- Different Types of Door Pull Up Bars
- What to Look for in a Door Frame Pull Up Bar
- Exercises for Door Frame Pull Up Bars
- Our Top 3 Door Pull Up Bars
- Other Great Door Pull Up Bars by Type
- Which Type of Door Pull Up Bar Should I Choose?
- Different Door Frames and Suitable Door Pull Up Bars
- Frequently Asked Questions About Door Pull Up Bars
Door Pull Up Bars come in many shapes and sizes and offer a quick and relatively inexpensive way to start doing Calisthenics from home. But Door Pull Up Bars are also a point of major contention, with many worthless and few worthwhile products out there. To make sure you have the best Door Pull Up Bar worthy of your door frame and the frame of your body, we’ve spent many hours sifting through the countless Door Pull Up Bars out there. These include many a fine example of how not to build a Pull Up Bar, with sometimes dangerous albeit hilarious results. Read on to find the best Door Pull Up Bar to suit your needs and budget.
Different Types of Door Pull Up Bars
We use the term Door Pull Up Bar for any Pull Up Bar which uses a door as its mounting point. There are various other Pull Up Bars, like Free Standing Pull Up Bars, which do not have a mounting point at all and stand on their own. There are also Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars which you need to fix to a suitable wall. We’ve covered those in two previous articles, but today we’ll be looking at the ever-popular option for the room deprived and cash strapped enthusiasts who need a viable alternative, Door Pull Up Bars. You basically have three options at your disposal: a Door Frame Pull Up Bar, a Doorway Pull Up Bar or Door Frame Pull Up Handles. We’ll explain all of them and list their merits and disadvantages.
Door Frame Pull Up Bar
A Door Frame Pull Up Bar goes over the frame of a door. With either prongs or clamps, the Door Frame Pull Up Bar latches itself onto the door frame and remains shut. The best Door Frame Pull Up Bars are designed in such a way that the more weight that is put on the bar, the harder it clamps down onto the door frame. With proper use these are the safest Door Pull Up Bars and only if the door frame itself would suffer catastrophic failure could it come down. Door Frame Pull Up Bars are usually offset from the door, giving you enough room for a full chin-up without your face touching the door frame or the wall above the door.
Doorway Pull Up Bar
A Doorway Pull Up Bar differs ever so slightly from a door frame in that it rests inside the frame of the door. A Doorway Pull Up Bar uses friction to clamp itself between the two long ends of the doorway, without using any clamps. Care must be taken than the Doorway Pull Up Bar has enough tension to properly adhere to the door frame. Needless to say, these are less reliable and less safe than Door Frame Pull Up Bars. They are a lot cheaper, however.
Door Frame Pull Up Handles
These are a set of handles which fit around the top of your door frame and rest on its molding. Door Frame Pull Up Handles are a great, mobile way of bringing your Calisthenics equipment wherever you go. The best Door Frame Pull Up Handles operate as hinges. The more weight you put on them, the harder the clamp throttles the door frame. This, in combination of being on spring tension, makes it impossible for the clamps to just come off during exercise. A downside is that you’re limited to just the placement of the handles, there is no actual bar.
What to Look for in a Door Frame Pull Up Bar
Door Frame Pull Up Bars are relatively simple in design. Because of the way they’re mounted to the door or door frame, your body weight needs to be suspended fairly stable on one side. Other kinds of Pull Up Bars, including Power Towers, will offer a greater number of options in the form of different kinds of protrusions and bars to hold on too. Doorway and Door Frame Pull Up Bars tend to be simpler in design, focusing on the core feature: the horizontal top bar.
What we’re looking for in the best Door Pull Up Bars is the following:
- Safety: Door Pull Up Bars have gotten a bad rep with sometimes hilarious, but otherwise painful looking clips online. Although most of this can be attributed to the user incorrectly mounting the bar, we want our Door Pull Up Bar to be safe and easy to use (and avoid an easy mistake).
- Comfort: The grips should be comfortable, not too thick and not too thin. We’ll pay attention to the fit and finish as well with questions like: how does the foam padding look? Is the coating even? Do I have enough room to space my hands apart?
- Durability: We want a quality product for the price we pay. Moreover, durability directly ties in with the strength of the Door Pull Up Bar and says something about its safety too.
- Paint Friendly: the way the Door Pull Up Bar is mounted to your door frame should be paint friendly and not damage the wood or surface of the wall.
Exercises for Door Frame Pull Up Bars
The Pull Up and its many variations is a staple of Calisthenics exercise. They are a great way to build up upper-body strength and really workout those biceps too. Both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps requires their recruits to do Pull Ups every day as part of their physical training. If you can pull yourself up multiple times, it means you not only have enough strength but also that you have endurant strength. You can do that maximum exertion time and time again.
A Door Pull Up Bar is a great aid in this. Here is a collection of Calisthenics exercises you can do with a Doorway or Door Frame Pull Up Bar.
- Pull Ups and its many variations
- Chin Ups and its many variations
- Leg Raises
- Hollow Pull Ups
- Knee Raises
- Front Levers
- Back Levers
- Scapula Pull Ups
- Straight Bar Dips (only with a lower placed doorway pull up bar)
- Body Row’s (only with a lower placed doorway pull up bar)
Our Top 3 Door Pull Up Bars
These are our top picks in the three categories of Door Pull Up Bars. Since it makes little sense to compare apples to oranges, we decided to make sort of a distinction between the three. We do this, fully realizing that there are inherent advantages to some products which make them the superior choice over others, regardless of overall design features.
#1 Gravity Fitness Universal Doorway Pull Up Bar
The best Doorway Pull Up Bar available on the market is the Gravity Fitness Universal Door Pull Up Bar. This extendable Pull Up Bar fits between door frames of 28” to 37” (70 to 94cm) and will accommodate for 99% of door frames in existence. With a respectable 264lbs maximum tested capacity, you can get a lot of work done with this Doorway Pull Up Bar, including possibly some Weighted Calisthenics provided the combined weight of you and the weights do not exceed this number.
Gravity Fitness always brings amazing produces of the highest quality. The twist and adjust method of extending the bar makes setting it up a matter of seconds only. The non-slip surface on both ends ensures a strong hold to the door frame if placed correctly. We found the Gravity Fitness to be the easiest to use and the hardest to mess up. During our tests, the Gravity Fitness Doorway Pull Up Bar did not slip or shift, not even by a millimeter from its place.
This is the only Door Pull Up Bar on our list which doesn’t use foam padding. The powder coated steel has a perfect finish just fine enough and still coarse enough to give you all the grip you need. A major advantage of having just powder coated steel is that, unlike foam, it won’t dry up and become brittle (at least not in our lifetimes).
The combination of safety, weight capacity, comfort and quality make the Gravity Fitness the best Doorway Pull Up Bar.
#1 Pullup & Dip Door Frame Pull Up Bar
That Pullup & Dip came in as best in class for Door Frame Pull Up Bars is no surprise. Pullup & Dip is a direct competitor of Gravity Fitness where it comes to quality products and pricing. Their excellent Door Frame Pull Up Bar provides you with everything you could ask from a Door Pull Up Bar. She fits all regular door frame sizes from 28 to 37 inches (70 to 94cm) and will sit snugly and securely under the top post of the door frame. The Pullup & Dip is designed in such a way that your bodyweight acts as a lever which pulls the bar tighter against the door frame.
With a maximum tested weight of 242lbs, the Pullup & Dip is ready to handle most Calisthenics practitioners out there. The foam grips are very high quality and supremely comfortable to hold on too. They are the type which have just enough give to dig your fingers and palms into, but are rigid enough to maintain a proper shape.
With both a narrow and wide grip present, the Pullup & Dip Door Frame Pull Up Bar is very versatile. The offset ensures that you can make a full chin-up without hitting the wall above the door frame. Two perpendicular protrusions are also present to do Hammer Pull Ups, one of the many variations of Pull Ups you can do with this Door Pull Up Bar.
Fit and finish are excellent and of high quality. An additional ring in the middle of top bar allows you to use a Resistance band as well. Pullup & Dip have been kind enough to include a high-quality Resistance band as part of the Door Pull Up Bar and an e-book with 23 tips to enhance your Pull Ups.
#1 Duonamic Eleviia Portable Door Frame Handles
As the perfect, portable solution to doing your Pull Ups anywhere, you have the innovative Duonamic Eleviia. These Door Frame Pull Up Handles are the perfect addition or even stand-in for having a Pull Up Bar. For the basic Pull Up and Chin Up exercises, this Pull Up “bar” is more than sufficient. With a little more effort than with a normal bar, you can adjust the width of your grip by moving the clamps closer or further apart.
With a maximum weight capacity of 250lbs, it competes in the top range of Door Pull Up Bars and can be used for virtually every Calisthenics exercise you can do with a “normal” Pull Up Bar. The only limiting factor being the two hand-sized handles and the ways you can grip them. The handles themselves are comfortable enough for extended use. The main attraction here is of course its dimensions. With measurements of 12” x 10” x 4¾” they take up virtually no space at all.
Safety should be of no concern here either beyond normal safe conduct when using a Pull Up Bar. The components are all of a propriety design and in such a way that unless the whole door frame gives in, the Eleviia stays put.
The Eliviia can also be upgraded with two excellent add-ons like Gymnastic Rings and their specialty grips called Powrholds. These are meant to increase your grip strength over time.
Other Great Door Pull Up Bars by Type
These are our runner-up Door Pull Up Bars. We cut out all the unwanted ones from our list and again divided them into their three main categories. Since we are talking about three radically different designs, we also omitted a tiered list. You’ll only find our limited selection of the best Door Pull Bars per type:
- Doorway Pull Up Bars
- Doorframe Pull Up Bars
- Doorframe Pull Up Handles
Great Doorway Pull Up Bars
INNSTAR Pull Up Bar
With a maximum weight capacity of a whopping 880lbs even a gorilla could use this Doorway Pull Up Bar safely. If you’re looking to do Weighted Pull Ups, and to really bulk up in powerful muscles, this is the Doorway Pull Up Bar you’re looking for. The tubular steel crossbar features a double safety to prevent it from unlocking or slipping. The tough, rubber pads prevent any slipping from occurring, at least none that we could see when we were using it.
Whether this goes up to the promised 880lbs, we can’t say for sure. The best we can do is to have two of our burliest testers (and who together weigh 389lbs) hang from the INNSTAR Pull Up Bar at once and do Pull Ups. Although it was a bit crowded, the bar remained firmly in place.
The bar is covered in a thick foam-rubber cover. The covering is thick and soft enough to provide a lot of traction, yet also firm enough to give you tactile feedback on how you’re holding on.
Aoyar Doorway Pull Up Bar
A close alternative to the Gravity Fitness, the Aoyar Doorway Pull Up Bar is of a similar design, with a similar locking mechanism. With a maximum weight capacity of 440lbs you can safely do all your regular Calisthenics using a Pull Up Bar. At first sight, the Aoyar holds a weight advantage over the Gravity Fitness, however this is most likely due to very conservative estimates on Gravity Fitness’ part.
Although not of powdered steel, we like the Aoyar Doorway Pull Up Bar’s full length covering of quality foam. The multi-layered bar creates a strong design with the right amount of give and firmness for a comfortable hold. A special moisture wicking layer will actively take sweat away from your hands and to a wider area. The layer underneath that is an impermeable PVC rubber. Sweat will simply evaporate, which is hastened by spreading it over a larger area.
FitBeast Pull Up Bar
Another viable alternative to the Gravity Fitness is the FitBeast Pull Up Bar. This Pul Up Bar has a maximum weight capacity of 600lbs which is enough to do Weighted Pull Ups safely. The two feet are rectangular in design to maximize the surface area touching the insides of the door frame. The thick rubber pads provide enough traction to make the high weight capacity a reality while at the same time preventing damage to your door frame.
The protruding bars are delineated with length markings for both inches and centimeters (to whom it may concern). The rotating method of adjusting the length of the bar is very easy to do and the design comes with two rotation stoppers, preventing the bar from coming loose accidentally.
The foam cover runs the length of the bar and is of a solid foam type. It is a comfortable grip, although it has more give than the Aoyar bar. We could feel the steel bar coming through the foam while wearing a Weighted Vest.
Maximiza Plus Pull Up Bar
This is a great option if you have a non-standard width door frame at your disposal. The Maximiza Plus Pull Up Bar has a minimum width of 35 inches, which is where most other Door Pull Up Bars stop. This can be increased to 50 inches at its maximum length. Although being a great option, the Maximize Plus is also one of your only options as a Pull Up Bar for wide a door frame.
The Maximiza can be installed using locking screws and an Allen wrench. Although not as quick as some of the other locking mechanism, it is still quick enough to be up and on the bar inside a minute. The length of the bar is almost entirely covered in a thick foam. The foam isn’t the best but it’s not the worst either.
When properly mounted, the Maximiza can hold up to 330lbs in weight. This is considering the full length of 50 inches. Much longer than 50 inches is ill-advised for any Doorway Pull Up Bar. The structural integrity of even hardened steel can’t be guaranteed at these lengths. If the bar were to bend while in use, the two ends would come together inward. In other words, the length from pad to pad would decrease and you’d find yourself falling towards the floor.
Great Door Frame Pull Up Bars
Iron Age Pull Up Bar
We like the Iron Age Pull Up Bar for its simplicity and rugged design. With a weight capacity of 400lbs and a very generous 47-inch offset top bar, it provides you with all you need for doing Pull Ups, Chin Ups and a myriad of other Calisthenics exercises. Like the Pullup & Dip Door Frame Pull Up Bar, the ends are slanted which is great for working out the back and shoulder muscles.
The firm foam grips feel comfortable to hold on too and run the length of the bar. This gives you ample options for doing Pull Ups and Chin Ups. We also liked the addition of the ring in the middle of the top bar, which serves as a mounting point for a Resistance Band. This Door Frame Pull Up Bar can be folded up flat, so it can fit in any closet or under the bed for storage.
INTENT SPORTS Pull Up Bar
Similar to the Iron Age Pull Up Bar, the INTENT SPORTS Pull Up Bar offers a relatively simple design. The foam grips are comfortable enough and span enough of the width to give you plenty of options. The slanted ends allow for good back and shoulder muscle workouts. Fit and finish are a bit less than with the Iron Age Door Frame Pull Up Bar but you do get a rather complete set of accessories which includes a Pull Up Assist Band (an adjustable Resistance Band). Another thoughtful addition is the e-book and the app with many videos about different exercises you can do.
The added Pull Up Assist Band is a nice touch, although a bit on the light side. We only saw them working on testers of 200lbs or less. If you’re heavier than that, you’re better off buying a separate set. Otherwise, you can adjust the resistance to your liking and gradually build up your strength while doing Pull Ups.
Stamina X Door Gyms
The Stamina X Door Gyms Pull Up Bar is a bit of an oddity. It is a Door Frame Pull Up Bar but with intentionally offset grips. This Pull Up Bar is meant to help rock climbers to building strength by doing Pull Ups. If you’re pulling yourself up against a rock face, you’re almost never presented with two gripping points at equal height. One hand will be closer to your body than the other. To adequately train your muscles, both big and small, and to handle a non-centered Pull Up, you can switch up which grip you hold for either hand.
In addition, the Stamina X has two “rock climbing grips” which mimic those found on a climbing wall. You can’t wrap your hand around those and you will have to rely on the strength in your fingers to pull yourself up on these. This Door Frame Pull Up Bar is a great training tool for wall climbers and rock climbers alike while they’re not out and actively climbing.
The Stamina X also comes with the complementary müüv app which provides assembly instructions and personalized workout programs to become a stronger Calisthenics practitioner and of course, rock climber.
ProsourceFit Multi-Grip Lite Pull Up
An affordable entry-level Door Frame Pull Up Bar, the ProsourceFit gives you all the basic options you need to do a full Pull Up workout. The ProsourceFit has a maximum weight capacity of 300lbs and relies on the molding around the top post of the door frame to stay in place.
The foam grips are comfortable enough but do not run the full length of the top bar. The top bar can also be disassembled in two pieces, which helps with its portability. At the same time, we didn’t find this a necessary feature. The ProsourceFit is small enough as it is and they could have gone for a full-length tubular steel design instead.
Great Door Frame Pull Up Handles
Jayflex Fitness CrossGrips
The Jayflex Fitness CrossGrips are essentially two very small Door Frame Pull Up Bars acting together. Other than the size of the handles, these Door Frame Pull Up Handles come closest to being a normal bar.
Made of high-quality steel and a powder coated steel outer sleeve, the Jayflex CrossGrips can hold a maximum weight of 250lbs. The spring-loaded clamp and adjustable height made fitting them on the door easy to do. Within a minute we had it hanging and ready for use. Now that it is set for the molding around our door frame, putting them up will be even quicker in the future.
The handles are powder coated steel and feel just right to the touch. There are two sets of them, going parallel and perpendicular, so in theory you have all the grips you would ever need for your Calisthenics in one tidy package. As a bonus, their flat and stable feet allow them to double as functional Parallettes. A nice touch since Pull Ups and Push Ups are complementary exercises.
Jayflex Fitness RYZE-UPS
For those looking for a faster and lighter design, the Jayflex Fitness RYZE-UPS is about as fast and as light as you can get. Made of a fiber polymer and weighing only 4.6 pounds, the RYZE-UPS can still handle a maximum weight of 275lbs. Your molding trim needs to be between 2 and 6 inches high and if that’s the case, fitting the RYZE-UPS is quick and easy.
The handles are set in a circular rim and can be moved to any desired position. Despite their compact size and look, this gives you many, many options for doing diverse workouts. It is a nifty solution to providing maximum versatility in a small package.
The handles themselves are rubberized and provide nice tactile feedback on your grip, as well as being ergonomically shaped for additional comfort. We had no trouble doing all the Calisthenics exercises we normally do on a full-sized Pull Up Bar using the Jayflex RYZE-UPS instead.
Which Type of Door Pull Up Bar Should I Choose?
You’re left with ample choice of quality Door Pull Up Bars, but which type of bar should you choose? The answer to this is a combination of your Calisthenics needs and the doorway available to you. In general, we advise the following:
- Door Frame Pull Up Bars: this is our recommended pick. They are sturdy, give you a range of options and the most freedom of movement while doing Pull Ups. The other options lack this wall offset, which make doing full Chin Ups more difficult. They are also the safest option by design.
- Door Frame Pull Up Handles: as a space-saving alternative to Door Frame Pull Up Bars or if you don’t have a door with enough clearance on either side to fit a Door Frame Pull Up Bar. They are also great as an addition to your home gym when you are away from home.
- Doorway Pull Up Bars: we recommend getting these if you are really strapped for space in your situation or need an inexpensive way to start doing Calisthenics. A “hidden” advantage of the Doorway Pull Up Bar is that you’re not limited to hanging them up high. They can also double as a dipping bar by placing them around waist height.
Different Door Frames and Suitable Door Pull Up Bars
Most interior doors are all alike and have the same measurements as per IRC building requirements. These are international codes regarding interior building construction and so can be found pretty much worldwide. Most doors will have a width of 28, 30 or 32 inches. Door Pull Up Bars will be constructed to accommodate all these sizes. Nowadays though, propriety doors of different sizes are becoming more and more common. There are also alternatives to the traditional swinging door, like sliding doors of various sizes.
If your door is a standard door like you see them pretty much everywhere, more likely than not your Door Pull Up Bar will fit that door frame. If you have off-sized doors, we recommend you measure the width of the doorway and cross-reference this with the maximum width tolerance of the Door Pull Up Bar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Door Pull Up Bars
Here are a couple of frequently asked questions we receive regularly about Door Pull Up Bars.
Door Pull Up Bars allow you to do a staple exercise in Calisthenics: Pull Ups and Chin Ups. Other than Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars or Free Standing Pull Up Bars, a Door Pull Up Bar requires no permanent fixture and can be removed after use. They are an inexpensive and space-saving way to do your Calisthenics.
If you cannot perform one full Pull Up to completion, you need to work up your body strength by first doing other Calisthenics exercises. A good way to build up enough strength to graduate towards Pull Ups is doing Rows. The easiest way to do rows is as follows:
- With your feet on the ground, grab the Pull Up Bar with both hands. Place your feet together and directly underneath the bar.
- Lean backward until your arms are stretched.
- Pull yourself back upright.
- Increase the number of reps and sets until you feel comfortable doing one set of 4 Pull Ups.
If you are a little stronger already, you can suspend a Resistance Band from the Pull Up Bar. By placing one foot or both in the band, you take part of your bodyweight away from your arms. This makes the Pull Up easier to do and you can work on your technique. You can then gradually move to lighter bands until you no longer need them at all.
Properly made, high-quality Door Pull Up Bars will not damage your door frame. At worst, old, brittle paint may come loose from the pressure against them. Your primary concern should be knowing whether or not your door frame is suitable for taking the weight.
Most indoor door frames come in standard sizes of 28 to 32 inches. Almost all Door Pull Up Bars are meant for these sizes, with many going up to 37 inches. If your door is even wider than that, we recommend the Maximiza Plus Pull Up Bar for door frames between 35 and 50 inches in width.
You use a Door Frame Pull Up Bar like you use any other Pull Up Bar. With a quality, safely constructed Door Frame Pull Up Bar there are no safety concerns or restrictions other than those you normally observe when doing Pull Ups. Look here how to perfect your Pull Up.
You could try using a Doorway Pull Up Bar which clamps itself between the vertical posts of a door, instead of around the door frame itself. However, if your door frame is really weak, we recommend investigating other options like a Wall Mounted Pull Up Bar which you fix to a wall or, if the walls are weak as well, you can go for a Free Standing Pull Up Bar.