How to Make a Homemade Chin Up Bar for Under $5
If there is one home workout equipment essential, it’s the chin up/pullup bar.
You can buy a door-frame mounted pullup bar for around $30. But in this economy, what if you don’t even want to spend THAT much?
[Here's a reminder that summer is just around the corner. photo: daily sunny]
Let’s take a look at one way to make your own homemade pullup bar for DIRT cheap. You will probably find that most of the things you’ll need for this quick project are lying around your garage. And even if they aren’t, this setup won’t run you more than $5.
Why Bodyweight Exercises?
Pullups are one of the three essential exercises in the core bodyweight total body workout trifecta: pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats.
Just doing these three exercises can get you into amazing shape. Herschel Walker, for example, has used a daily routine of simple bodyweight exercises like these (including around 1,000 pushups per day(!)) to achieve NFL stardom and a pro MMA career at age 45!
(Here is Mr. Walker in his pro MMA debut:)
DIY Pullup Bar – What You Need
So let’s get started. Here is what you’ll need:
- Around 10 feet of polypropylene trucker’s rope. (20 cents per foot)
- 1 foot of 1″ diameter white pvc pipe (20 cents per foot)
- A drill with a 1/8″ and 1/2″ drill bit (if you don’t have a 1/2″ bit, don’t worry, just find the closest size you can)
- *(optional)* A tie down strap
10 feet of line is a ballpark estimate. You might need more or less depending on how high you want your chin up bar, and how high the object you are tying to is. In my case, 10 feet of line is more than enough for tying up to a 10 foot high beam.
Cut Pipe, Drill Holes
Go to your local hardware store and see if you can find a foot or so of pvc pipe. Ideally, try to get some grey pvc – this is schedule 80 pipe and has a thicker wall than the standard white pvc pipe.
I had around a foot of white pipe laying around, so I used that.
I marked off two points around 1/2″ in from each end, centered on the pipe’s printed text to keep the holes aligned:
I then drilled the holes – first with a smaller 1/8″ bit, then with a bigger bit. The hole still wasn’t big enough for the rope, so I rotated the drill while drilling the hole, expanding the hole with the sides of the drill bit:
Cut Rope to Length
Cut around 10 feet of the polypropylene trucker’s line. Tape the cut point with some masking tape, cut it, and then melt the ends with a lighter to keep the rope from unraveling.
Thread Rope Through Handle
First, thread the rope through the pipe, passing in one hole and out the other, as shown below:
Threading the rope through these holes prevents the pipe from rotating while you are gripping it, making it much easier to hang onto.
Now we need to tie the handle loop. We will use the ever-useful bowline knot, and add a bit of extra security by making it a double-bowline. Here’s how to tie the double bowline knot:
Step 1: First, take the free end of the rope, then pass it over and tuck it underneath the standing part, as shown below:
Step 2: Once the free end is tucked under the rope’s standing part, pull the free end to form a small loop in the standing part:
Step 3: You now will have the free end passing through a small loop in the standing part, see below:
Step 4: Now we will repeat steps 1-3, forming another loop for our double bowline. First, pass the free end over the standing part:
Step 5: As in steps 1-2, continue to pass the free end over and tuck it under the standing end, to form another loop, as shown below:
Step 6: You should now have the free end passing through two identical loops in the standing part. Below is a closeup. Make sure that your loops look just like these:
Step 7: Now pass the free end behind the standing end:
Step 8: Now the free end travels through the two loops, following the arrow as shown below:
Step 9: Tuck the free end through the loops:
Step 10: Here is what the knot should look like at this point:
Step 11: Tighten the knot by pulling on the free end and standing part:
Step 12: Tighten the second loop by pulling the big loop in opposite directions as shown below:
Double Bowline – Done!
(This knot is great. Mariners use it because it handles a load very well and is easy to untie afterwords. Once you get the hang of this knot, you will be surprised how many uses it has. Especially when you combine it with the trucker’s hitch.)
Mount Pullup Bar
Now, all we need to do is mount the pullup bar. Here are a couple options:
Option #1 – Tie it On
With the extra length of rope hanging from the chin up bar, it’s easy to tie your new pullup bar to an branch or beam overhead.
-*-SAFETY NOTE-*- Be safe – test your knot before you trust it – give it a few strong pulls, make sure everything is secure before proceeding.
You can tie a double bowline around the object, following the instructions above, or tie an even quicker knot, two half hitches through the loop:
Option 1a: 1 Loop Attachment
Pass the free end of the rope through the loop as shown below:
Next, follow the arrow – pass the free end around the standing part of the rope as shown, then repeat, following the arrow shown below:
Here’s what the knot should look like when complete:
Give the rope a few pulls to make sure the knot is secure, and you’re ready to roll. This one loop option is great for throwing over some odd objects for your pull up workout:
Option 1b: 2 Loop Attachment
For a more permanent setup (although you will get really quick with these knots as you tie them more and more) you can set up your pullup bar like this:
Just thread the rope through the holes in the bar, and tie a double bowline at each end of the rope, looping over the overhead object as shown above.
Option #2 – Use a Cinch Strap
If you have a cinch strap/tie down strap lying around, mounting your new diy chin up bar can be pretty simple:
Just throw the strap over your overhead object, pass it through the pullup bar’s loop, and cinch it to what ever length you want:
For safety’s sake, tie a couple half hitches through the loop to secure it fully:
That’s it! Now you have yourself a homemade chin up bar.
- This setup is strong, but it’s only as strong as the object you tie to. I weigh 210, and have done weighted pullups with 50 lbs on this setup. But choose your overhead object wisely – a strong 4 x 12 beam is best.
- Polypropylene rope doesn’t do too well when left out in the sun for days on end. So if you plan on using this setup outside, store it indoors when you’re done.
- Also, check your rope before each workout to make sure there isn’t any fraying or other potentially compromising damage.
- Always check your knots before you begin!
For More Homemade Workout Equipment Tutorials:
- Check out my new ebook, Homemade Workout Manifesto, free as an ethical bribe when you ‘like’ my new facebook page.
It’s 62 pages packed with this and other homemade workout equipment tutorials, workouts, and more. MOST of it hasn’t been featured on my blog, and I’m sure you’ll like it.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!