Best Doorway Pull Up Bar Reviews 2016
The pull up has rightly been called the upper body squat. The pull-up is one of the simplest and most effective exercises you can do to carve up your upper body—back, arms, chest and shoulders—as well as firm up your core. This exercise that you can perform almost anywhere ignites a complex blend of muscle groups to raise your fitness to new levels.
A simple bar hung over a closet door or mounted to the wall can be used for a muscle-sculpting workout that takes only a few minutes, three days a week. If you’re looking to boost your strength, muscle tone and overall fitness, pull-ups are one of the easiest exercises to understand and complete.
(Use the below table of contents to quickly answer your questions.
If you’re not doing some variation of the basic pull up, then you are depriving your body of a great opportunity to grow and strengthen. For those of us who prefer to train at home, there are dozens of home pull up bars on the market. In this article series, we will investigate the range of home pull up bars available on the market. We’ll discover what the premium products are and what makes them stand-outs. In the process, we’ll uncover the features and benefits that you need to look for when searching for a home pull up bar.
Pull Up bars generally vary according to how they are secured to a stationary object. They can either be door mounted, attached to a wall or a ceiling. The unit is usually made of metal, has rubber hand grips and a means of being affixed to a support base.
Overview of Best Products
In this comprehensive doorway pull up bar review article we have broken the products down into three categories: “Best In Class”, “Best Value” and “Most Affordable.” Our choice of Best in Class indicates the bar that we feel is the best overall door pull up bar on the market today, regardless of cost. The Most Affordable designation goes to the bar that most closely meets the standard set by the Best in Class bar, but comes in at a more attractive price point. The Most Affordable bar is our selection of the best pull up bar on the market that comes in under $20.
BEST IN CLASS
Best Bar on the Market Regardless of Cost
The Iron Gym Extreme is a hugely popular door jamb pull up bar. The reasons are obvious. It offers the user an impressive variety of workout options, sets up with ease and looks good.
The Iron Gym Extreme door pull up bar is packed with features that allow you to extend your workout beyond the basics of pull ups and chin ups. It comes completely disassembled, but assembly is quick and easy.
The unit is also a breeze to put up and remove from your door frame. The bar offers an extra wide pull up as well as grips to allow for a variety of angles to work lats from every conceivable angle. There’s also a narrow grip option to put the focus on your biceps. It even offers a couple of hammer grip options to target the delts and forearms. This provides a truly impressive number of training options in the one device.
Once you’re done with hitting the back through pull up variations, simply take the bar down and you’ve got an accessory to allow you to perform elevated push ups, dips and crunches safely and effectively.
The Iron Gym Extreme door frame pull up bar has a maximum load capacity of 300 pounds. The unit comes with a safety pin to hold the bar in place when not being used.
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK
The Perfect Fitness Multi Gym Door Frame Pull Up Bar is an impressive unit that ticked all of our requirements, including not leaving any footprint on the door jamb. It uses unique flat moulding contact points that are gentler on the door frame than anything else we’ve encountered.
This stylish black and white unit is constructed with steel tubing, foam and plastic. The unit comes unassembled with a separate bag consisting of screws, nuts and washers, along with a wrench and Phillips screwdriver. The bar is very securely held by the door frame alone, without the need for drilling or screwing. It fits a standard door frame from 27” to 35” wide. There are three contact points to ensure that the bar is totally secure. The parallel L-shaped bars are connected to a cross-bar which has a metal stay on it that sits atop the door frame moulding. The L-shaped bars are bolted to the pull up bar itself. The bar has cushioned supports on each end which push into the sides of the door frame to provide extra support when performing the exercise.
The bar features thicker than standard steel tubing to provide for a superior level of stability when exercising. It has a variety of mounting positions to ensure that it fits your door perfectly. The back bar can also be adjusted to provide more ground clearance for taller people. The wide foam pads give an even weight distribution to provide more stability and give longer life to your door trim. The protruding foam gives you a tremendous variety of wide grip options when performing your pull ups. The foam padding in the Perfect Bar actually extends across the entire length of the bar. The extended lateral bars also allow you to perform palms facing each other pull ups as well as leg lifts and raises to work the muscles of the core.
The versatility of the Perfect Bar is another major plus for this product. When not attached to the door, it can be used to perform elevated push ups, sit ups and dips.
The Perfect Fitness Multi Gym Pull Up Bar had the best instruction manual of all of the models we investigated. The step by step instructions are accompanied by clear pictures to provide a fail-proof assembly guide. In fact you can have this unit ready to rock in just three easy set-up steps.
GREAT CHOICE FOR THOSE ON A BUDGET
The best pull up bar we found under $20 is a telescopic unit that extends to be enclosed within the top of your door frame.
The chrome tubing will fit between a door that is up to 34 inches wide. Rubber pads at the ends of the bar provide tension to keep the bar secure while training. The unit provides comfortable hand grips. The Sunny telescopic bar will allow you to do the standard pull up or chin up with a variety of hand spacings. It does not, however, allow for the range of hand placements that higher priced models feature.
The Sunny Bar is a piece of cake to install. It has a maximum load of 220 pounds and can also be utilised for sit ups and push ups. After your workout, the bar comes down with a simple twisting motion.
Iron Gym is an innovative manufacturer of cutting edge fitness equipment out of Finland. In addition to the Pull Up Bar, they’ve introduced Speed Abs, and Push Up Max. The Iron Gym Extreme is an updated version of the original Iron Gym Pull Up Bar. In just a few years, Iron Gym have forged an enviable reputation as a market leader in the home fitness industry.
The Original Iron Gym
Iron Gym released their first pull up bar a number of years ago. This highly engineered, lightweight door attachment gained an instant following with it’s sleek design, ease of attachment and multi grip options. The unique design of the Iron Gym wraps around your door frame and uses leverage. That means no screws and no damage to your door surrounds. Make sure you check out our complete Iron gym pull up bar review in this article. Check out this article to learn about the newest Iron Gym bar, our Ultimate body press wall mounted pull up bar review.
Founded by a former Navy Seal, Perfect Fitness have established themselves as solid players in the home fitness space with a range of dynamic training equipment which has quickly developed a huge market appeal. Perfect fitness are the guys behind the Perfect Push Up, Perfect Pull Up, Perfect Multi Gym, and Perfect Sit Up. The company is committed to providing the most functional, innovative training equipment based on back to basics principles.
The Perfect Fitness Multigym Pro
In addition to their marquee pull up bar, Perfect Fitness have brought out a pro version designed for larger users. This unit will comfortably accommodate 300 pounds. It also offers more gripping variety, with two neutral grip positions, standard and narrow grips, along with an extra wide grip to hit the outer lats. And with 16 bolt connections this unit is designed to last for the duration. Find out more with our complete Perfect pull up bar review.
Sunny Health & Fitness
Sunny Health & Fitness is a California based importer and distributor of fitness equipment. For over 10 years, Sunny have been bringing quality home fitness equipment from Taiwan and China into the United States. Their ability to source directly through their huge network of manufacturers allows Sunny to bring top quality gear to home fitness enthusiasts at the best possible prices.
Sunny Health & Fitness Pull Up Bar
The simplicity of this unit is it’s best feature. Because the bar extends from both sides, you’ll always be gripping bars of the same width. And because the bar utilises turn-buckle technology, you can get tremendous tension very quickly by simply turning the ends in opposite directions. At under twenty bucks this one is great value for money and it does a great, if somewhat limited, job.
ProSource are an American manufacturer of a wide range of fitness equipment including yoga, pilates, cross training and home fitness equipment. As well as supplying the home fitness market, ProSource equip commercial gymnasiums and recreation centers.
ProSource Heavy-Duty Easy Gym Doorway Chin-Up/Pull-Up Bar
This is a heavy duty unit with an impressive range of grip variety, offering parallel as well as conventional options. The extra wide pull up bar is great for people with longer arms. The bar is a cinch to assemble and install. However, you will need to have moulding above the doorway to be able to install the unit without screws. If you are interested in this bar make sure you check out our complete Prosource pull up bar review here.
Gorilla Gym is a children’s recreational product provider who have developed an amazing door attachment that is multi functional, providing for a range of kid friendly end users as well as being a fantastic door way pull up bar.
The Gorilla Gym Power Fitness Package
The Gorilla Gym is the only pull up bar that is rated for use by children by the ATSM. It’s also the only bar that is designed for you to swing on, which comes in handy for kipping pull ups and a number of core moves. The Gorilla Gym is much more than a pull up bar, with attachments that turn it into a full on kid’s playland. Don’t let that fool you though - this unit will allow you to perform a pull up workout that is anything but child’s play. Get a more complete look at this product with our Xtreme monkey pull up bar reviews.
Gold’s Gym is an iconic brand in the fitness industry so any product bearing it’s name had better be good. Gold’s have been in the home fitness market for some time now, offering a range of quality products that have done the brand proud. They are part of ICON Health and Fitness Inc., the largest developer, manufacturer and supplier of fitness equipment in the world.
The Original Heavy Duty Gold’s Gym Training Bar
With soft foam grip handles and an extra wide bar, the Gold’s Gym door way pull up bar has what you need to get in a great lat workout at home. It comes with a 10-year warranty and even includes a free video packed with workout advice and routines. Learn more in this gold gym pull up bar review.
Jody Lernihan founded J/Fit some 20 years ago in a quest to bring affordable, portable, convenient fitness equipment to the masses. Two decades on, J/Fit is an industry leader, offering exercise balls, tubing, latex bands and pull up bars that are both stylish and functional. And they’re affordable. Most products come with an instructional video to help you to get the most value from your investment.
J-Fit Pull Up Bar
J/Fit offer a telescopic pull up bar extension that is premium grade strength and very easy to put up and take down. It has two adjustable grips and easy install safety caps which attach to the door frame with three small screws. This bar has a longer than standard telescopic reach, making it perfect for odd spaces that don’t fit the conventional standard door width. In fact, the J-Fit is the only telescopic bar that we’ve encountered that can accommodate a 40 inch door width! Get an in-depth J/Fit Pull Up Bar Review here.
Beach Body are a multinational organisation that uses direct response infomercials and multi-level marketing to promote their fitness, fat loss and bodybuilding training programs. Beach Body are the company behind the mega successful P-90X and Insanity workout series.
P-90X Pull Bar
The P-90X Pull Up Bar is an over the door trim leverage mounted bar that can be fitted together and mounted in just a couple of minutes. It offers an impressive range of grip options, including a parallel grip, extra wide grip and narrow grip. The bar is very secure meaning that it won’t sag or bend, even after years of use. With a recommended retail price of $60, however, the P-90X is a little more expensive than the competition. Go in depth on the P-90X Door Way Door Pull Up Bar Review here . . .
Travel Pull Up Bars
Frequent travellers who need to get their pull up workout in have special requirements for a travel pull up bar. They want an easily portable pull up bar that is compact, light weight and that clips together with no tools. Quick spin big knob bolts are a handy feature to make assembly quick and easy. It’s also important that the bar fit a variety of door sizes and that it leave absolutely no markings on the door frame. Check out the best travel portable pull up bars here.
Pull Up Bands
Pull Ups are a difficult exercise. Many people starting out struggle to perform even one rep with proper technique. That’s where resistance bands come into play. By using a band you’ll be able to decrease the resistance of your body weight and, therefore, perform the exercise more easily. Bands are color coded in accord with their resistance levels. The harder you find it to do a pull up by yourself the greater the resistance of band you should use. The band gets hooked over the pull up bar. One foot is then placed over the band. You then perform a pull up, using the band as an aid to completion.
Check out the best pull up bands of 2016 here.
What To Look For
When you’re shopping for a door way chin up bar there are certain non negotiables that you need to tick off before you start considering any bells and whistles that the product may have. The following are key considerations when selecting the bar that will do the job you need it to do over the long haul:
- Stability: It doesn’t matter how many grip variations a bar provides; if it isn’t going to securely hold your body weight workout after workout, then it’s not worth your money. Pull ups are a confidence exercise, and, unless you have total faith in the safety of your bar, you will never be able to perform to your max. Obviously, you can’t do a trial workout on a bar you purchase online, but you can read testimonials and reviews like this one!
- Maximum Weight: Make sure you know the maximum capacity of your bar. Most bars will be around 300 pounds. Telescopic bars, however, are usually lighter, around the 220 pound mark.
- Attachment Method: You want a clean method of attachment that will be easy to install while leaving no marking on your doorjamb or walls.
- Grip Variation: A bar that offers more than the basic straight bar grip will allow you to work your muscles in a variety of ways. Some bars allow you to use a hammer grip, as well as a neutral, reverse and angled grip.
- Bar Thickness: A variation in the thickness of the bar will allow you to work your forearms far more effectively than a constant grip.
If you are working out at home, then you absolutely need to be performing pull ups. Pull ups are a fantastic upper back exercise. They are the best thing you can do to develop the latissimus dorsi muscles – the ones that give a “V” shape to your upper body. Yet the movement actually works your whole body. It will place direct stress upon you abs, lower back, biceps and forearms.
The pull up is the more challenging version of it’s cousin, the chin up. Beginners generally start with chin ups. Once you’ve become proficient at this exercise, you’re ready to tackle the more challenging chin up. The pull up is like a chin up, except that your palms are facing away from you when you perform the movement. Pull Ups are a real challenge. But, once you’ve conquered one it won’t take long to get your numbers up. Before you know it you’ll be pumping out a dozen perfect reps to the amazement of your friends and family. Better still, you’ll be building a healthy, streamlined back that will make you firmer, fitter and stronger.
A pull up bar also makes it possible to perform a variety of fantastic movements that target your all important core. The very fact that you hang freely from the bar works the core in and of itself in order to keep your body stable. Movements like hanging leg raises are among the best thing you can do to target your frontal abdominals. Wind screen wipers are a fantastic move to hit the intercostals. To target your trapezius muscles you can perform hanging reverse shoulder shrugs.
A Door Way Pull Up Bar will allow you to perform the pull up, along with it’s twin, the chin up, wherever you happen to have a doorway. And you’ll be able to do it without having to resort to drilling holes or otherwise damaging the structure of the dwelling. In fact, the best bars will provide you with years of reliable service without leaving any impressions on the door jamb or the surrounding walls.
These are just a sampling of the range of exercises that can be done on this most versatile of home gym training equipment pieces, the door way pull up bar.
Most pull up bars that you purchase can conveniently be left in place when you’re not using them. This provides you with a great incentive to pump out one or two reps every time you pass through the door way. That could lead to an extra 50 or so pull ups each day. Can you imagine the improvement that 50 pull ups per day will make to your physique and to your strength level?
Because your door way chin up bar is staring you in the face all day long, you will have the incentive constantly before you to work those lats!
Types of door way pull up bars
Not all door way pull up bars work the same way. There are, in fact, two alternative securing methods that you’ll need to choose between:
- The Pull Up Bar Door Frame Leverage Method - the bar fits over the top of the door frame and is kept in place by the counter-balancing of your body weight as you perform the exercise. An over the door pull up bar unit will come disassembled but should only take ten minutes to put together and start using. When your workout is over, you will generally take the bar down and store it away.
- The Telescopic Pull Up Bar Door Frame Method - As the name suggests, these bars feature a telescopic portion which can be twisted to securely wedge themselves between the uprights of your door frame. They come with mounting cups that you may or may not choose to use by screwing into the tops of the door uprights. Telescopic door frame pull up bars will come with no assembly required. Telescopic bars are generally able to accommodate a pull up bar wide door frame.
Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars
Wall mounted home pull up bars connect directly to a concrete wall or to the studs in a plastered wall. These bars are generally easy to install and take up less space than a door way bar. A wall mounted pull up bar gives you the room to perform some moves that are simply not possible when you are working within the confines of a door way. One of these is the muscle up exercise. Of course, a wall mounted pull up bar is going to be a permanent fixture, so make sure that it’s not going to be an eyesore. If you’re in a rented property make sure that your bar is not going to cause issues with your landlord.
Best wall mounted pull up bar: ROGUE PULL-UP SYSTEMS - P3 & P4
A free-standing home pull up bar will take up more space and cost more money, but it will also offer you more exercise options. You aren’t restricted by the surrounding door as when using a door way chin up bar or by the wall behind you as in wall mounted pull ups.
Free standing units also have a higher weight rating than any of the other types of pull up bar variations.
Many free standing pull up bars will come with a dip station and push up bars to extend you workout options even further. To get a more detailed idea of all products available check out our free standing pull up bar reviews article here.
A ceiling mounted pull up bar is mounted to the studs in your ceiling.
They may attach to an exposed stud, typically in your garage, or bolt directly to the stud behind the ceiling. To see a complete picture of the wall and celing mounted pull up bars that are currently available read our wall mounted pull up bar reviews.
Taking your pull ups outdoors is a viable option with a number of companies offering outdoor equipment that consists of two posts and a pull up bar.
The bar is typically set about five feet wide between the posts. Often the pull up bar will come as a set with a pair of parallel dipping bars.
They usually even throw in the post crete. Most handymen will be able to knock the unit up in an afternoon. Read our outdoor pull up bar reviews in this article.
The Home-Made Pull Up Bar
Making you own pull up bar is not too demanding a job for most home handymen. You should be able to put one together for about half of what it costs to buy a brand new one. Four 36 inch galvanised pipes and fittings and a 48 inch pipe cross bar along with two 72 inch vertical supports will do the job nicely. There are a ton of how to videos on youtube to guide you through the process. Here’s one that I found particularly useful . . .
Sometimes you’ll be able to purchase other pieces of home gym equipment that will have a built in pull up bar station. A decent power rack will provide a pull up option, as will some versions of the squat stand (check out our Power Rack VS Squat Stand comparison here)
The best pull up station will allow for stability as well as freedom of movement to perform movements above the height of the bar, such as muscle ups.
With a little bit of creative thinking, you should be able to come up with ways to get in your pull up workout even if you don’t have access to any of the options mentioned above. Although not ideal, they will get you through when you don’t have your regular apparatus on hand. Here are four suggestions:
- Pull Ups on a Door: You’ll need to find a sturdy door to hang from. Place a towel over the top edge of the door to prevent hand pain. You should also wedge the door to keep it steady and to avoid damaging the hinges. Now place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and begin.
- Pull Ups on Two Doors: If you have two doors in close proximity you may be able to wedge both open so that you can place a hand on each door and perform your pull ups between them. This allows for freedom of movement of the body as you go up and down.
- Stairs: You can hang off the bottom of a set of stairs, either indoors or out to perform pull ups. Again you’ll want to use either a towel or gloves to protect your hands.
- Using a clothesline support or an exposed beam in you basement or attic.
When not to use
Door Way Pull Up Bars are great for the majority of people, providing a reliable alternative to more expensive options. Like with most things, however, there are exceptions. The following are situations when a door way pull up bar may NOT be the solution you require.
- You have non standard door ways. The standard width for interior doors is 34 inches. Most pull up bars will be designed to fit into that space. Of course, some bars, such as those with telescopic ends, will extend to fit a wider door. You should keep in mind, however, that the longer the cross bar, the less strength it will have.
- You want to perform movements like kipping pull ups and muscle ups. Kipping is popular among crossfitters, helping them to complete their reps faster and to do more of them. It involves actively pushing away from the bar as you lower yourself. Try doing this on a door way pull up bar and you’re likely to dislodge the bar from its mounting position above the door frame. There are a number of advanced pull up movements that are impossible on a door way pull up unit because they involve working above the level of the bar. Muscle ups is a prime example. This is a great strength and muscle developer that is best performed on outdoor equipment.
- You have a fussy landlord. Every time you fix your bar between a door way, you run the risk of doing damage to the door surrounds. If your are renting your property and if you have any desire of getting your security deposit back, you may not want to risk it.
In most cases a door way pull up bar will not do any damage to your door surrounds. If you use an over the top leverage mounted bar, you may, over time, end up with some tension marks or even slight scratches around the door trim. This problem can be alleviated by placing a piece of plywood behind the top plate of the bar which makes contact with the door trim. This will spread the load over a wider area, relieving the stress on any one area of the door trim.
If you are using a telescopic pull bar, you will have to screw in the fixing caps for the bar to sit in. This usually requires two or three small screws. It is possible to use the telescopic bar without the fixing plate, but this will compromise the strength of the unit. You should also be aware that a telescopic pull up bar gains its tensile strength by pushing the sides of the door frame away from each other. If you have old or weak doors, this action may, over time, compromise the integrity of the structure.
Pull Up or Chin Up?
A lot of people get confused between pull ups and chin ups. In some parts of the world they actually mean the opposite to what they mean elsewhere. When we refer to the pull up, we’re talking about the movement that involves a pronated grip with your palms facing away from your body. This exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi muscles of the upper back.
Chin Ups involve a supinated grip where the palms are facing toward the body. Chin Ups are generally easier to perform than pull ups. They place more targeted emphasis on the biceps and forearms.
A neutral grip, where the palms face each other, will involve the brachiordialis, which runs into the forearm. Because they hit different muscle groups, you should always be doing both pull ups and chin ups in your workouts.
There was a time in the not too distant past when a pull up bar for door way use was a cheap and nasty imitation of ‘real’ training equipment. And while you can still find junk equipment floating around department stores and bargain basement websites, there now plenty of reputable serious players on the market. We’ve run the gamut of door mounted pull up bar and telescopic bar options to ensure that you get the very best product to suit your workout needs.
In summary our top 3 best home pull up bars are . . .
- Overall Best In Class . . . Iron Gym Extreme Total Upper Body Workout Bar
- Best Value . . . Perfect Fitness Multi Gym Pull Up Bar
- Most Affordable . . . Sunny Health and Fitness Chin Up Bar
You know that pull ups (not to mention chin ups) are a must have exercise in your workout program. Now you know where to go to get the best door way pull up bar to allow you to perform them right in the comfort of your own home. Use that knowledge to become a pull up pro!