A Guide To The Best Pull Up Bars

A Guide To The Best Pull Up Bars

If you are looking to increase your upper body strength while boosting your cardiovascular health, pull ups are an exercise that you should seriously consider adding to your workout routine. This type of exercise involves using your arms to literally pull your body up.

Your body acts as the weight, and as you pull yourself up, the muscles in your arms and upper body are fully engaged.

Pull ups are regarded as one of the most difficult exercises, but it is this difficulty that yields such incredible results. The benefits that pull ups offer are numerous.

Man Doing Pull Ups

Some of the biggest benefits that you will reap from this type of exercise include:

  • Build Upper Body Strength - There is no doubt about it, pull ups provide the ability to build incredible upper body strength. As you lift the entire weight of your body, you will activate various muscles in the upper body (latissimus doris, rhomboids, biceps, triceps)
  • Enhanced cardiovascular health - As you pull your body up and lower it back down, you will increase your heart rate and boost your cardiovascular health.
  • Increased grip strength - Pull ups are an excellent way to improve the strength of your grip, as you rely on your hands to stabilize your body as you pull yourself up and lower yourself back down
  • Reduced fat - As you build muscle mass and boost your cardiovascular health, your body will burn fat.

Add to all of these benefits that fact that pull ups are an extremely convenient because you don’t have to use other weights (unless you want to,) and you have a highly powerful form of exercise.

If you are intrigued by the benefits that pull ups offer and you want to take advantage of them, investing in a home pull up bar is a wise idea. To help you find the best home pull up bar, we have put together this very informative guide.

In this guide, we highlight everything you need to know about this simple, yet powerful exercise, and the simple piece of equipment that is needed to do it – pull up bars.

After reading this guide, you will have all of the information that you need to make the most informed decision so that you can choose the best pull up bar for your specific needs.

How To Safely Perform Pull Ups

If you pull ups are a new part of your exercise routine, you want to make sure that you understand how to execute them as safely as possible. Since this type of exercise places a lot of strain on various muscle groups, there is a risk of injuring yourself if you are not doing them properly. For instance, you could pull a muscle in your arm or your neck.

Man Doing Pull Ups on a Door Bar

Follow these tips to ensure that you are executing your pull ups as safely as possible:

  • Place your hands on the bar. If you are just starting out, the best placement for your hands is in an overhand position. Also, make sure your hands are positioned so that they are slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Once you are positioned, keep your arms straight and lift your feet up off the floor, allowing your hands and arms to support the weight of your body.
  • ​Use your elbows to slowly pull yourself upward, toward the bar. As you pull up, point your elbows down toward the floor. Hold your elbows as close together as possible
  • ​Continue pulling yourself up until your chin passes over the bar.
  • Lower yourself down toward the ground until your arms are straight.

Pulling yourself up so that your chin passes over the bar and lowering yourself back down until your arms are straight is considered one rep. Repeat the process as often as you would like; however, do keep in mind that it is going to take time to build up your strength, so don’t overdo it, as you risk injuring yourself.

If necessary, use a bench to assist you. Stand on a bench and jump up towards the bar. After your chin passes the bar, slowly lower yourself down so that your feet are back on the bench and jump back up again. Eventually, you will build the strength in your arms up and you won’t have to rely on any assistance.

Pull Up Variations

One of the reasons that pull ups are such a powerful and effective form of exercise is because they can be varied in a myriad of ways. Here’s a look at some of the different variations of pull ups.

The Standard Pull Up

The standard pull up involves positioning your hands a bit wider than your shoulders while your palms are faced away from you. To execute the standard pull up, pull yourself up while holding your body tight. Once your chin passes the bar, lower yourself back down and repeat.

Man Doing a Standard Pull Up

The Chin Up

This is the most commonly used variation of the pull up. It is executed in the same manner as the standard pull up, except the palms are the hands are positioned so that they are facing toward you, instead of away from you; in other words, you are performing a pull up with an underhand placement.

By simply changing the placement of your hands from over to under, your biceps will be more engaged.

The Wide Grip Pull Up

As the name suggest, with a wide grip pull up, your hands are placed further apart than they would be with a standard pull up or a chin up. By widening your grip, your lats, arms, chest and shoulders will be more engaged.

Kipping Pull Ups

Traditional pull ups do not rely on any momentum to pull the weight of your body upward. With kipping pull ups, momentum is added to the exercise, which helps to propel your body upward toward the bar. To complete this variation, position your hands in an overhand grip, and place them shoulder width apart.

Once your hands are positioned, pull your legs back, creating an arc in your body, and then pull your legs forward while swinging your body upward.

The L Sit Pull Up

Traditionally, the body is held straight while executing a pull up. With the L sit variation, the body is held in a seated position; similar to an L. This type of pull up engages the core, as well as the arms and back, adding another dimension of strength building.

Man Doing an L Sit Pull Up

To complete the L sit, place your hands in an overhand grip on the bar, and position them so that they are shoulder width apart. Lift up your legs so that they are parallel to the ground; your body will be in the shape of an L. Hold your legs straight out in front of you and pull up on the bar.

The Muscle Up

Like the kipping pull up, the muscle up also adds some momentum to the exercise. Instead of having your chin pass the bar, however, with this variation, your chest will clear it. The muscle up is an intense workout and requires extreme strength in the arms.

To perform this variation, place your hands shoulder width apart and hold them in an overhand grip on the bar. Slightly pull your legs back and then apply some force to pull your body up and your chest above the bar. Once your chest has cleared the bar, hold your arms straight so that your waist is in front of the bar.

These are just a few of the variations of pull ups. Really, the possible variations are limitless. You can try one of the many variations that already exist, or you can try to create your own.

The Benefits Of Home Pull Up Bars

Go to virtually any gym and you will find at least one, if not several, pull up bars. That’s a true testament to how beneficial pull ups are. But, why should you have a pull up bar in your home? There are actually a number of reasons, and here’s a look at just a few.

Convenience

With a pull up bar in your home, you won’t have to go to the gym in order to do your pull ups. In fact, you won’t even have to buy a membership to the gym! When you have access to your own pull up bar, you can easily do reps whenever you want. Now, that’s convenient.

CFF Wall / Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar Mounted on Wood Panel

Keeps You On Track

When you have your own pull up bar, you will be more inclined to stay on track with your exercise routine. For example, perhaps you don’t want to go to the gym on a particularly day, or you just don’t have the time. You can easily fit in a few minutes to do some pull ups, even when the gym is closed, keeping you on track with your strength building goals.

Affordable

A pull up bar is one of the most cost-effective pieces of exercise equipment that you can own. Prices do vary, and you can find good quality bars starting at $150; though there are many that cost under $50.

Pull Up Bar Types

There are several different types of home pull up bars available. In order to choose the best option for your needs, you really need to have a firm understanding of the different types of pull up bars that are available.

There are four main types of pull up bars, and each type offers different advantages. Here’s a detailed look at each type of home pull up bar so you can determine which one will best suit your specific needs

The Door Pull Up Bar

As the name suggest, the door pull up bar is positioned in a doorway. It can either be affixed to the frame of a door, or it can be placed directly over the door itself. Bars that attach to the door frame have a leverage bar design.

Standard Door Pull Up Bar

The leverage bar securely attaches the bar to the door frame, providing you with a stable surface to pull yourself up on. The over the door pull up bar is positioned over a door, and the door must be closed to use it. The door itself provides the stability.

The main advantage of a door pull up bar is that it isn’t a permanent fixture, so you can take it down and put it back up whenever you want to. It’s also one of the most cost-effective pull up bars for the home available. Also, installing this type of bar is pretty simple and straightforward.

There is a downside to this type of installation; it isn’t as stable as other types of pull up bars, which means it is less secure than other types of pull up bars.

The Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar

This type of pull up bar is affixed to the ceiling, as the name suggest. It attaches to the studs, which ensures that it has a secure attachment to the ceiling, offering you a stable surface to execute various types of pull ups on. Additionally, because the bar is located over your head, some people find that it is easier to pull the weight of their body up on a ceiling mounted pull up bar.

Mounted Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar

Another benefit of this type of home pull up bar is that it allows for much more flexibility if attached to the center of the room, away from the walls. Without the presence of a wall or a door in front of you, you will be much less restricted and able to complete different variations of pull ups with greater ease.

It also leaves space on your walls, freeing them up for the placement of other workout gear, furniture or anything else you may want to place on the walls.

The Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar

Similar to a ceiling mounted pull up bar, a wall mounted pull up bar is secured into joists, but obviously, the joists are in the wall as opposed to the ceiling. Many people prefer a wall mounted pull up bar because it is positioned in front of the body instead of above, which can make pull ups more challenging to execute, thus providing greater strength training.

Titan Fitness Wall Mounted Pull Up Chin Up Bar Mounted on Wood Panel

The Free Standing Pull Up Bar

If you do not want to attach a pull up bar to your ceiling, your wall or your door, a free standing pull up bar is the best option for you. This type of pull up bar is its own piece of exercise equipment. It is constructed of heavy, durable metal, which provides this type of pull up bar with the stability that is needed to support the weight of your body.

A free standing pull up bar provides you with more workout options than any other type of pull up bar. It can be used to do a variety of exercises, including pushups, sit ups, dips and curls. You can also attach other pieces of equipment to it, such as weights or straps.

Man Using a Freestanding Pull Up Bar

The downside of a free standing pull up bar is that it is cumbersome. It can take up a lot of space and is heavy, which means that you will want to dedicate a space to this piece of equipment.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Home Pull Up Bars

There are several factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when you are deciding on what type of pull up bar to use in your home. Things like the weight capacity, the space available and the types of exercises that you want to use the bar to do should all be taken into consideration before you select a pull up bar.

By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can find a bar that will best serve your needs. Here’s a look at some of the most important factors that we suggest you take into consideration when trying to determine what type of home pull up bar will work the best for you.

The Weight Capacity

Without a doubt, one of the most important factors that should be considered when choosing a pull up bar is the weight capacity. The last thing you want it to pull yourself up onto a bar that doesn’t provide adequate support for your weight. This could not only lead to serious injury, but it could also do damage to your home.

Man Using a Heavy Duty Pull Up Bar

Most pull up bars have a weight capacity of 300 pounds, though there are several that can accommodate higher weights. In fact, there are some that can even support up to 600 pounds.

Make sure you weigh yourself before shopping for a pull up bar, and then consult the specifications listed on the product to ensure that the pull up bar you are considering will safely hold your weight.

Where You Will Be Using It

You also want to make sure you consider the space where you will be using your pull up bar before you decide which one to purchase. Different types of pull up bars have different space requirements, so you want to make sure that you choose a bar that your space can accommodate.

For example, if you are considering a door pull up bar, make sure that you have a doorway that will fit the door. If you are going to opt for an over the door pull up bar, a solid door is a better option, as it will provide you with the stability that is needed to support your weight.

On the other hand, if you are thinking about a wall or ceiling mounted pull up bar, you need to make certain that the space has the joists that are needed to properly and safely secure the bar. If not, you will most certainly end up pulling the bar out of the wall or the ceiling.

CFF Wall / Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar With Boxing Equipment

The Exercises

What type of exercises are you planning on doing? Different types of exercises will require different types of pull up bars. For example, if you want to do muscle ups, which require more overhead space to complete, you won’t be able to execute them with a ceiling mounted pull up bar.

Additionally, a door pull up bar won’t provide the stability that is needed for this type of pull up, which requires extreme force. Instead, a wall mounted or a free standing pull up bar would be a better option.

Added Features

Depending on your needs, added features could prove to be a valuable asset for a pull up bar. Pads that wrap around the bar, for example, may provide added comfort while you are doing your pull ups. A bench could be used to assist you with executing your pull ups, or can be used for doing other types of exercises.

While they may not be necessary for your specific needs, you may find added features handy.

Conclusion

Pull ups are a powerful exercise that can provide you with a wealth of benefits, including increased arm and upper body strength, improved cardiovascular health and enhanced grip, among other things.

If you want to take advantage of all of these benefits, the addition of a pull up bar to your home gym, basement or garage, or even your doorway, is certainly worth your while.

Kid Doing Pull Ups on a Door Pull Up Bar

Before you start shopping, make sure you fully understand what your needs are so that you can choose the best pull up bar for you. Also, make sure that you take care and execute your pull ups as safely as possible.

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