What Is The Best Diameter For A Pull-Up Bar?

Strong man is doing an archer pull-up on a thick pull-up bar

When you first begin your journey into the world of exercising and working out, you may, at some point, become overloaded by the sheer volume of information currently circulating in this industry. While the aspect of working out and getting healthier is actually rather simple, the complexity of this industry makes it very hard for those who do not understand much. Ironically, today, it is one of those complexities I will be going over…

More specifically, in this article, I will be discussing the different diameters in pull-up bars you may come across. This difference in pull-up bar diameters drastically changes the feel of the workout and even the results, so keep on reading!

Thick pull-up bar – (2″ or higher)

Let’s start with the fact that thick pull-up bars don’t exists. They are unicorns. Luckily there are the fat grips which is a very cheap option to transform your standard diameter pull-up bar a thick pull-up bar:

Chances are, you’ve never considered the thickness of your pull-up bar and that is completely fine, most people don’t. However, the thickness absolutely matters and it can determine the outcome of your workouts.

A thick pull-up bar accompanies a few pros, here are some!

The pros of a thick pull-up bar

  • A thick pull-up bar improves your grip strength. Having a strong grip in the world of weight lifting and calisthenics is very important and it greatly benefits your strength. A thick pull up bar helps with this because, to utilise it properly, you have to end up squeezing a lot harder throughout the movement.
  • A thick pull-up bar helps develop your forearms. Having thick and solid forearms not only looks good but can be a sign of a strong physique. In this case, the thicker pull-up bar helps build your forearms more effectively due to the higher number of muscles being engaged with each contraction.
  • Thick pull-up bars increase total muscular activation. When using a pull-up bar, not only will your grip, hands and forearms be working much harder but the entirety of your body will be too. This all comes down to the intensity placed on your grip, in response, the body will engage other muscles to assist.

As you can now see, training with a thick pull-up bar accompanies many benefits. Depending on your goals, training with a thick pull-up bar may or may not be well-suited to you!

Standard diameters pull up bar – (1.2″-1.8″)

Whether you’ve bought it from the store, your local exercise store or online, most pull-up bars purchases are approximately 1″ nearing to 2″ in outer width.

But is this a bad thing? Should you be using a thicker pull-up bar? Let’s take a look at some pros!

The pros of a standard pull-up bar

  • Your grip strength will not be prioritised. If you are doing pull-ups and you mean to effectively strengthen and/or grow your back, the last thing you will want is to have only grown your forearms and increased your grip strength. With a standard pull up bar, you will essentially work the muscles you mean to work.
  • You can focus on mind-muscle connection. In a sense, your mind-muscle connection determines how well you will effectively target the muscle you hope to work. With a thicker pull-up bar, your ability to train the muscle you desire would be diminished due to the additional stress placed on your forearms and hands.
  • It allows for improvements in all areas. Perhaps the most notable benefit to you using a pull-up bar is the fact that all the muscles you hope to train will get worked and more. Since this pull-up bar diameter is a nice middle-ground, so are your results in terms of what muscles are actually trained.

To sum up the standard pull-up bar, I would say that it is perfect for beginners and/or those just looking to simply improve their physique.

Thin diameters pull-up bar – (0.8″-1″)

The thin pull-up bar is perhaps the least utilised pull-up bar on this list. This may be because it is not often sold in stores, it is not commonly chosen and/or due to its unusual feel.

Regardless of the reasoning for this, thin pull-up bars do, in fact, have some notable benefits, let’s take a look!

The pros of a thin pull-up bar

  • Thin pull-up bars prioritise mind-muscle connection. Since the pull-up bar is thinner than the above, your forearms and grip won’t suffer as much. This in, turn, allows you to fully focus on the muscles you hope to work. This, over time, will help to develop a stronger mind-muscle connection which will, therefore, allow for more muscle growth.
  • Thin pull-up bars accommodate smaller hands. It is no secret, we all have different sized hands. For those of you with smaller hands, using a thinner pull-up bar is simply a no-brainer. With a thinner bar in place, you will be able to efficiently and effectively grow the muscles of your desire without issue.
  • Thinner pull-up bars are very good for static holds. Static holds, for those of you who don’t know, are positions that we intentionally place ourselves into. These positions are typically very demanding on the body and require a lot of strength. Thinner bars help to accomplish these holds by allowing for a perfect grip on the bar with minimal strain on our grip.

There you have it, the thin pull-up bar. As you can see, it carries very different pros to those listed above. When deciding which one to go with, consider your goals and what it is you want to get from the pull-up bar.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments