Stamina Doorway Trainer Pro
Door mounted pull up bars dot the landscape of every discount and department store you go to nowadays. At their best, they offer simple installation, minimal damage to wood or walls, and enough versatility to train from several positions and grips. At their worst, they let you down, with limited grip width, a metal that’s hard on your hands, and even screws pulling loose from the wall over time.
Today’s object of our attention is the Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus, by Stamina. Stamina is an American company that makes everything from complicated Pilates reformers to workout DVDs. One thing that especially interests us is their outdoor multi-station. It is similar to what you may see in a public park. Though it’s not the focus of this review, the outdoor equipment shows how different Stamina is from typical low-cost fitness suppliers who focus solely on more basic indoor units.
The Doorway Trainer Plus is for inside, but it is just as tough and versatile as the outdoor trainers. It can provide its own strenuous workout, or act as a bridge between heavier lifting or HIIT sessions. The promise of any pull up bar is that once installed, it is always there and requires very little setup for use.
Installation instructions are clear and explicit, so the bar installs quickly
Stamina added a workout guide to give you some training ideas
Assembly and installation are easy (lots of bolts and screws to tighten)
Steel tubing is sturdy and supports your body weight with no worries
Offers several grip positions, including curved handles, all with foam padding
Can use on the floor to do ab crunches and forward facing dips with a stable foundation
Padding doubles as floor protector when used on floor
Doesn't screw directly into wall, so be careful with form--jerky movements could actually pull the bar down
Won't fit a doorjamb with wooden pieces/trim boards greater than 6 inches or so; maximum width of doorway is 37 inches
Your door has to have sturdy wooden trim--decorative trim won't hold the bar in place
You can also put the whole works on the floor, turn it upside down, and do slanted push-ups. The frame makes it easy, and the padded handles keep your wrists from too much impact. The angled push-up is great for impacting your back and the often-overlooked lower chest muscle group (take a look at Cindy WOD workout routine).
Construction is steel with squeezy foam handgrips for a comfortable ride. You are able to place the bar at any height in the doorway. Unless you are exceptionally tall, that means doing pull-ups and chin-ups without folding your legs. We've seen bench attachments and cut-rate power towers that don't let you do that, so it's a plus.
The images from the product page and review sites show models doing dips on the floor, with the fingertips facing forward and the palms wrapped around the grips. Feet are straight forward with extended legs. It's an effective way to do dips, but it's not a full range of motion because that pesky floor gets in the way.
We're trying to think of a reason, though, why you can't stick the Stamina Doorway Trainer Pro halfway up the doorjamb, then fold your legs, grab the curved front handles, and do more complete dips at a more natural angle. We say you can, and we'd love to hear from you if you try this. We're not sure why most reviews don't mention this alternate dip style, or why the product page doesn't have images of it. As long as the bar is properly installed and you are mindful of form, doing dips this way will be safe and rewarding.
Other Stamina imprints include AeroPilates, Stamina X, and Wirk. Need a treadmill desk? Wirk exists for things like that. Rounding out their stable, Stamina makes a back massager that looks like an abacus, with miniature plastic rollers covered in soft spikes. It's unlike anything we have seen, and surely more accessible than your average foam roller. The company also makes outdoor gear (we mentioned it in the intro), including an all-metal rustproof strider that would be at home in any neighborhood fitness area or public park.
For customer service, Stamina provides a dedicated page with helpful links. There's no clicking through to an external website just to ask a question. User manuals are all free to download, giving you a preview of any product before you make a purchase decision. There is a chat client that pops up when you visit the support page--not automatically every time you open the site, which gets old. All the warranty information, FAQs, and parts documentation are arranged neatly in a sidebar, again on the central customer support page. From what we found, Stamina customer support gets good reviews and their agents will work hard to solve your problem or answer your question.
The Stamina site also offers free downloads that help you with goal setting and learning to use the equipment, whether you buy that equipment from them or from someone else. Many of their DVDs and specialty machines are endorsed by celebrity trainers. Finally, there is a blog that features better writing and more useful information than we see on most fitness retailer sites.
What People Are Saying
Practically the only criticism we could find was that you can't hang upside down and do crunches on the bar. That's because there isn't enough clearance between the bar and the top of the doorframe if you hang it high enough for a full inverted crunch.
The bar's Amazon listing currently has 939 ratings and 112 questions answered by users, with some answers provided by Stamina employees. The average rating was 4 out of 5 stars. One thing we didn't know, that we learned from the Amazon page, is that the bar actually secures over the doorframe. That's how it avoids mounting brackets, and it's what keeps assembly and installation easy. The only caveat, as we briefly mentioned before, is that deviation from form or a weight imbalance can put the bar at risk of coming loose and making you fall. Before you use the Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus, make sure you have read all the precautions and are ready to perform each rep in a deliberate and controlled manner.
But Why A Pull Up Bar?
But if most of your activity is cardio, like walking, running, cycling, or using an elliptical trainer, we encourage you to add in some strength training. Your legs and trunk need to hold you up the whole time you move. If those muscles are underdeveloped, you will tire more easily and be prone to lower back pain. It's important to understand the connections between all the muscles in your body. Your hip flexors, for example, are the only muscles connecting your spine to your lower body. If the hip flexors are tight, or under pressure from having a job where you sit, you will experience restricted movement and perhaps even difficulty sleeping.
That's why strength training is so important. A pull-up bar, of any style, makes it easier to incorporate that training. You may not be able to do a pull-up, and that's okay. With the Stamina Doorway Trainer Plus, you can take it to the floor for crunches or dips. These and other functional moves help you work your way up to a pull-up. The Stamina is inexpensive and hardly takes up any room. When you purchase, Stamina helps you get started with an exercise guide. Having the Doorway Trainer in a hallway or room you use often means increased strength, balance, and energy are always right at your fingertips.