframe, wall, or ceiling, and enable a person to raise themselves off the ground using a variety of upper body muscles including arms, back, shoulders, and chest.
Types of pull-up bars for home workout
At-home pull-up bars aren’t a one-design-fits-all market, as there are several different styles to choose from, each with its own advantages. Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common at-home pull-up bar type:
- Doorframe Pull-Up Bar (Leverage-mounted pull-up bar)
- Extending Door Frame Pull Up Bar (Telescoping Doorway Pull Up Bar)
- Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar
- Ceiling-Mounted Pull Up Bar
- Free Standing Pull-Up Bars
- Joist-mounted pull-up bar
Doorframe Pull-Up Bar (Leverage Mounted Pull-Up Bar)
It’s very easy to mount. The doorframe pull-up bar does not require drilling or screwing at all. It rests on the front edge of the door frame and is secured in place by leveraging your own body weight.
Therefore, your own body is the lever that holds the device in place, but the lack of real fixed points increases the risk that the device will easily detach from the door frame, which is one of the negative sides of this type of device.
The carrying capacity of the device is determined by the quality and strength of the door frame, and due to its design, there is a possibility that you will damage the door frame. It is not recommended for more advanced exercisers who use more demanding pull-up variants in their routine. It’s not as sturdy as the other types of pull-up bars and using it may be dangerous depending on your weight and what you are going to be using it for.
However, this type is a great choice if you are not able to drill into the walls or ceiling. Also, many leverage mounted pull-up bars are portable: they are small enough to pack them along with you if you travel.
Extending Door Frame Pull Up Bar (Telescoping Doorway Pull Up Bar)
This type of door frame pull-up bar is among the cheapest and easiest to install. It extends on either end to fit between the door frame. There are rubber pads on either end that help create tension to resist the load of the user.
Although not required, brackets are recommended to keep the bar from slipping down the frame or falling off.
Wall-Mounted Pull Up Bar
The wall-mounted pull-up bar is your firm, solid, and safe pull-up spot. You need to have a specified, separate space (garage or your home gym) for this type of pull-up bar because it is not easily detachable and portable like a door frame pull-up bar. It also requires mounting before starting the exercise – attaching to the wall with screws, which is a disadvantage compared to the first two types because it requires certain initial preparation. Also, once attached, it stays where it is (unless, of course, you don’t like where it is and you decide to drill new holes in the wall to move it elsewhere).
For these reasons, you should have an idea of the amount of space the device takes up so that you know exactly what model will suit you best in your space. You should also think about functionality. If the device is too close to the wall (due to its construction) you may be limited in performing movements because you will hit the wall during the exercise.
It would be ideal for the grip of the machine to be at least 40 cm away from the wall, which leaves you enough space so that you don’t end up too close to the wall while doing pull-ups.
However, a wall-mounted pull-up bar offers many advantages. The highest level of stability, suitable for vigorous exercises, can be mounted very high, very safe, variety of grips – just to name a few.
Ceiling-Mounted Pull Up Bar
Ceiling pull-up bars are ideal for those who don’t have much space on their walls and want to place their pull-up bar in a more spacious area. Ceiling-mounted pull-up bars do not need to be set up in a doorway or near a wall cornering blocking your movement. The ceiling-mounted pull-up bar is similar (almost identical) in its capabilities and characteristics to the wall-mounted pull-up bar. Hence their biggest advantage over other pull-up bars is the added range of motion, allowing more freedom within your exercise selection, this way kipping pull-ups and calisthenics are no longer an issue.
Free Standing Pull-Up Bars
Although they can be designed exclusively for pull-ups, most stand-alone pull-up machines (power tower fitness stations) come in combination with handles for dips, and some of the better ones offer other attachments (for the leg raises and push-ups), which is definitely an advantage that should be taken into account when choosing. It is quite easy to set up and use, offers more options when it comes to the performance of pull-ups itself, but takes up more space than other types of pull-up machines.
The negative side of this type of device is that they are usually heavy, which makes it difficult to move to other locations.
Joist-mounted pull-up bar
It is screwed into the sides of a ceiling joist. There must be a ceiling step or an exposed joist to hang it from.
Pull-up bars are perfect for those who want to build muscles with a simple routine and less equipment. You probably have a rough idea of what a pull-up bar is and what it looks like, but when you come to a store or visit a webshop, you will be surprised by the number of different models and possibilities that each one offers, and you’ll be a bit lost in the sea of information. The aim of this guide is to help you choose the device that best suits your needs. In the end, the best pull-up bar is the one that fits your life and home gym situation.