Best Pull Up Bars Review UK

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Working out on a pull up bar is the ultimate body weight exercise. It will build excellent upper body strength and improve your posture, which will in turn reduce risk of injury. Trying a pull up for the first time will show what a tough exercise this is. A great advantage of pull up bars is how simple they are and how easily they can utilised at home. Meaning you have no trouble fitting them into a regular routine. Plus they are very affordable! Check out our review of the best pull up bars available today.

This guide is going to be broken down into several sections:

  • Types of pull up bars with their pros and cons
  • Major benefits of using pull up bars
  • Guide to pull up bar exercise technique and variations
  • Common mistakes to avoid

Pull Up Station Outdoors

Types of pull up bars

Doorway or Door frame pull up bars

This type of pull up bar is known as either a doorway or door frame pull up bar, they are two names for the same thing. The bar attaches to a door frame using leverage and your body weight to create a firm grip. No installation of permanent brackets or supports is required.

These range from a simple bar with one way to grip, to bars that have multiple handles and grip points. A basic bar will provide you with enough to carry out a vast number of pull up variations. Additional handles allow you to carry out variations with a slightly adjusted grip, this makes them slightly more useful but not by much. A simple bar is 90% as good as one of the more complicated types.

Click to see at Amazon UK

The pros of doorway pull up bars are:

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Comparatively cheap
  • No long lasting damage to the home
  • Can be stored easily

The cons of doorway pull up bars are:

  • Not as strong and sturdy as wall mounted bars or pull up stations
  • Unsuitable if door frames are not robust
  • Can only be as high as the door so not may not be suitable for extra tall people

Look out for:

  • Comfortable padded grip
  • Padded or rubber contact points to prevent damage to the door frame
  • Maximum weight that the bar can take

These types of pull up bar are recommended when you do not wish to make the bar a permanent fixture in the home and are unlikely to want to take with you when you travel.

 

Top rated on Amazon UK:

Check the price at Amazon UKPowerbar 2XL for wider doorways up to 35 inches fold flat welded construction with no assembly

This pull up bar is extremely popular as it rises higher from the floor than most other bars. No assembly is required, it arrives ready to use and comes with a 5 year guarantee. It is simple to store and fits easily into a wardrobe or under the bed.

 

Check the price at Amazon UKIREALIST Fitness Multi Gym Upper Body Workout Bar 3-In-1 – Pull-Up / Push-Up / Sit-Up Bar,Home Gym Health & Fitness Exercise Trainer Machine

The reason this pull up bar is popular is that it has handles that allow for pull ups or chins ups to performed at several angles.

 

Telescopic or extendable pull up bars

Telescopic pull up bars are often known as extendable pull up bars, the names are interchangeable. Instead of using the top of the door frame to create leverage these bars sit inside the door frame. They extend in width until the the ends fit tight against each side of the door. The ends sit inside brackets that are attached to either side of the door frame. This makes them fairly easy to install. It is also possible to mount them without the brackets using tension and friction of the bar against the door frame. However this is not as secure as using the brackets.

These pull up bars are dead straight so allow for one type of straight grip for either pull ups or chin ups. This is not a major problem, there are still a huge range of exercises that can be carried out on these bars.

 

Check to see at Amazon UK

The pros of telescopic pull up bars are:

  • Comparatively cheap
  • No long lasting damage to the home
  • Can be stored easily
  • Portable and suitable for use when traveling

The cons of telescopic pull up bars are:

  • Not as strong and sturdy as wall mounted bars or pull up stations
  • Limited to one angle of grip
  • Can only be as high as the door so not may not be suitable for extra tall people

Look out for:

  • Comfortable padded grip
  • Strong bracket mounting system
  • Maximum weight that the bar can take

These bars are recommended when you have very limited storage space or you travel a lot and want to take it with you.

Top rated on Amazon UK:

Check the price at Amazon UKTrend-Welt door-mount pull-up bar, matte black, pull-up-300-kg-black

This is a very popular bar as it does not need brackets to be fitted to hold it in place. The rubber ends are clear, not marking door frames.

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Professional pull-up bar “Powerful” by Sportastisch :: extra reinforced steel and extra wide grip zones

This bar attaches with brackets screwed into the frame making it extra secure. It comes with a training guide and a 3 year guarantee. There is the option to install without brackets should you wish.

 

Wall mounted pull up bar

Exactly what it says on the tin! Wall mounted bars are fixed permanently to the wall with brackets and screws. Installation is therefore more complicated and the bar becomes a permanent fixture. They also take up more space and to some can detract from the look of the home.

Often bigger than door mounted frames they include a greater range of handle types and angles. It is also possible to mount them higher from the floor than those fixed to door frames, plus they allow greater weight limits.

Click to see at Amazon UK

The pros of wall mounted pull up bars are:

  • More robust with higher weight limits
  • Can be mounted higher from floor
  • Greater range of grips and handles

The cons of wall mounted pull up bars are:

  • Not portable
  • Can not be stored out of view
  • More expensive than door frame based bars

Look out for:

  • Make sure the wall you attach to is made of strong enough material
  • Strong bracket mounting syetem
  • Range of grip angles

These bars are recommended if you plan to use regularly and want something as secure and long lasting as possible.

Top rated on Amazon UK:


Mirafit Heavy Duty Black & Silver Multi Grip Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar – 1.2m Wide

This bar is great because it has very sturdy construction and a range of grip angles. It could be mounted outside due to it’s powder coated gloss finish. It also looks great!

GYMCOR COMMERCIAL WALL MOUNTED PULL UP BAR

Any extra heavy duty pull up bar, this is regularly used in commercial gyms. Powder coated for an attractive and rust proof finish. Suitable for those that want a flat straight bar without various angled grips.

Free standing pull up station or tower

Again these are two different names for the same piece of equipment. They are simple, made from a frame with wide floor support which has a bar (or bars) across the top.

These come in a range of bar types. Starting as a simple single bar and graduating up to several bars with handles and pads/ledges for tricep dips. Therefore you can use these for the full range of pull up exercises and grips, making them a very versatile bit of kit.

Check the price at Amazon UK

The pros of free standing pull up stations are:

  • Do not risk any damage to walls or doors
  • Easy to assemble and take down again
  • Suitable for all pull up variations
  • Full range of grips and handles

The cons of free standing pull up stations are:

  • Not as portable as doorway or telescopic bars
  • Take up floor space
  • More expensive than door frame based bars

Look out for:

  • Some are more sturdy than others, check the max body weight advised
  • Ease of assembly – should be indicated on the description along with tools required
  • Size and how much floor space it will take up.

These bars are recommended if you have plenty of space or a designated home gym. They can be easily taken down and put back up if you are moving home, or simply moving it to another room.

Top rated on Amazon UK:

Check the price at Amazon UKMiraFit VKR Multi Function Gym Power Tower – Black or Silver

This is a great option as it includes dip bars as well as a pull up bar at two angles. The max weight it can take is 150kg which is fine for the vast majority of people. There is a back pad for comfort and the frame is made from thick steel and nicely finished. Rubber pads on the base protect the floor from marks and damage.

 


SteelBody STB-98501 Deluxe Pull-Up and Dip Power Tower

They do not come any better built than this tower. As well as pull up bar and dip bar it also includes a leg lift platform and sit up pads. It can take up to 158kg and the frame has a lifetime warranty. The base is made of rubber, so it is slip proof and non-marking. This is suitable for home use or even small commercial gyms.

 

Major benefits of using pull up bars

 

Strength & Endurance

Pull ups work the whole upper body, the arms, shoulders, chest and back are all engaged throughout the motion. This makes training on a pull up bar perfect for building upper body strength and endurance.

Lifting your body weight achieves the same results as lifting weights – or rather pulling weights. Most people will weigh in the range between 50kg and 100kg. If you imagine carrying out weights exercises with that volume you can see that pulling up your own body weight can be significant.

Using the bar at different angles and with different grips (e.g. hands facing you or away from you) will engage muscles slightly differently. This is a good way to train for all round upper body strength.

You would be surprised by the number of people that train regularly, look muscular and strong, but can not perform a single pull up. A major reason for this is that many people focus on performing pushing exercises such as bench presses or military presses. Often as a result of limited knowledge, but sometimes out of vanity, preferring big chest and arms muscles and neglecting the back!

It is no coincidence that the Marines use pull ups to assess upper body strength. It’s a far more relevant and functional exercise than a bench press.

Marine Training

Posture

It is as important to engage your muscles in the right range of motion when doing a pull up as it is to have muscle strength. Many people struggle to carry out a pull up and then make a small change in posture that suddenly opens a huge increase in strength and pull ups become easier. Well it isn’t really strength, it’s just using muscles in the correct range of motion.

Pull ups are a great way to improve posture. Especially if you have a desk based job and your shoulders hunch forward. This exercise can help make your back straighter and open up your chest up, pushing your shoulders back.

 Compact yet sturdy


Think about the amount of space that a weight machine that trains you in a similar way would take up. For example a lat machine as shown to the right. This takes up a lot of floor space as well as being 2 metres tall. A pull up bar can be stored under the bed or at the bottom of a wardrobe. Yet it can still hold your body weight and enable you to get an even better workout than with a machine. It also costs a fraction of the price, so it is easy to invest in one for the home.

 Portable

If you travel a lot and want to be able to work out wherever you are then a pull up bar is a great way to do so. A telescopic bar would fit into a suitcase and wherever you are there is likely to be a door to fix it to! You can mix it in with other body weight exercises such as press ups and sit ups to stay on top of your fitness routine.

Versatile

There are a large range of variations that you can perform on a pull up bar that will engage different upper body muscles in a number of ways. This means this it not a piece of kit that you just use for one exercise and move on to something else. You could do a whole extended routine with just a pull up bar and some imagination.

We will cover these variations in the next section of this article.

Guide to pull up bar exercise technique and variations

 

Not everyone will be able to pull off (pardon the pun) a pull up the first time they try. After all, this is a very demanding exercise. However do not despair, follow this guide to simple training steps that progress to your first pull up.

Technique for a basic pull up

Getting the technique right is as important as muscle strength when it comes to performing pull ups. Always have technique in mind and focus on doing pull ups with correct form. Poor form leads to lesser results and increases risk of injury.

Grip. Stand beneath the bar and grip it with both hands roughly shoulder width apart. Your palms should be facing away from you otherwise you will be doing a chin up. You need to use a standard overhand grip with thumbs wrapped around the bar, meeting your finger tips if possible. If the bar is too high you can stand on a box or a chair to reach.

Hang. A proper pull up starts from a dead hang, (the lowest point where arms are straight). As you are hanging with arms straight, engage your core and keep your shoulders back. It is important to maintain this position with shoulders back and core engaged, plus start from fully lowered position for each repetition. Do not bounce back into to next pull up using momentum.

Pull. Start by squeezing with your hands to ensure a tight grip and engage the muscles in the upper body and core. Imagine pulling the bar down toward you, your elbows come down to your sides as your whole body rises towards the bar. Resist the urge to strain your neck backwards as that could result in pulled muscles . Pull until your chin clears the bar, once the chin is above the bar the upwards phase of the pull up is complete.

Lower yourself. Ease yourself down gently and avoid any temptation to just drop, this will be bad for your joints, and your muscles will not benefit from the downwards part of the exercise. Keep a firm grip on the bar allowing your arms to straighten slowly in a controlled manor. Return to the hanging position and start again!

Well down, you have completed a pull up!

The following video gives a great guide:

Traditional pull up variations

There are a high number of pull up variations you can try out once you have mastered the basic technique. There is a video a little further down that demonstrates 35 of these variations! The most common are:

Wide grip. Hand placement has a big impact on the difficulty of a pull up. Placing the hands wider apart means you rely more on the muscles in the back and get less assistance from the muscles of the arms chest, and shoulders. Wide pull ups will be even more demanding, but in return you will be gaining more strength in your upper back muscles.

KippingThis form of push up uses momentum to assist the upward movement, which is carried out at a much faster pace. This focuses more on power then it does strength and is useful for those that want to develop this component of fitness over strength. It is important not to let yourself drop, ending with your elbows in a locked position.

WeightedOnce you can perform a number of reps with your body weight you can make the pull up more challenging by adding additional weight. A good way to do this is by attaching weights to a belt around your waist. This is a simple progression that you can keep adding to, but make sure you go up in small increments, maybe 2.5kg at a time. Weighted pull up

Chin upFace your palms towards you rather than away. You still want to use a steady up and down motion similar to a pull up. However this exercise engages the back and shoulder muscles in a slightly different way. More markedly it puts greater focus on the biceps, which means for many it is a slightly easier move to perform. It can be used to build up strength when you are finding a pull up just a little too demanding.

 Unusual pull up variations

Trying to list all of the different ways you can use a pull up bar would go on and on, instead take a look at the short video below for some more ideas…

Common mistakes to avoid

 

Make sure door frame is strong enough to take the weight

For the vast majority of doors a persons body weight will not be anywhere near enough to apply the amount of stress to cause damage. Pull up bars, especially door frame bars, are designed to distribute weight across the structure, rather than concentrate it at one point.

However you should always look the door over to make sure before attaching a bar for the first time. If there is a sign of weakness (cracks for example) think twice before setting up the bar. Even when it looks solid be careful when you first use the bar.

Check that wall is made out of strong enough material

When using a wall mounted bar you must check that the wall you plan to fix it to is made of strong enough material to support it. Thick brick walls are the best choice and will provide a nice secure base. Beware walls that are made of breeze block which is not as robust as brick. Never attach to partition walls, which are usually made from wood and plasterboard. Potentially the bar will tear straight off the wall as soon as you hang your body weight on it.

Make sure pull up bar is set up properly

If the bar is not properly fixed on a door frame it could slip off, possibly with you hitting the deck. If a wall mounted bar is not fixed to the wall firmly not only do you risk falling, you may damage the wall as well.

When using a bar for the first time always check to make sure you are happy with how secure it is. Also apply your weight to it gently and with safety in mind. That way if the worst happens you are prepared, and not in for a nasty shock!

 Install somewhere where you will be compelled to use it

It is easy to start with good intentions, it is also easy to let good intentions slip away…

Put your pull up bar somewhere you will always see it, for example leave it on the kitchen door, or fix it to the wall in the garage by the car. Seeing in constantly will make it easier to use it regularly. You could knock out a few pull ups while the kettle boils or you are on your way to the car. Out of sight out of mind, don’t let it gather dust.

Giving up because you can’t do a pull up on day one

Lot’s of people will find it hard to do a pull up on day one. Exercises that easy are nowhere near as satisfying to master, or as impressive to show off.

Do not be put off, follow the guide on exercises to build up to getting strong enough to complete a pull up. Imagine how satisfying it will feel once you are able to complete one. Then how much greater still when you are banging out 5, 10, 20 at a time!

Check with doctor or fitness professional

As with any form of exercise it is always important to be confident that you are fit enough to attempt it. If for any reason you have doubts about learning to do a pull up, check with a fitness or medical professional first.

The best pull up bars – wrapping this all up…

Well done for making it this far! Hopefully this was helpful in outlining not only the benefits of pull up bars and pull up exercises, but also highlighted the best type of pull up bars for your personal circumstances.

p.s. if you enjoyed this article or found it useful, please like or share so others can find it more easily. Thanks!

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