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How to Build a Pullup Bar / Other Options

Here is an emailed question about not having the facilities to do pullups.  I have a hard time with this one as I have not been a gym member for nearly twenty years and have no issues with finding pullup bars or even building my own for little or no money.   Just use some good old fashioned ingenuity or buy an inexpensive pullup bar system if you need to.  One observation too - have you noticed there is NEVER a line in the gym for the pull up bars?  There is a reason - Pullups are hard to do - so get crackin' - no more excuses!

Stew I recently read your article about not doing pullups / pushups everyday.  Stop Doing Pushups and Pullups EVERYDAY!  I have a different issue.  I cannot do pullups as I am not a member of a gym and I do not have a pullup bar.  Any suggestions on what I can do?

You have SO MANY OPTIONS.  Check out these options.

The Playground Options - I have been running to a local playground and using their monkey bars to do pullups for years.  Whether I am at home or on travel, I am never too far from a park or an elementary school to find pullup bars.  So high school tracks have pullup bars nearby and those make for great free workout facilities.  The pictured monkey bars gives you a variety of pullup options from wide grip, reverse grip, neutral grip, etc...and you can take your kids and teach them how to do pullups if you are old like me.  :)

Make running to the playground part of your workout.



Build Your Own - All this version takes is a bar and some trust in a ladder and a secure location on a wall. It works!  No need to complain about not being able to do pullups anymore!  Make sure you secure both ends and have a sturdy enough bar.  Cannot find a bar?  Look around your house or go to Home Depot for EVERYTHING that you need and more to build pullup bars.

On the right hand side, with a few wood screws, pipes, and 90 degree pipe elbows, you can hook a pole to your unfinished basement beams.



Don't forget the Stud Bar - It works too! 


Buy a Power Tower - I have used one of these for years and donated one to our local swimming pool which then allows my group and me to do pullups, dips mixed into our swim PT sessions.  These range in price from $100-$250 depending on the sturdiness of the tower.  But even the most flimsy power towers work to do pullups / dips in your home.






Door Jam Pullup Bar - This model on the right works really well even in 36" door wells.  These devices are surprisingly sturdy BUT if your door jam is not that sturdy you could quickly be on your face.  That is why when I use these as well as using the ladder option above, I recommend to not bend your knees / feet backward or cross your ankles so you can land on your feet if something happens to your door or equipment used.



Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at



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