Home Equipment – 9: Pull-up Bar

Onward ho with the endless series on home fitness equipment. This time around it's the pull-up bar. Considering it's primarily just a horizontal pole above your head, it's surprisingly versatile. That's right, the pull-up bar isn't just for pull-ups. And of course, there are different bar styles.

Just a few months ago, I wrote a post on movement patterns and one of the four essential patterns for StrongFast Fitness was "pull." This was broken down into horizontal and vertical pulls.

The other three essential patterns (push, squat, hinge) can all be done rather easily with no equipment. But pulls are really hard to do with nothing. For vertical pulls, the best piece of home equipment is the pull-up bar. (Note: a reminder that I use the term "pull-up" to refer to the movement using a pronated grip and "chin-up" for a supinated grip. It's the same basic movement using the same kind of bar.)

Man using pull-up bar

At its simplest, a pull-up bar is any horizontal bar above your head that will support your weight. They are commonly found at playgrounds, beaches, or even on construction scaffolding. (Not that I would ever use those. No way. Not me.)

But this is a series on home equipment so let's look at some examples there.

First up is my homemade bar. I used this for years but use my power rack bar (see below) now. There are lots of ways to rig up a bar. If you have a basement or garage, this is a good, inexpensive option.

Homemade bar

Next up is a doorway bar. I wrote about mine a while back. These are very reasonably priced and work most anywhere, even in tiny apartments.

Doorway bar

The one I mostly use now is built into my power rack (which I'll write about in a future post). This isn't an option for most people but it works well for me.

Power rack bar

If you have strong fingers, in a pinch you can use a ledge instead of a bar. I've used an elevated deck, for example.

Pull-ups from a deck

In my small Manhattan apartment some years back, I used a storage area "shelf".

NY apartment shelf for pull-ups

And there was a time I used to do them on steel I-beams in basements.

Ledges aren't a practical option for most people as they're quite hard on the fingers, but I wanted to illustrate that there are many options for doing pull-ups.

Pull-up bars are also valuable as a hanging point for other pieces of equipment. For example, you can use one with a resistance band to perform pull-downs. Or you can use it with rings to perform inverted rows. (You'll see these once we get to the post on rings.)

The pull-up bar could have easily been in the top-five of this list. Ranking is hard! But anyway, having one is highly recommended.

Be seeing you.


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