When you're looking for a quick exercise to target your upper body, doing pull ups is an ideal choice. Pull ups work your back, shoulders, chest and arms, all in one shot. If you can't perform even one repetition of a "regular" pull up on a standard height bar, one alternative is to use a lower bar that reduces the amount of body weight you must lift. To do a low pull up, sit or hang under the bar and keep some of your body weight on the ground to make the exercise less challenging. Some basic plumbing hardware is all you need to make a low pull up bar at home.
Things You'll Need
- Stud finder
- Measuring tape
- 1-inch circular metal flange
- 1-inch U-shaped metal flange
- 1-inch galvanized pipe of customized length
Choose a doorway that has a sturdy frame, with no loose or broken trim. Doorways are typically framed with wood studs, but if you're not sure use a stud finder along the doorway to locate the studs.
Measure up from the floor about 3.5 feet along each side of the doorway and make a mark with a pencil to designate the location for attaching the metal flanges. If the doorway has a wood divider on each side, make sure to avoid attaching the flanges on the side where the door closes. Measure the width of the doorway, and have a piece of 1-inch galvanized pipe cut to about 1/8 inch shorter than the doorway's width. Most hardware or plumbing supply stores can cut the pipe to size.
Use a drill to secure screws through a 1-inch pipe flange on each side of the doorway, with the bottom edge of each flange touching the pencil mark. One flange should have a complete 1-inch circle into which you can slide the 1-inch pipe; the other flange should be U-shaped so the pipe can slide into the bottom of the "U" but also slide up and off the flange for easy removal.
Slide the pipe into the circular flange on one side of the doorway, and then into the U-shaped flange on the opposite side of the doorway. The pipe should fit snugly between the flanges, with very little horizontal movement. The benefit of this type of pull up bar is that the bar can be removed when it is not being used.
Tips & Warnings
- When you've mastered the low pull up movement and can complete a set of 10 to 15 repetitions with little effort, consider moving the flanges to a higher position along the doorway to increase the difficulty by adding more of your body weight to the movement.
- Test the pull up bar by placing weight on it while still keeping your feet securely on the floor. If the screws move or the doorway makes creaking sounds, the pull up bar may not be safe to use with all of your weight, and you should consider moving it to another doorway.
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