If you’re among the hardest of the hardcore home gym owners, ceiling-mounted pull-up bars are the accessory that distinguishes the lifestyle lifters from the capricious Cathys. Bolting a pull-up bar into your ceiling permanently sets it apart as a training sanctuary, and differentiates it from all other alcoves in your domicile as the setting for bolstering through bodyweight.
So what are the advantages achieved by using a heavy-duty pull-up bar to brand one of the rooms of your home with a tattoo’s level of permanence? There are three in particular:
- Permanently affixing a pull-up bar to the framework of a room means that it doesn’t have to be erected with ease of removability in mind. Therefore, the materials used in its construction can be more solid, rigid, durable and heavy.
- The permanence of the installation eliminates any yielding of the bar to the weight of the trainee, meaning every muscle fiber exerts itself in the service of vertical movement, without any waste.
- Suspending such a bar from the ceiling eliminates any of the built-in obstacles posed by multi-purpose power towers and door frames. That way, when you’re ready for the ultimate bar exam of fitness, there aren’t any distractions in your periphery to lead you astray.
How Else Do You Evaluate a Ceiling-Mounted Pull-Up Bar?
A few different ways, but namely, by their ease of installation, their stability, their ergonomic configuration and their interactive potential with other fitness devices. After all, if you’re going to go through the trouble of installing a monument to fitness in the middle of your household, you want to ensure that it will be well worth the effort, and provide you with the utmost functionality.
So with that in mind, here are the ceiling-mounted pull-up bars that manage to stand apart without the benefit of a stand holding them aloft…
Best Traditional Pull-Up Bar: The Stud Bar
Its Greatness in a Single Sentence: This is a traditional, no-frills pull-up bar that will provide you with the ultimate stability for your back workout.
Another Major Pro: The Stud Bar is also capable of being mounted on a wall with nearly the same degree of functionality.
The Nitty-Gritty: It’s the epitome of having the raw essence of an industrial-grade piece of steel to hang from.
An Admitted Drawback: It lacks much of the adaptability and many of the options that we’ve grown to expect from a modern pull-up bar.
Final Verdict: If you’re a rugged, old-school training purist, this is the pull-up bar for you. Its stability framing is so long that you’d need a crane to tear it out of your ceiling once it’s installed, which I guess, depending on how you look at it, could also be another admitted drawback.
Best Deluxe Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar: Gronk Fitness Pull-Up Bar
Its Greatness in a Single Sentence: All of the multi-grip functionality you’d ever need out of a pull-up bar, on a meaty piece of metal.
Another Major Pro: The Gronk Fitness Pull-Up Bar has enough confined grooves within it that a suspension trainer like the TRX model can be easily and stably dangled from it, along with assistance bands. This enables you to turn all of the space beneath the bar into a workout space all its own.
The Nitty-Gritty: Your single Gronk pull-up bar will surpass the combined functionality of all of the pull-up bars in many commercial gyms.
An Admitted Drawback: Despite being a multi-purpose, multi-functional pull-up bar, none of the attachments protrude outward and away from the bar. For a bar of this thickness with two distinct sides that’s intended to hang from the middle of a room’s ceiling and not from a wall, there’s no need for both sides to be identical and for no neutral-grip attachments to protrude from at least one side. Because the neutral grip attachment is sandwiched in the center amidst several other bars and compromised by their positioning, it’s not as optimally positioned as you’d prefer neutral-grip handles to be.
Final Verdict: This thing is a monster, and it covers all of the essentials that most people look for when they think of an ideal pull-up bar. It also looks like an entire set of compressed monkey bars, so if you buy it, you’ll look like you have the beginnings of a full playground in your basement.
Best Multi-Purpose, Compact Pull-Up Bar: Ultimate Body Press Pull-Up Bar
Its Greatness in a Single Sentence: Fits all of the critical grip positions of a pull-up bar into less than two feet of ceiling space.
Another Major Pro: Enables you to vary the width of the supporting risers, meaning you could squeeze the entire pull-up package into a 16-inch stretch of ceiling space if such territory is scarce in your domicile. A second added bonus: It also has cushioned hand grips, for as long as those will last you.
The Nitty-Gritty: If you lack adequate room to bolt a massive pull-up bar into your ceiling, this will provide you with all of the critical multi-grip features you require even if you’re training in a cramped space.
An Admitted Drawback: For tall people, or even short people with larger-than-average wingspans, the relative shortness of the bar may force its users to execute pull-ups with a grip that isn’t as wide as they’d like.
Final Verdict: If you need a ceiling-mounted pull-up bar because your sole focus is to conserve space in three dimensions, then the Ultimate Body Press Pull-Up Bar is ideal for you. You may not get to do everything you want, but you’ll get to do most of it.
Best I-Beam Suspended Pull-Up Bar: Firstlaw Fitness Extreme I-Beam Pull-Up Bar
Its Greatness in a Single Sentence: Turns your unsightly I-beam into a support beam for the performance of every critical pull-up or chin-up movement.
Another Major Pro: Makes proper use of the two-sided nature of the ceiling-suspension model, by having ergonomically viable alternatives to the standard grips, including an inwardly angled wide grip.
The Nitty-Gritty: The I-beam running through your garage or unfinished basement can be transformed into the foundation for your entire home gym while fulfilling all of your pull-up needs. That’s one way of transforming a potential negative into a positive.
An Admitted Drawback: While the Firstlaw Fitness Extreme I-Beam Pull-Up Bar ticks a whole lot of boxes, it won’t do a thing for you unless you have an exposed I-beam in your home somewhere.
Final Verdict: This thing has that Swiss Army knife appeal where you can look at all of the options it offers and feel like you’re working out even when you’re not. Honestly, if a ceiling-mounted pull-up bar has two sides to it, I don’t know why it shouldn’t strive to offer at least this many options.
Best Unstable, Chain-Suspended Pull-Up Bar: XYKSBF Pull-Up Bar
Its Greatness in a Single Sentence: The instability inherent in a bar attached to chains mandates that you’re going to need to execute your pull-ups with perfect form, and your muscles will have to fire like crazy to stabilize your body position.
Another Major Pro: Because the chains fasten themselves to the ceiling with locking carabiner clips, the bar and chains can be easily removed (provided that you have a ladder handy) and replaced with suspension straps or pulley cables. This enables you to build a minimalist yet competent home gym around the arrangement required for installing the XYKSBF.
The Nitty-Gritty: If you wish to leave behind a set of duly impressed fitness friends, there isn’t a whole lot more that you can do beyond hanging a bar from your ceiling by a pair of chains and then controlling your bodyweight while you do pull-ups from it. That’s pretty badass.
An Admitted Drawback: It only has two padded grip positions, neither of which are close-grip options. If you’re going to go so far as to select a specialty bar, some handgrip diversity would seem essential.
Final Verdict: Pull-ups are challenging enough as it is; most people can’t even do 10 in a row, and only a sliver of people can do as many as 20 at a time. If you need to hang yourself from a bar that’s swinging from a chain to get the utmost out of your pull-ups, you’re a special breed my friend. I’d just as soon stick to my boring stationary bars, but I’m not exactly the sort of overachiever this is targeting.