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Pull Up Bar +

Has your pull-up bar gotten a little boring? Spice it up with tubular webbing, PVC pipe, paint sticks, and – wait for it – stickers.

Note: I am not responsible for any damage to your person, your door or your dignity.

Tubular Webbing


But in all seriousness, tubular webbing is awesome stuff. With a few feet of it, you can make a pair of loops for more focused pull/chin-ups. Plus, it’s easier to work back lever progressions on loops or rings than on a bar. Like so.

And if you have leftover webbing and a few dumbbells, it’s easy to fashion a sort of DIY weight belt.

Weighted hat pull-up is pretty cool I guess.

Don’t ask me the knot I used, as I have no idea what it’s called. Go with whatever works for you. Just make sure your knot is secure – and that it’ll come off your waist easily. Don’t want to have to walk around with 50lbs of metal banging into your legs. Trust me, it’s not fun. It’s funny, but not fun at all.

How To

Make two slip knots at opposite sides of the webbing, leaving about 6 inches of space between the knots. Tie off the knots and tighten them up. Then cut off any extra webbing and use a lighter/match the seal the ends with fire so they don’t fray. Do the same thing for the other loop, but make sure the two tightened lengths will be the same.

Estimated cost: I got 30 feet of 1-inch tubular webbing from REI for less than $12, so it’s quite cheap. Ten to twelve feet will definitely be enough for the loops.

PVC Pipe


Thick grip training is pretty neat. The width of the grips makes you really have to squeeze to hang on to the bar, which will focus on the forearms like a laser. A fat laser. It’s a lot harder to do the same number of pull/chin-ups with thick grips than with the usual skinny bar. And since PVC pipe is considerably cheaper than Fat Gripz… Clearly, a better option.

How To

Get a length of PVC pipe that’s wide enough that there’s an inch or so of space between your thumb and middle finger when you wrap your hand around it. Get at least a foot. Then you’re going to take a hacksaw and cut about an inch out of the side, so that it’ll be able to fit onto the pull-up bar. Now cut it in half, making sure you have enough space for a hand on each half. Study the above picture and you’ll see it’s a really easy thing to do. Optional but recommended: Apply liberal amounts of sandpaper and elbow grease for a smoother experience.

Estimated cost: Less than $5

If you’ve willing to invest a little more time and possibly money, you can also make DIY gymnastics rings with PVC pipe.

Back It Up

This is a paint stirrer. A lot of hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s have buckets of these things sitting out in the paint section (because where else would they be?). It’s an easy way to reduce stress on the doorframe, which is almost certainly the number one problem people (especially parents/landlords) have with pull-up bars.

How To

Put a big paint stirrer or a few little ones between the pull-up bar and the doorframe. And then you’re done.

Estimated cost: Free or less than $2

Personalize It

It’s your pull-up bar. You own it. Why not customize it?

With this extremely classy printed-out and taped-on American Parkour logo.

How To

If you can’t figure out how to put on stickers…

Estimated cost: The price of stickers and/or paint.

Other Fun Things

While an over-the-door pull-up bar isn’t as versatile as a freestanding pull-up bar, there’s still lots of things to do with it. I’ve been doing a lot of really low swinging gainers on mine, which is decent practice for doing them in the real world. Lachés also show up quite frequently.

I’ve tried doing muscle-ups, but after the second time my head violently impacted the ceiling, I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. If you have a higher roof they might be okay. Back and front lever progressions are also fun to mix in. Depending on your set-up, you may be able to do some other bar work like swinging front flips or castaways.

If you’re not interested in/able to do those sorts of fancy moves, then there’s always the tried and true upper body strength formula of pull-ups and chin-ups. Only now, you know how to have more fun with them.


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  • V1L

    Thanks for the PVC pipe idea, i’ll have to try that. Another thing that can be hung from the pullup bar are those tubular elastic bands with the handles on each end. I find them very very helpful for warming up the ol’ joints/muscles/tendons before a workout. I’ve seen alot of videos of gymnasts warming up with an elastic type thing before going on rings. If gymnasts are using them, its not a bad idea to incorporate into your pullup bar system.

    as an added bonus, they’re fairly cheap.

  • James

    Could you explain the logic behind the paint stirrer? I would have though if the pullup bar was further away from the door frame, it would have more leverage to rip it off?

    • AlanSchex

      To spread the force exerted by the pull-up bar over a wider area, thus making it less likely to create an indentation in the wall. A good pull-up bar will be structured in such a way that the majority of force is *not* pushing downward.