- What is a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar?
- Why want a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar?
- What to look for in your Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
- The 10 Best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
- Alternatives to a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
- Calisthenics Parks: A Free Alternative
- Conclusion: The Best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar & Why
- Frequently Asked Questions About Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is a versatile tool in your collection of Calisthenics home gym equipment. It gives you a lot of stability other, more portable bars simply can’t while at the same time not requiring any permanent fixture points. At the same time, the Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is much more easily transported than anything you bolt down against the ceiling or walls and many can be disassembled into portable enough parts so that you can take it everywhere. A steadfast companion for mainstay Calisthenics exercises like the Pull-Up, Muscle-Up, Front and Back Lever, and many more, it will serve you well. We’ll explore the 10 best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars of 2023 and what they can mean for you.
What is a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar?
A Pull-Up Bar consists at a minimum of a horizontal top bar that is suspended overhead and from which you conduct Calisthenics exercise. For the Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar (also called a Standalone Pull-Up Bar) this means that the horizontal top bar is supported only by the construction of the Pull-Up Bar itself. It is not bolted or otherwise fixed to any surface. You build the contraption up and it will stand on its own, while providing a stable enough platform so that you can do any exercise. This means that Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars tend to be larger than other types of Pull-Up Bars on their own; they need to reach a sufficient height to suspend you off the floor completely, and be wide enough to provide for enough stability.
Many Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars come fitted with additional handles or grips apart from the horizontal top bar. Technically, that makes them Power Towers, a subset of Pull-Up Bars that combine other exercises like Push-Ups and Dips into one compact gym.
Why want a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar?
Calisthenics is very light on equipment; however, the one major exception is the Pull-Up Bar. Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups and maybe even Muscle-Ups are important foundational exercises in Calisthenics. This also means you need something to pull yourself up on. In comes the Pull-Up Bar. The Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar has several very tentative advantages, which we’ll go through now:
- Stable: they tend to be very stable when placed on a level, hard floor. The wide base is enough to accommodate for even dynamic Calisthenics like Muscle-Ups with front rolls.
- Movement Freedom: this is very often an underrated advantage. You can freely move around the Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar and peek out high above it. You can’t do this with wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted versions. There is no wall, ceiling, doorposts or headers to get in your way.
- No Fixtures: you set it up and it stands on its own. No bolts to drive into walls or ceilings, no requirement to find studs or guess if your walls are concrete or plaster.
- Relatively Transportable: you can pack it up and many fit inside a large bag or box, or the trunk of your car for transport. They’re not as portable as Travel Pull-Up Bars but you don’t have to rip any deadbolts out of the wall either.
- Affordable: these bars tend to be affordable, especially when compared to gym machines or even a set of weight plates, bench and dumbbells.
- Versatile: The number of exercises you can perform on a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is immense, and it will be a permanent addition to your Calisthenics workout.
What to look for in your Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
You’re in the market for a high-quality Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar, how do you recognize a good product from a bad one? How do you sort out the bad apples until you’re left with the best possible choice for you? We’ve built our list of best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars using the following criteria. Taken as a whole, you’ll find the best options for you.
The floor space and dimensions it will take up will be a key consideration. This goes in two directions. Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars tend to take up more floor area, but at the same time do offer a wide variety of exercise possibilities normally associated with bulkier gym equipment. Nevertheless, take the place where you want it placed into consideration and take measurements. While you’re at it, check if the floor is level too. Standalone Pull-Up Bars like a hard and level floor with a foot of free area all around it. That way, you can move freely around the bar and do your exercises without fear of interfacing (e.g., bumping into) with any wall or other furniture in the room or area.
Bar Height, Ceiling Height & Your Height
As for height, three measurements are important. Your own height and the height of the bar should mean that you cannot reach the top bar with your feet still on the floor. You need to be able to do a dead hang with your feet off the floor. If you are exceptionally tall, this could be an issue with some Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars. Keep in mind that “your height” here means with your arms held straight up.
Another height concern might be the ceiling of the room it will stand in. A very low ceiling might not fit a very high Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar. In a similar light, if it does fit but does not allow for much head clearance, then exercises like the Muscle-Up are not possible. If you have very high ceilings, these concerns are a non-factor.
Quality and Fit & Finish
The quality of the product will determine whether it will last. A good Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar made of quality materials and with the proper fit and finish should last you years if not decades. A steel construction with a neat powder coating to ward erosion is the minimum requirement. Since these bars are relatively simple in design, it’s these fundamentals where the manufacturer should pay attention too.
There aren’t many brands in Calisthenics, except for the omni-present Chinese knockoffs. This doesn’t mean that those are inherently bad, but if you’re looking for a brand then really Gravity Fitness shines in this category. For the more obscure brands, you’ll have to rely on customer reviews and expert opinions like those of ours to separate the wheat from the chaff. On our list of best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars, you’ll find both brand and off-brand products. We’ve subjected them all to the same, stringy review criteria.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Typically, Pull-Up Bars have a high enough weight capacity for any normal Calisthenics user. However, if you are planning on doing Weighted Calisthenics, you should take that extra weight into account. Typically, you add around 10% of your total bodyweight as extra weight for Weighted Calisthenics.
Versatility (Top Bar and More)
A horizontal top bar is the minimum requirement and for many, that’s all they need from their Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar. You’d be surprised at the level of versatility you can get just from having that stable bar. With the addition of Resistance Bands to your bar, you can do banded exercise or use them for assisted exercise instead. A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is also a good mounting point for Gymnastic Rings. That said, some Standalone and Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars incorporate other options too, like a Dip Station, L-Sit station, Push-Up Bars or even double as a weightlifting rack.
The Price, of course
We want to keep Calisthenics accessible for everyone. Your budget should not impede you from doing Calisthenics and it won’t. If you look hard enough with the above criteria in mind, you can find a solution for any budget including if that’s 0 dollars. Of course, with a higher budget you can expect a higher quality product and/or more versatility. We must pay for the nice things in life, after all. Even so, more expensive does not always equate to a better product. We’ve tested and reviewed enough Calisthenics equipment now to know this to be true.
On our list below, you’ll find options for all budgets and they are all good products that will serve your Calisthenics needs for years to come. If you can’t afford to spend anything, we have options for you too.
The 10 Best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
We’ve investigated many Standalone and Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars on journey to find the best products for the best price possible. Our selection of best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars combines many or all the above criteria. Through trial and error, we’ve come to a collection of Pull-Up Bars that are high-quality and worth their value in dollars.
#1 Gravity Fitness (GF) Portable Bodyweight & Pull-Up Rack
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 45.7” x 75.6” (full) / 47.2” (compact)
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 45.7” x 47.2”
- Weight Capacity: 242lbs (conservative max user weight)
- Full Gravity Fitness Pull-Up Bar Review
- Our YouTube Video Review
As far as quality goes, Gravity Fitness absolutely rules supreme on our list. We were so impressed with this Pull-Up Rack, that we gave it its own video review (see below). The construction material is high-gauge tubular steel and setup in such a way to provide maximum strength but also to be unintrusive on your exercise. The Gravity Fitness Pull-Up Bar is minimalist but can be easily assembled in different ways to provide you with either a high Pull-Up bar, or a low bar. In both the low and high configuration, the Gravity Fitness stood very stable, even during dynamic exercises or using additions like Gymnastic Rings or Resistance Bands. Fit and finish are almost impeccable. The steel is powder coated in a scratch-resistant layer that will make sure this bar is the only Pull-Up bar you’ll be getting for many years to come.
#2 KHANH TRINH Pull-Up Bar Stand
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 39.4” x 76.7” to 100.4”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 51.7” x adjustable spread
- Weight Capacity: 485lbs
The KAHN TRING Pull-Up Stand features an A-frame structure, which effectively transfers any lateral movement into a diagonal one and into the ground. This makes the KAHN TRIHN very stable and wobble free through the clever use of algebra in its design. With an easy to adjust distance-setting-bar, you can setup the KHANH TRINH at multiple heights, from as tall as 100.4” to as low as 76.7”. This makes this Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar very well suited for taller individuals of 6’5”. The Pull-Up Stand does prove very stable and is up to the task of even Weighted Calisthenics. Fit and finish is overall very good and it comes equipped with quality foam handles. These feel good to the touch and opt for durability more than providing excess cushion.
#3 CAP Barbell Power Rack
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 46” x 85”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 46” x 50”
- Weight Capacity: 500lbs
This CAP Barbell Power Rack combines a horizontal top bar with a barbell rack. The sturdy frame of tubular steel is wobble free for all regular Calisthenics exercises, as well as doing weightlifting. With this dual purpose in mind, it does a good job remaining stable during exercises that require explosive movements like dynamic Calisthenics and Muscle-Ups. Its wide base provides ample of surface area to distribute that momentum. The rack itself is also sturdy and dependable, with two adjustable barbell hangs. Our only concern with this design from a Calisthenics point of view is that the hangs, hooks essentially, do pose an injury risk while you’re using the top bar. Fit and finish is otherwise excellent.
#4 Body Champ Power Rack
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 37” x 82”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 43” x 45.5”
- Weight Capacity: 300lbs
The Body Champ Power Rack is built to last, with every joint double or even quadruple secured with high-gauge bolts. This Rack pairs very well with weightlifting, as it features multiple adjustable pegs to hang your barbells on. The stability of the frame is improved with two curving struts and a floor strut to eliminate any significant wobble. You can additionally anchor the Body Champ to the floor, should you want that extra rigidity. Fit and finish is very high with a nice, even coating on all parts. The top bar is knurled to provide for extra grip but remains quite fine so it doesn’t irritate your hands. This is a weight rack primarily, and we recommend this for basic Pull-Ups and Muscle-Ups alongside a weightlifting regimen.
#5 Bongkim Power Tower
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 44” x 75.5” to 87.4”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 49” x 50.4”
- Weight Capacity: 330lbs
This adjustable Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is strong and robust and will remain stable throughout all your Calisthenics exercise. With a free and open top bar of a royal 44 inches, you have ample of lateral movement room too. The bar feels of just the right diameter, although it is a bit on the smooth side. Using a tiny bit of Liquid Chalk or wearing Calisthenics Gloves may be required for the more intense exercises. Adjusting the height is very easy whereas the initial assembly takes some time. Once it stands though, it stands very stiff and firm, ready for any exercise. Fit and finish a good.
#6 Sportroyals Power Tower Pull-Up Bar with Dip Station
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 41.2” x 64.5” to 88.2”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 41.2” x 39.7”
- Weight Capacity: 330lbs
- Read the Full Sportsroyals Power Tower Review
The Sportsroyals Power Tower (so more versatile than only a Free-Standing Pull-Up bar) is a multifunctional station for pull-ups, dips, leg raises and push-ups. It has a robust and rigid design to make it more stable during a variety of Calisthenics exercise. It comes equipped not only with a comfortable top bar, but also Dip Bars, Push-Up Bars and an L-Sit station for your L-Sits and leg raises. The padded areas are very comfortable, including the backrest. The padded arm rests are tilted slightly toward you for optimal support during your leg raises. The top bar also comes with angled ends for those wide-armed Pull-Ups. The whole design is very strong, resulting also in a substantial assembly time. But when it stands, it stands like a rock. Overall fit and finish are excellent, a reason why it ended up in 1st place in our best Power Tower review.
#7 RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 43” x 58.5” to 89”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 26.4” x 35.4”
- Weight Capacity: 330lbs
Simple and rugged, the RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower gives you all the Pull-Up options you need and more. It comes with a wide Pull-Up Bar that features angled ends, Push-Up Bars, a Dip Station and an L-Sit station. Interestingly, the middle horizontal strut to complete the h-frame doubles as an additional bar meant for leg stretching before or after the exercise. You could also use it for Australian Pull-Ups, however a much thicker horizontal strut rests beneath it, a hazard to your back should your grip slip. This is not recommended. RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Power Tower is very similar in design to the Sportsroyals Power Tower. Overall fit and and finish of the Sportsroyals is better with a higher attention to detail.
#8 Stamina Products Outdoor Fitness Power Tower
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 50” x 81”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 50” x 49”
- Weight Capacity: 300lbs
If you’re looking for a semi-permanent outdoor Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar, Stamina Products has a great alternative for you. This Power Tower is not only very stable and sturdy, it’s specifically engineered for outdoor use. All the surfaces are rounded and coated with a very smooth, scratch-resistance powder coating which is also resistant to sunlight. This helps to prevent water from pooling anywhere on the structure and the coating from degrading over time. It stands very strong and can easily take all your Calisthenics exercises, including dynamic and explosive workouts. The trade-off is that it has to be more durable and sacrifice a little comfort. The surfaces are smooth and hard, and will most likely require either Liquid Chalk or Calisthenics Gloves for longer workout sessions. That said, with proper care and placement, the Stamina Products Power Tower holds up very well in year-round outdoor conditions.
#9 Weider Power Tower
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 43.3” x 86.6”
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 41” x 57″
- Weight Capacity: 300lbs
The Power Tower by Weider creeps in on place 9 on our list Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars thanks to it great looking fit and finish. The round tubes and rounded rubber caps really go well together to give you an esthetically pleasing Power Tower that almost completely eliminates any sharp edges or acute corners from its design. The structure is strong enough with a weight capacity of 300lbs, but is somewhat held back compared to the other bars on this list because it relies on the bolts a lot to do the main carrying on its Dip Station. The top bar though feels very solid and this tower stands very stable and firm. The foam grips provide just the right amount of cushion for your hands.
#10 CAP Barbell Training Station
- Bar Dimension (w x h): 45” x 85
- Floor Dimensions (w x l): 45” x 38”
- Weight Capacity: 500lbs
Last and admittedly, least on our list of best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars, comes the CAP Barbell Training Station. Where the CAP Power Rack comes in on a respectable 3rd place, a couple of unfortunate design errors hold the CAP Barbell Training Station back from reaching higher than 10th place. That is despite its excellent build-quality and sleek fit and finish. The frame stands very stable and in that regard is suitable for all your Calisthenics needs. It comes with two top handles, a Dip Station, a leg-raise station and Push-Up Bars. The fit and finish on all of these is quite good. Where it comes apart slightly is the choice of handle placement. The top bar isn’t a continual bar, rather two handles. This limits your options but worse, they are positioned over the Dip Station and in such a way that it is very easy to bump into the other protrusions very easily. The Push-Up Bars similarly stick out inward, which makes for a constant tripping and bumping hazard.
Alternatives to a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar
You’re looking for a Pull-Up Bar, but Free-Standing just isn’t the right fit for you? Then these are the best alternatives. We’ve added links to in-depth articles for each type of Pull-Up Bar or alternative, explaining everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
- Wall-mounted Pull-Up Bar
- Ceiling-mounted Pull-up Bar
- Door Pull-Up Bar
- Travel Pull-Up Bar
- Power Tower
- Gymnastic Rings
Calisthenics Parks: A Free Alternative
Short on money? Chances are, there is a Calisthenics Park near you. These parks house all the Calisthenics equipment you need for your Calisthenics exercise. They are free to use and you can typically find a kind and receptive community congregating there regularly. These parks are a great option for people who can’t afford their own equipment yet, and if you’re just looking for the social aspect of Calisthenics.
Conclusion: The Best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar & Why
In our minds, simplicity wins out over trying to combine too many elements into one package when it comes to a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar. You can do this. Power Towers do this too. But you’ll always be stuck with major compromises between quality, ergonomics and versatility. As you advance as a Calisthenics practitioner, you’ll soon find that simple, robust and durable are the best selling-points for any Calisthenics equipment and the Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is no exception.
For its rugged design, comfort and near perfect fit and finish, the Gravity Fitness Portable Bodyweight & Pull-Up Rack is our first recommendation. It is the best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar to get, if you’re just in the market for Calisthenics. Similarly, the surprising KHANH TRINH Pull-Up Bar Stand is a very good alternative. If you’re doing weightlifting and want to combine a rack with a Pull-Up bar, then you can’t go wrong with the rugged and highly durable CAP Barbell Power Rack. With all that said, as Calisthenics practitioners who desire nothing but the highest quality and great versatility, we recommend the Gravity Fitness Portable Bodyweight & Pull-Up Rack most.
Frequently Asked Questions About Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars
Here are a few frequently asked questions floating around the topic of Free-Standing Pull-Up Bars.
What is a Free Standing Pull-Up Bar?
A free standing pull-up bar is an excellent choice if you’re not satisfied with a wall-mounted pull-up bar or other pull-up stations. With free standing pull-up bars there is no limit to the space you have to take into consideration. You can train inside and outside whenever you want. Free standing pull-up bars are usually very versatile since you can adjust them in height for all kinds of exercises. The only downside can be their stability in comparison with a wall-mounted pull-up bar.
Which Exercises are Safe on a Free Standing Pull-up Bar?
Free standing pull-up bars may be less stable than wall-mounted ones bu they are still stable enough for exercising. Their shape makes sure the centre of gravity is right for you. That way, they provide the stability you need for your pull-ups, push-ups, dips, leg raises, etc. And you can even perform your front/back levers on it. You can hang rings on some of them to perform low exercises such as a chest fly. But it gets tricky with stuff like a 360 muscle up. When you have a solid ground that the bar can stand on and you begin from a dead hang it should be possible. But if you jump in on it the force could swipe you over. For those kind of tricks, a wall-mounted pull-bar provides more safety. In conclusion, you can safely perform about 80% of all exercises on a free-standing bar. Just be careful with explosive tricks.
How Do I Install a Free Standing pull-up Bar?
Free standing pull-up bars are easy to install. They come with instructions, of course. They are basically steel pipes that are put over each other and locked with the locks that come with them. So no worries. The construction will not collapse while you are training.
Where Can I Use a Free Standing Pull-Up Bar?
You can use them anywhere you want, as long as you have a square of 120 cm by 120 cm. If you’re inside and a low ceiling, bars are often adjustable. In Summer, you can easily train in your garden or a parc nearby. And in Winter, you set it up somewhere in your house.
Are standing pull up bars good?
A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar is a good choice if you want a durable and reliable Pull-Up Bar without the need of fixing it to some other surface. Common concerns with these Pull-Up Bars are the lack of rigidity which for instance a bar fixed to a wall would bring. Although this is true, a strong frame and a wide footing (floor area) ensure that a Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar won't topple while you're using it.
What is the best free standing pull up bar?
The Gravity Fitness Portable Bodyweight & Pull-Up Rack is the best Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar for its strong construction, perfect fit and finish and excellent versatility in use. Gravity Fitness makes excellent products for a very affordable price and this is no exception.
Jari Dohmen has a B.A. in physiotherapy and has been involved with Calisthenics since 2013. Around the time Calisthenics began to proliferate in the Netherlands, he was already keenly interested in both the physiotherapeutic and general lifestyle benefits Calisthenics possesses. Jari started Calisthenics Worldwide (CWW) in 2016, after numerous internet searches for Calisthenics topics that sparked his interest yielded barely any information. Today, CWW is one of the largest and most widely recognized Calisthenics blogs in the world. Become part of the Calisthenics community by commenting on this article.