Best Outdoor Pull Up Bar
updated January 1, 2019
Nothing beats working out in the great outdoors. The fresh air, the scenery and the open spaces just can’t be beaten. When it comes to your home work out, performing your pull ups on an outdoor pull up bar has a lot to recommend it. Performing the full range of possibilities on a pull up bar requires space, something that is of limited supply in most homes. You need plenty of head clearance to perform advanced movements above the level of the bar. You also need to move your body around the bar, without the constrictions of walls and ceilings. An outdoor pull up bar will provide unrestricted movements through all planes of motion while allowing you to breath in the beauty of nature. In addition, an outdoor pull up station makes an interesting and attractive landscaping piece.
Outdoor pull up bars have become increasingly popular with the recent explosion in popularity of CrossFit. They are available to be purchased in a number of options, depending on your budget and preference, as follows . . .
- Bar only - you purchase a straight pull bar with bolt holes and bolts. You will need to provide your own posts and concrete and you will have to place them in the ground. This is the least expensive option.
- Bar and posts - you purchase the bar along with wooden posts (usually oak or pine). Some suppliers will even provide concrete. You then install the unit in your backyard. Some models come with metal as opposed to wooden posts.
- Full Install - the manufacturer will provide all of the equipment ( bar, posts, concrete) and come to your property and install the unit for you. Most expensive option.
- Portable Free Standing Bar - you may choose to purchase a portable free standing bar. The best ones simply connect together with no bolts or fasteners to give you an instant pull up tower that you can carry with you. clearly, these units are not as rigid as a post mounted unit.
What to Look For In An Outdoor Pull Up Bar
- Maximum Weight capacity - Pull Up bars are designed to handle a heavy load. Once you become proficient with your body weight, you should start strapping extra resistance to your body. to ensure that your outdoor pull up bar can handle that requirement, it should have a minimum capacity of 400 pounds.
- Length of bar - Make sure that the bar is sufficiently long to allow you to movements beyond the basic pull up or chin up. A lot of core movements require you to move your legs in a windmill or an arc. You don’t want your legs to be sashing into the posts, so ensure that the par length can accommodate your current and future needs (you know, when you get fitter and stronger!).
- Type of timber - If the posts are included in the cost, make sure that the timber is going to last the distance - and that it will look good in your environment. Make sure that your posts are treated and free of any cracks or imperfections. Pine or oak posts will prove to be the sturdiest. The dimensions of your posts should be 4” x 4” x 10 feet. You should bury the post 36 inches into the ground, giving you a clearance of about 7 foot, 2 inches from the ground to the bar.
- Type of ground surface - You will need a flat ground surface with a solid packed soil base to mount your posts into.
Installing an Outdoor Pull Up Bar
You don’t have to be home handyman wizard to complete the installation of your outdoor pull up bar. So long as you can follow some simple instructions, can dig a couple holes and handle a drill, you’ll be good to go.There are a number of outdoor pull up bar installation guides online. Here is one of the clearest, most useful ones we found . . .
Things to Consider
- Versatility - A Pull Up Bar outdoors can be so much more than just a pull up bar, so long as you do a proper job at the outset. One way you can ramp up the usage of the unit is to set bars at different levels. Let’s say you can currently do 4 or 5 pull ups on a normal height bar. If you set a second bar at a height you can reach from the ground, you’ll also be able to perform negative pull ups and jump pulls. This will allow you to get stronger a whole lot quicker.
- Add a set of parallel bars - Pull ups primarily work the back and biceps. to get complete development, you can target the chest and triceps with a set of parallel bars. These will allow you to perform dips and push ups, plus a whole host of auxiliary movements.
- Get the kid’s involved - By extending your pull up bar outdoors, you can provide an exercise and play area for your children. Add a low bar and a swing bar and you’ve got your own complete outdoor workout / playground.
Should I Build My Own Pull Up Bar Outdoors?
Of course, you could decide to build your own outdoor pull up bar completely from scratch. Doing so would undoubtedly save you some dollars. Let’s consider the pros and cons of this option.
- Less expensive.
- You will have a sense of achievement at having done it yourself.
- You can customise the bar your specific requirements.
- You need to ensure that the bar you select is up to the job and of the proper dimensions (not always easy).
- You must find reliable post timber.
- There exists the danger that the bar and posts may not align correctly, giving you an inferior level of stability.
There are a number of videos on the internet that give you step by step instructions on building your own outdoor pull up bar. Here is one that we found particularly useful.
The guys at Rogue Fitness know how to construct outdoor training gear; they do it for CrossFit international competition! Their Castro Rig is billed as the ultimate outdoor gym and, not surprisingly, it has a pretty impressive pull up unit on it. It actually provides two pull up bars; a fat one and a skinny one to allow you train your forearms while you’re hitting your lats and biceps.
The Castro Rig will also allow you to perform squats, rope climbs, ring work, and wall balls. The durable powder coat finish is completely weather resistant, meaning that you can leave it outdoors all year long. If you do need to pack it up, assembly and disassembly takes not more than three minutes. The four uprights stand 12 feet high with 70” and 40” distances between them. This unit is surprisingly stable, allowing you to train in total confidence that your gear is up to the job.
The Catsro Rig by Rogue Fitness is available on the Rogue website.
The free standing all in one pull up bar by Trapeze is a great choice for the person who needs to slid, reliable pull station but doesn’t want to permanently affix it the landscape of their property. This unit uses tubular piping which slots rather than bolts, making it a very quick process to assemble and disassemble the unit. You can, in fact, put it together in less than a minute.
The unit comes with a sturdy bag to keep all the pieces together. Everything is made of polished aluminum. The height adjustable upright bars allow you to use the unit for dips as well as push ups. The footprint of this unit is 45” by 42”, with the overall height being 92” high. You can adjust from 92” all the way down to 77” in 3 inch increments.
This elite pull up bar by Trapeze Rigging has a heavier base than their standard unit, making it a lot more stable. The overall weight of the unit is 36 pounds, compared to 22 pounds for their standard unit.
Clearly, anything that you can assemble by parts is going to move a little when you’re pulling on it. The elite bar will give you a slight motion but you will never feel unsafe on it.
Installing a pull up bar from Outdoor Fitness will give you a park grade pull up apparatus in you backyard. These are the standard sized bars that are used in military training facilities. You can either purchase a single stand alone unit or a horizontal model which features two bars side by side, with one a little lower than the other. Both options come unassembled. You’ll need to purchase your own concrete mix and install the unit yourself. The assembly and installation instructions, however, are quite comprehensive. The unit carries a 2 year warranty.
The Pull Up / Horizontal Bar by Outdoor Fitness is available from Outdoor Fitness for $650.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.