Today, I am going to show you just how easy it is to make a DIY pull up bar!
If this quarantine has resulted in one thing across the country, it has been:
Yes, there certainly has been no shortage of lay-offs, furloughs, depreciated investment accounts, and lots of uncertainty, BUT on the flip side people have gotten creative…
Especially when it comes to working out at home.
After nearly a month and a half of limited at home equipment and empty gym equipment shelves at the store, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my very own pull up bar.
DIY Pull Up Bar in 5 Steps
Creating your own at home pull up bar is a very simple process.
For today, I am going to show you how to install a DIY pull up bar in the rafters of your garage, unfinished basement, or in my case – under your deck.
This pull-up bar can be completed in less than 60 minutes (depending on how close the hardware store is) and in five simple steps:
- Step 1: Get pull-up bar materials
- Step 2: Locate your tools
- Step 3: Drill your holes
- Step 4: Install your 2×4 mounts
- Step 5: Insert bar and end caps
This DIY pull-up bar is for the dude or dudette who wants a ‘Crossfit' or iron gym type feel when they workout.
I used to own one of those door frame pull up bars like the one below and truth be told – it didn't get the job done.
Perhaps this ^^ might be the route you still want to go, if you're looking for something that is movable and not permanent. However, if you're looking for an in-home pull-up bar that gives you:
- Space to move around
- A real metal bar wide enough to add attachments
- Room to swing your legs, do holds, change grips
- An easy homemade pullup bar
- Gives you the “Gym” feel, then I recommend you use these steps.
Other pull-up bar options:
Before I go step by step and teach you how to do take the next hour and make your own DIY pull up bar, I like to add value and provide all the options out there.
This do it yourself option is the cheapest, but if you have a larger budget and less time you have other options like:
- Wall-mounted pull-up bar; with space for overhead moves and leg swings
- Easy Chin up bar – no screws needed
- Pull-up, Push-up, Dip Station
Still ready to do it yourself? Let's dive in:
Step 1: Pull-up bar materials
For this pull-up bar project your supply list at the local Home Depot, hardware store or Lowes is pretty minimal:
- Two 2×4 sections (24 inches each) = $1.18 per
- One 60-inch long, 1-inch black lead pipe ($17.50). You can choose to use a 36 inch or 48-inch bar, however, I wanted a longer bar!
- Two 1″ pipe end caps
- Nails and/or screws
- 1-inch drill bit if you don't have one
I went into Home Depot on a Sunday during the Coronavirus quarantine and grabbed the five items and walked out in under five minutes (with a mask). You can use a galvanized steel pipe or just the black pipe I selected.
The galvanized steel pipe will run you about $10 more. In a bonus step at the end, I share what I did to combat the black paint from getting on your hands.
If you don't have wood screws or nails at home – be sure to grab some for installing the wood blocks to mount your pull-up bar to.
Step 2: Get your tools
Once you have the neccessary materials to make your pull up bar, the next step is getting all your tools ready. The tools I used are as follows:
- Tape measure
- 1-inch drill bit (this makes life way easier)
- Screws for blocks
- Nails with hammer
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Step 3: Drill your holes
The next step in creating your in-home pull-up bar is drilling the holes where you will insert the actual 1-inch bar.
For this you will want to do the following:
- Measure up from the bottom of your 2×4 four inches and mark the center of the board.
- This is important to measure 4 inches from the bottom to give the bottom of the blocks enough “room” to support the bar
- Drill your hole with the one inch drill bit. Move it around some to make it just a bit wider than one inch to insert the bar, but keep it snug enough so the bar doesn't spin around
Once you have made the holes, test them to make sure the bar can fit inside. If so you're good to go to the next step! If you do this step right, you shouldn't experience your bar moving or spinning on you!
Notes: I only had a 3/4″ drill bit so I had to hand saw the hole to make it a little bit bigger for the bar. I would recommend getting a 1-inch drill bit when you go to the store!
Step 4: Install your pull-up bar 2×4 block mounts
As you can see, I made an outdoor DIY pull up bar, so I installed the blocks underneath by deck on the deck rafters.
You can do this in your garage, in your unfinished basement, or under your deck. Additionally, if you decide to do it on a wall, you will need to add an additional 45 degree 2×4 support (which I did not have to do).
Simply measure how far apart you want the blocks based on the length of your pull-up bar.
Mount the bars using screws (ideally) or nails (that is all I had). With nails, you will want to pre-nail them into the blocks so you have less hammering to do when you install the blocks.
Make sure the blocks are flush at the top and aligned with one another. To help test this out with the bar just to be extra careful.
Step 5: Insert lead pull-up bar & caps
Last step – you're almost there – insert the pipe in the holes and screw on the end caps.
This is pretty self explanatory, simply guide the lead pipe through the holes, then screw on the end caps tightly so the bar won't move around or come out of the holes.
You're now ready to crank out some pull-ups!
Bonus: Add tape and attachments
Last but not least, as a bonus – don't forget to make it a true “Prison Gym” by adding tape and attachments!
Tape your bar.
I recommend taping your bar so that you don't slip and you can get a better grip when you crank out your pull-ups, leg lifts, you name it.
One of the reasons I decided to use a 60-inch bar was so that I had room to do pull-ups and also keep my TRX attached to the bar. Just like that you now have a solid outdoor pullup bar to help you stay in shape!
How to do more pull-ups!
Not to brag, but in 10th grade I won the school-wide pullup competition. Now undestand, I was short, compact, a wrestler and only weighed 115 pounds so doing body weight pullups was my thing!
You don't need an outdoor pullup bar, you can use a doorway pullup bar or indoor pullup bar but here are some tips I have used to increase the amount of pull-ups I can do:
- Use a band until you can do correct form bodyweight pull-ups. Simply get a band that relieves some the bodyweight and allows you to do more pull ups. Four times a week do 4 sets of 10.
- Supplement your pull-ups with mixed hand grips like chin ups and neutral grip pull ups
- Do strict form pull ups, fast up, 3 second count on the way down
- Do negative pull ups – focus on coming down as slow as possible
- Complete timed hangs
To recap the process of making this DIY pull up bar, start by:
- Step 1: Going to the store
- Step 2: Grabbing your tools
- Step 3: Drill your holes
- Step 4: Install your 2×4 mounts
- Step 5: Insert bar and end caps
- Bonus: Add tape and attachments
On a scale of 1-10 as far has how easy it is to – make pullup bar – I would rank this project as two. This a very simple project and doesn't require much (if any) true craftsmanship.
Between going to the store, drilling the holes, inserting the blocks and locking in the pull-up bar this entire project took me less than 60 minutes.
Since I created this pull-up bar, I have done over 200 pull-ups in less than a week and so far, it hasn't come down on me and remains super sturdy!
If you have a question, be sure to ask in the comments below and feel free to pin or share on Facebook using the share feature on the right side of the screen! Now go crush your workout!
Frequently asked pull up bar questions
What kind of pipe do you use for a pull up bar?
Galvanized Pipes or Black Pipes are your best bets for making a at home pull up bar. DO NOT use PVC pipe, as it will break. You can find galvanized pipe and black pipe at any hardware or home supply store near you.
How do I make a DIY pull up bar?
There are plenty of options out there to make a DIY pull up bar at your home. Those options include installing a pull up bar in your door frame, mounting it to your ceiling rafters, installing a pull up bar on your wall, and lastly, under your deck. Just be sure to first get you plans, then when you have your plans, get your pull up bar material. From there, you can use YouTube videos to help you install your at home pull up bar.
What size should the pipe be for my pull up bar?
At least 1 and a quarter inch (1 & 1/4″). Ideally, a nice pull up bar size to go with is 1.5 inches. However, as long as the diameter of your pull up bar pipe is 1.25 inches you will be OK.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $300,000 in student loans with his wife in less than five years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, and many more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their newborn son, their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, being outside, traveling, and helping others with their finances! In case you were wondering, Josh uses Personal Capital to track his net worth and his first investment account ever was an Acorns account 😎