- What is a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar
- Why a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar?
- What to Look for in a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar?
- The 8 Best Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars
- A DIY Ceiling Pull-Up Bar
- Ceiling Pull-Up Bar Alternatives
- How To Mount a Pull-Up Bar to the Ceiling
- Conclusion: What Is the Best Ceiling Mounted Pull-up Bar and for Who?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars
A Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar converts any room in your home into a versatile Calisthenics gym. As part of your Home Gym Equipment, you will need access to some kind of Pull-Up Bar. There are various kinds, and each has its merits like saving room or being very reliable. With a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, you get almost all the advantages that typically come with the wall-mounted or door-mounted variety of Pull-Up Bar. The combination of being economical with its spatial presence and the sturdy, trustworthy mounting on a hard surface being its foremost qualities. Reason for us to examine a number of popular Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars and sort the wheat from the chaff. We’ll also go over why you should consider a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar in the first place.
What is a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, also called either simply Ceiling Pull-Up Bar or alternatively a Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar, is as the name suggests; a Pull-Up Bar affixed to a ceiling. The Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar is semi-permanently joined to the ceiling with heavy duty fixtures. A ceiling is often, but not always, designed to carry immense amounts of weight. This makes the Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar a very safe option. Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars come in various designs, some simpler and others more elaborate.
Many Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars tend to be quite wide, as they often need to be fixed into the joists of a ceiling. Joists are almost always spaced a standard distance apart, in accordance with O.C. building standards. The fixture points of most Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars will adhere to these building standards, making the length between the fixtures a multiple of 16 inches or 24 inches so that they will always sit on the middle of two joists. Another reason that these Pull-Up Bars can be wide is that most ceilings tend to be relatively bare, giving the bar a lot of room.
Why a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar?
Apart from needing a Pull-Up Bar really bad, there are multiple reasons why a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar is the right choice for your situation.
- Ceilings and ceiling joists are designed to take an order of magnitude of the heavy weight they’re already carrying; the floor above it or the roof itself. This makes the load-bearing joists of a ceiling a very safe fixture point for a Pull-Up Bar.
- Most of the space above your head in a typical room is wasted space. You can mount a Pull-Up Bar on a ceiling, most often without diminishing the useful space of the room itself for other activities.
With these two major advantages, a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar really combines the advantages of the Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar (namely strength) and the room-saving properties normally associated with a Door-Mounted Pull-Up Bar. Strong, reliable and in all practicality out of the way when not in use is how we’d typify the advantages of a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar.
What to Look for in a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar?
Since you have to make the Ceiling Pull-Up Bar integral to your room’s construction, a number of thought-points come up when shopping for one. The Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar needs to be suitable for your ceiling, while at once also satisfying your Calisthenics needs. We’ll go over the most pressing points when selecting the best Ceiling Pull-Up Bar for you:
First and foremost, if you cannot reach the Pull-Up Bar, there is no point in buying a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar. If the ceiling is very high up, a different solution might be appropriate. In very tall rooms, the walls are usually very sturdy and possibly even concrete. A Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar would be more appropriate. Similarly, if the ceiling is very low, a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar could pose a bump risk.
Measure the height of your ceiling and compare this to the height of the Ceiling Pull-Up Bar to know how low the bar would hang. If you, or the tallest person in your household, can pass underneath that carefree, you’re set.
Place your Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar at least 1 foot away from any wall, and where it will allow any nearby door to swing completely open without hitting anyone using the Pull-Up Bar at that time. Again, a 1-foot extra clearance is a good rule of thumb. You may not be able to position your Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar perfectly centered in the room, depending on how the ceiling joists are arrayed.
Mount on Ceiling vs Mount on Joists
The difference here is really the construction type of the ceiling and often the building in general. With an all-concrete construction, the Pull-Up Bar can be mounted directly on the ceiling itself and bolted to the concrete. If you have wooded floors and ceilings, the ceiling itself is most likely a façade. The structural integrity comes from the floor joists of the floor above it. In these cases, the Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar MUST absolutely be mounted on the joists and not the ceiling façade itself.
Bars specifically marketed as Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bars have their studs slide over or against individual joists, and are bolted in place through the side of the joist instead.
Ceiling Quality and Material
Most ceilings, be they concrete or made of floor joists, are perfectly capable to taking the weight of any human being. To the material, it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether someone is standing on it on the floor above it, or hanging from it on the floor below it. Concrete ceilings offer the highest amount of strength, but wooden floor joists are equally fine to mount your Ceiling Pull-Up Bar on. A few things to keep in mind:
- Concrete ceilings can have plaster finish on it. Plaster will not provide adequate fixture and is brittle. Depending on how thick this plaster layer is, the bolts might not be driven quite as deep into actual concrete as appearances might suggest. In these cases, it is best to gently drill through the plaster with a larger drill bit and chamfer away just enough of the plaster so the Ceiling Pull-Up Bar makes good contact with the concrete. You can then re-apply new plaster, even on the studs of the bar.
- Mount your Ceiling Pull-Up Bar on two separate but parallel running wooden joists, to spread the weight. This ensures that your Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar is mounted On Center.
In some construction types, the ceiling is “hanging”, forming a blind floor between the first and second floors. The blind floor is not suitable for mounting a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar.
Determining the maximum load your bar can hold is a combination between your ceiling’s construction and what you want from the bar. If you want a bar that can hold 250 lbs. of weight, your ceiling needs to be able to withstand that weight too. Determining the weight capacity of a floor can be difficult and is a job for a structural engineer. It depends on a number of factors: lumber grade and the length of the joist before it is supported by a wall being the foremost criteria. For instance, a 10-foot long 2×8 joist can support in excess of 3000lbs of weight at its center.
Prices ought to range anywhere from around 60 to 200 dollars. Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars aren’t very complex but they do need to be of a high quality. With a quality construction, made of high-grade steel and quality fittings, the cost of a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar mainly sits in the material it is made off. You often get a bit more room to work with, a larger bar or some more options for hand-placement on the more expensive Ceiling Pull-Up Bar. There is a limit to this, however, since these bars are limited in their sizing due to again, O.C. building standards. Bars which are too cheap will often pose a collapse risk.
All Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars are restricted in their width by building standards. To maintain a stable platform, they need to be a multiple of 16 inches or 24 inches in width, possibly with a little overhang from the actual pull-up bar itself. In length, sizes may vary much more. You need to assess your room situation and leave for at least 1 foot of clearance on all sides of the bar, from any wall and any open swung door as well.
Mounting your Ceiling Pull-Up Bar will require some work on your part. The best Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars use (lag) bolts to securely and semi-permanently fix the Pull-Up Bar to the ceiling. This is the sturdiest method and the one we always prefer and recommend. This means you will need to pre-drill some holes and apply some elbow grease to get it up there. But the results are worth it.
There are so-called “no drilling required” Ceiling Pull-Up Bars. They tell you that these are safer because you’re not impeding on the structural integrity of your joists or concrete slab by not drilling any holes. This is, however, a lie. Wooden joists in particular rely on compressive strength, and if you securely screw a bolt into the wood of a joist, it becomes functionally a part of the joist. If you didn’t drill the hole too wide or too deep, a securely fitted steel bolt will actually make the joist stronger, not weaker. You can compare this to rebar woven into concrete. This is why we always recommend going for a drilled and bolted mounting mechanism.
Grip and different hand placements
With different grips and hand placements come different options. Even a slightly different angle of grip can activate radically different muscles while doing Pull-Ups. Simpler designs offer less variation, but often cost less or go for a higher maximum load capacity instead. Other, more radical designs, offer a wide variety of different grip options.
With grip also comes comfort. Grip covering, often with foam, will increase the comfort of your exercise much like Calisthenics gloves do. Keep in mind that these grips are easily the weakest link in the design of a Pull-Up Bar and will give out long before the Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar will. This is to be expected.
The 8 Best Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars
We’ve established all the advantages of a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar and all the reasons why you’d want one. Here are our favorite Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars, which we’ve selected because we like their quality, durability and how they operate in the “field” (gym).
#1 Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar
A simple yet sturdy construction and giving you exactly what you need: a horizontal bar and two parallel grips. The Ultimate Body Press is our go-to choice of Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar when in doubt. What’s most appealing is that the Ultimate Body Press bar mounts on either 16-inch or 24-inch spaced joists by design, by simply reversing the orientation of the risers. This makes this American-made, Ultimate Body Press a charm to install on practically any American-made home with wooden floors/ceilings.
The slightly curved horizontal bar is comfortable to hold, also thanks to its foam cover. Once installed, this Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar will provide you with many years of service. This is exemplified with a 10-year factory guarantee against mechanical faults. No weight capacity is given as far as we could tell. A conservative estimate would be 300lbs at the very least, going by the supplied bolts.
#2 Stud Bar Pull Up Bar: High and Low Ceiling Pull-Up Bars
The Stud Bar is a no frills, durable Ceiling Pull-Up Bar that comes in three different version, differing only in standard riser height. This makes a low ceiling much less of a problem for this Pull-Up Bar. Each different Pull-Up Bar size is also equipped with 3 different horizontal bar height settings, giving you even more options. It’s simple construction and use of 14-gauge tubular steel means this Pull-Up Bar is good for a load capacity of at least 600lbs. This is also accomplished by its long flanges, which means this Pull-Up Bar has to be mounted parallel with the joists so that all four bolts per side can be driven into the joist. A tough, scratch resistant powder coating prevents rust and damage from everyday use.
The design is otherwise also very simple, only giving you a horizontal bar, which is left uncovered. Durable, strong and reliable, you can increase the comfort of this Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar with the use of Calisthenics gloves.
#3 Ultimate Body Press Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Another great option from Ultimate Body Press is their Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar. Instead of the bolts going straight up, they are driven through the side of a joist. With enough compression by making use of washers and tightening the bolts well, no structural strength of the joist is lost. This makes this Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar ideal in situations where your joists are exposed, like is the case in many garages, attics and Northern-European styled “one-and-a-half” story homes. With a maximum load capacity of 300lbs, it will still stand up to explosive Calisthenics or even Weighted Calisthenics.
Comfort and ergonomics are on par with the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, with a small concession to the middle of the horizontal bar consisting of two parts fitted together, and being unsuitable for gripping.
#4 Sfeexun Joist-Mounted Adjustable Ceiling Pull Up Bar
This adjustable Ceiling Pull-Up Bar is great for concrete ceilings, and the provided for wedge anchors attest to that. Once firmly in place, the construction is good for up to 660lbs weight capacity. Its other attractive quality is that this is an adjustable Ceiling Pull-Up Bar without needing any disassembly. Simple undo the adjustment knob and slide the horizontal bar to any of the three height settings you desire. These knobs seem to slide or screw into an internal lug, keeping the whole system secure (unlike a system which depends purely on friction).
The bar itself is covered in a relatively stiff foam which provides additional comfort to your hands. It isn’t the softest stuff we’ve ever laid our hands on, but it gets the job done. It is also of the type that doesn’t crumble after a few weeks of use. The application of Athletic tape as an additional layer should keep this foam functional for years as well as increasing its level of comfort.
#5 TITAN FITNESS Ceiling Mounted Multi-grip Pull-up Bar
This Multi-Grip Pull-Up Bar takes elements of the monkey bars and compresses it into a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar. With its triangular construction and use of high-gauge tubular steel, this Pull-Up Bar is virtually indestructible to human hands and body weight. It is fixed by using 4 lag bolts (which we had to buy separately) over a span of 47,5 inches. This places the bolts slightly off-center from the joist (either 16-inches O.C. or 24-inches O.C. both making a 48-inch gap). Once in place, there is no way to bring this down, however, without breaking the whole ceiling down itself.
In terms of comfort, things are pretty austere. A checkered knurling provides for more grip but not for more comfort. The use of either tape of gloves is recommended. Of course, the many different angles do give you a very wide variety of possible Pull-Up exercises.
#6 Yes4All Heavy Duty Joist-Mounted Chin-Up Bar
This Joist-Mounted Pull-Up Bar is combined with a multi-grip design to give you plenty of Pull-Up variations. With a comparatively easy installation onto a bare joist, the Yes4All can take loads of up to 300lbs, all the while maintaining a minimal profile of just 19.5 inches (part of which will be resting against the joist). This makes it a very good option for low ceilings or crowded, narrowed ceilings like you often find in spare rooms.
Its construction is all steel with checkered grips to provide additional grip on the bars. The knurling is quite fine and didn’t bother us, otherwise thin gloves or workout grips may be used to eliminate any discomfort. The provided water level is a thoughtful addition for a level and plumb installation.
#7 Rogue Ceiling Pull Up Bar P-5V
The Rogue Ceiling Pull Up Bar system is strong, simple and reliable. It should fit on any ceiling either concrete or wooden because the horizontal bar goes all the way through each bracket. You can adjust the spacing accordingly and there is an extra-long 52” horizontal bar option too. This makes the Rogue Ceiling Pull Up Bar a good option where space is either limited, or you want to utilize an abundance of ceiling space with a very long Pull-Up Bar. The setup can even be daisy-chained with multiple additional brackets and by guiding the ends of each horizontal bar through a pipe coupling. This could potentially result in the width of the whole ceiling becoming one continuous Pull-Up Bar.
The Rogue Ceiling Pull Up Bar P-5V is for the rest very barebones, consisting of only the horizontal bar which is kept bare bar its powder coating. NOTE: Mounting hardware is not included.
#8 Gronk Fitness Multi-Grip Ceiling Chin Up Bar
The Gronk Fitness Multi-Grip Ceiling Chin Up Bar should not be an unfamiliar sight to many Calisthenics enthusiasts. This is ‘the’ monkey bars and Pull-Up Bar integration. With its 48” width, it will mount readily onto any standard stud layout but can also be mounted onto concrete ceilings. With a maximum load capacity of 600lbs, thanks to its high-grade steel construction, it accommodates Calisthenics practitioners of all sizes. The many grip variations also turn this single device into a complete upper-body workout machine. Comfort is actually quite good; the coating is soft on the hands. When things get slippery, liquid chalk pairs well with this Pull-Up Bar.
Its popularity is also to its own detriment. Production of the Gronk Fitness Ceiling Chin Up Bars can’t keep up with demand, so there might be a waiting list if you’re looking for one.
A DIY Ceiling Pull-Up Bar
If you have a mind for DIY Calisthenics Equipment, a simple but effective Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar can be made at home with basic equipment and materials. Here is the plan for a Ceiling Pull-Up Bar featuring a single, straight top-bar. You can find all necessary hardware at your local hardware supplier like Ace Hardware of Lowe’s.
All the materials listed are 1-inch galvanized steel unless stated otherwise (you can go thicker if you want).
- 1x 24” threaded pipe
- 2x 16” threaded pipe (can be shorter but must be equal)
- 2x threaded elbow coupling
- 2x threaded flange
- 1x 33” 2×6 pine board
- 9x 3/8″ x 3″ galvanized steel lag bolt
- 9x 3/8” washers
- 8x ¼” hex bolts with nuts
- 8x ¼” washers
Make sure all the threaded pipe, elbow and flange assembly is the same size and be screwed together. We recommend a 1 inch or higher gauge.
- Pre-drill 1/4” pilot holes in the 2×6 pine board and joists/studs (see schematic 1).
- Assemble your piping (see schematic 2).
- Fasten 2×6 to joists using 9 3/8” x 3” lag bolts and washers. Drive washers flush with the face of the 2×6.
- Place assembled piping at the center of the fastened 2×6, mark bolt lug locations on flanges.
- Pre-drill ¼ holes through the marked locations.
- Fasten assembled piping using 8 ¼” hex bolts with their respective nuts and washers. Drive washers flush with the back face of the 2×6.
- Optional: for added strength, 2 2×6 can be stacked but need double length bolts.
- Optional: use Locktite on the threads of your piping to prevent loosening from use.
Ceiling Pull-Up Bar Alternatives
Your ceiling isn’t suitable for a Pull-Up Bar (too low, too high, barely standing as it is) or you have other reasons to look for alternatives. Luckily there are excellent other options to get a Pull-Up Bar or an equivalent training device. Here are some options, along with links to more in-depth articles.
- Gymnastic Rings: if your ceiling is too high, Gymnastic Rings can be an excellent alternative to a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar. Not only can the ropes of the Gymnastic Rings span a greater height, the rings themselves are in many ways a more versatile training device.
- Door Frame Pull-Up Bar: always practical and out of the way when you don’t need it, a Doorway Pull-Up Bar requires no drilling or screwing. There are many safe and reliable options where you can turn any doorway into a Calisthenics gym.
- Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar: you have a hanging ceiling with a blind floor and your walls are 100% gypsum. A Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar only needs a level floor to stand on.
- Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar: Your ceiling is too high but your walls are concrete? A Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar is similar to the Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, offering you the highest amount of safety on the most stable and durable platform.
- Travel Pull-Up Bar: we suspect you might be disinclined to take down your Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar and carry it with you for travel on a regular basis. If you’re looking for something even more mobile than a Door Frame Pull-Up Bar, then a Travel Pull-Up Bar offers you hand luggage sized solutions.
- Kids Pull-Up Bar: you weren’t in the market for a full-sized Pull-Up bar but wanted to introduce your kids to Calisthenics? A Kids Pull-Up Bar is a fun and engaging way to introduce children to Calisthenics. It does this in an age-appropriate way that encourages play and activity.
How To Mount a Pull-Up Bar to the Ceiling
Follow the instructions of the owner’s manual to the T and make use of all the appropriate materials. Most of what you need should be supplied with the Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar you bought. Most importantly are your choice of exact positioning on the ceiling and how you apply the bolts or screws. Keep the following rules of thumb in mind:
- Ensure a good center-joist positioning of the bolt lugs on either side.
- Pre-drill the holes a size too small to create compression. Do not blow out the saw dust or loose concrete from the holes, this becomes part of the compression once the bolt is in.
- Drive the bolts or screws in all the way until they are securely seated on or in the (counter sunk) bolt lugs.
- If your Joist Mounted Pull-Up Bar has bolts driving side-ways through the joists, make use of washers and screw the bolts tight enough for the washers to sink into the wood of the joist. This creates compression.
Conclusion: What Is the Best Ceiling Mounted Pull-up Bar and for Who?
If your ceiling is too high, or way too low, or is barely keeping the roof up as we speak, then a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar is not the right choice. There are plenty of other options for your Pull-Ups that don’t require drilling into the ceiling. And, drilling you must do. We found that all the “no drilling required” products are a health-hazard and predicated on the lie that a Ceiling-Mounted or Joist-Mounted Pull-Up Bar weakens the structural integrity of your joists. That, as we found out, is not the case as long as the (lag) bolts are firmly seated in the wood. They then become part of the structural strength of the joist.
If you do go for a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar, you have two advantages going for you. The first is that ceilings are meant to support very large amounts of weight. Even an all-steel Ceiling Pull-Up Bar (which is should be) will not structurally exceed the capacity of your joists. In other words, the Pull-Up Bar will break before your joist or ceiling collapses. Maybe if you’re the Hulk or something it could happen, but other than that we don’t see it being very plausible. Human error is the more likely root cause of Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar failures. Improperly seated bolts or where the Pull-Up Bar was fixed to plaster, hanging ceilings or ceiling façades instead of the joists are the most likely culprits there.
You want a quality product too, one that will last you for many years. For a modestly sized room which is neither too cramped nor has ample room to spare, we very much enjoy the Ultimate Body Press Ceiling Mounted Pull Up Bar. It is of a good size for a single practitioner and gives you all the options you need. It mounts onto both 16-inches on center and 24-inches on center joists. Comfort is great and the added parallel bars give you that much more versatility.
For the true connoisseur of all matters Calisthenics, the Gronk Fitness Multi-Grip Ceiling Chin Up Bar is the obvious choice, that is if you can afford the wait. It takes up more room but it is the ultimately versatile Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars.
Most ceilings are designed to carry an enormous amount of weight, far exceeding the weight of any one human’s body. If the second floor or the joists/studs of the ceiling feel firm, it should be safe to put a Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bar there.
Both Wall and Ceiling Mounted Pull-Up Bars can take a large weight capacity. Ceiling Pull-Up Bars tend to leave more room for you, the practitioner but is contingent on factors like the height of your ceiling and what the ceiling is made off.
A Pull-Up Bar at home invites more frequent use than when you have to travel to the gym to do your Pull-Ups. A Pull-Up Bar of some sort is a staple addition to the Calisthenics home gym.
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.