By having you pony up to the pull-up bar, as he stood nearby with a clipboard, your high school gym teacher was onto something. The pull-up might be the most effective upper body move out there. With one challenging motion you can build upper body strength—back, arms, and shoulders—and work your core. Any home workout should include a pull-up, and luckily the required gear is easy to integrate into even the smallest home gym (one that maybe now doubles as a living room).
Picking the best pull-up bar is a balance between the max weight limit you need and where you’ll be mounting it. The easiest to install are the doorway pull-up bars that pop on and off the jamb. Others bolt to the ceiling or upper part of the wall. And if you have the room, a dedicated piece of equipment or free-standing pull-up bar can help you integrate some other moves into your workout. These are the six best pull-up bars for dads who want to skip the gym.
Pop this pull-up bar up on a doorway in seconds where it supports up to 300 pounds with foam pads to protect your wall and door's finish. It works on doorways from 24 to 32-inches so it’ll fit into narrow bathroom door openings. Choose between wide, narrow, and neutral grips to change up your workout. When you're done working your upper body, you can fix it to the lower part of the doorway where it holds your feet securely for sit-ups, or use it for dips and pushups.
Typically, the benefit of attaching a pull-up bar to a wall or ceiling is greater weight capacity without hogging up the floor space that a free-standing unit requires. This bar mounts to studs or other structure in walls or ceilings that are spaced either 16 or 24 inches, leaving you with a generous 48-inch long bar that will hold up to 350 pounds. In rooms with a 9-foot ceiling, it places the bar at around 7 feet off the ground, which is a good height for most users. Add ab straps to get some more use out of the bar.
With more hand positions than most ceiling-mounted bars, this powder-coated steel version bolts to the wall, where it supports up to 600 pounds. Ideally it's mounted directly to studs, but you can also attach it to 2-by-4s stretching across the wall structure. The textured grip means any resistance straps you add will stay put and since the bar spaces you about 30 inches off the wall, you'll have room for leg lifts.
For those with a spare room or garage to dedicate to a home gym, this folding wall rack is a rock-solid pull-up bar, but that’s just the start. The DIY installable steel rack folds flat against the wall with hinges when not in use, preserving floor space. When it's time to work, swing it open to do pull-ups, other hanging or resistance movements, or to rack a barbell while squatting or benching.
Proving portable doesn’t mean flimsy, this folding full-size pull-up stand supports up to 440 pounds without an issue, yet it weighs only 60 pounds. The two A-frames are connected by the 40-inch wide pull-up bar, and the height is adjustable up to 100 inches off the ground without any tools. That added height comes in handy for stretches or leg work that might be a little cramped with a doorway pull-up bar. The mobile frame can follow you outside, but inside, it folds flat against the wall when not in use.
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