Best Pull Up Bars For Arm Day Payoff Reviewed

Calisthenics exercises are an easy, low-cost way to stay in shape without paying for pricey gym memberships. They can be just as effective as using weights and fancy equipment if you can find the right regimen. However, there is one essential body-weight exercise that you can’t do, at least properly, without buying a piece of equipment: The Pullup.

The pull-up is an excellent foundation exercise that builds upper body and core strength. When it comes to body-weight exercises, pull-ups are important because they are one of the only body-weight exercises that focus on the back, biceps, and other ‘pull’ muscles. It’s nearly impossible to get a good calisthenic workout on these muscles without having some kind of bar to grab and pull against your body weight.

Although a pull-up bar might sound like a simple piece of equipment there are a wide array of features and options on pull-up bars designed for home use. Outside of the obvious issue of the comfort of the grips, one of the big things to consider is where in your home you are planning to install or use your pull-up bar.

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MS Sports Joist Mountedimg
  • MS Sports Joist Mounted
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Stud Bar Ceiling Mountable
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  • Titan Fitness Wall
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  • Two Person
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Some pull-up bars that attach to the wall, others are installed in doorways, and there are even weatherproof bars designed for outdoors. You also want to look for bars with multiple grip positions. Having different options for grip gives you the option to isolate different muscles in your back and arms just by changing your grip. There are more variations than you might think, wide, narrow, supinated, non-supinated, are just a few examples, and when mixed and matched there are even more options. You can also use you pull-up bar to do advanced abdominal and core exercises like windshield wipers and leg raises, or maybe you want to do advanced ‘muscle up” (exercises that lift the body up over and on top of the bar). However, if you are planning on doing ab exercises keep that in mind while you are shopping. Certain pull-up bars don’t allow you to raise your legs up in front of you to do the exercises.

A pull-up bar is an important piece of equipment for any home gym. Pull-ups are a vital compound exercise in any routine, and if you are relying on calisthenics you’re going to have a hard time working out your back, biceps, and other pulling muscles without getting on a pull-up bar. A few sets of push-ups and pull-ups goes a long way on days you can’t make it to the gym. Remember to look for a model with leg clearance for ab exercises and different sets of grips to get the most versatility out of your pull-up bar.

 

 

10 Best Pull Up Bars Reviewed

 

 

1. MS Sports Joist Mounted

This one weld, steel pull-up bar from MS Sports is a sturdy piece of equipment that mounts on any ceiling joist. With only 4 bolts, the installation is quick, easy, and hassle-free. It has durable knurled grips that can weather use a lot better than the cheap foam pads you find on some bars.
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Ceiling Mounted
This bar is designed to be installed on the ceiling by bolting into a joist. A joist is a length of heavy timber used to support floors and ceilings. This is the perfect setup if you have a training area in your basement because joists are often left exposed in basements and cellars. The big benefit of having the flexibility of a ceiling-mounted SSR is the ability to do hanging ab exercises freely. With a wall-mounted unit, there would be less room to lift your legs or knees without hitting the wall.

Built To Last
This thing is built like a tank. It’s constructed from solid steel and has only one weld. While it’s not common to break a solid steel bar without serious intentional effort, it is quite typical to see lower-quality bars with torn, frayed, or missing grip pads, and no pads or foam means this bar can get wet without getting soggy or stinking up your home gym.

Cost and Value
The MS Sports Joist Bar is a rugged piece of equipment that’s going to last you a long time. It’s a no-nonsense bar that’s designed for exercise and not much else. The knurled grips are tougher on the hands, but you can wear gloves and at least you don’t have to deal with grip pads that will undoubtedly tear at some point. If you’re looking to get a solid piece of equipment that’s built to last and your primary concern is utility, this is the bar for you. It’s the highest rated model on our list.
Pros

Ceiling Mounted

Ab Exercises

Knurled Grips

Easy Installation

Solid Construction

Cons

Only Joist Mounting

Uncomfortable Grips

2. Stud Bar Ceiling Mountable

Where you decide to mount your pull up bar is mostly a matter of preference, but with the versatile Stud Bar, you won’t have to choose one option. It mounts on ceilings or walls, and it’s extra-wide bar lets you use super wide grip positions for deep, lat-blasting pull-ups. It even has a lifetime warranty!
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Gym Quality
This piece of equipment is built to a higher standard. Its powder-coated steel, 1 ¼” diameter bar, and 600 lb weight capacity make the Stud Bar a high-quality piece of equipment that could fit right into many high-priced gyms and spas. You can exercise like a professional in the comfort of your own home.

Easy Installation
With two options for installation, you have a lot more placement options with the Stud Bar. The height of the bar is also adjustable and the bolts are sized to line up with the wall studs

Cost and Value
While the Stud Bar is unquestionably a high-quality piece of exercise equipment, it comes with a correspondingly high price tag as it’s not easy to find a bar that’s both well built and has more than one installation option. However, if you’re into fitness and have been for years, odds are you’re going to be using this pull-up bar for a long time and, with a lifetime warranty, it won’t let you down. The question is, how much am I willing to pay for quality?
Pros

Multiple Installation Options

Extra-Wide Bar

Adjustable Height

Weather-Proof

Lifetime Warranty

Cons

Expensive

No Alternate Grips

3. Titan Fitness Wall

The Titan Fitness pull-up Bar looks more like something out of a factory than a gym. This thing is all business and no-nonsense. It’s solid steel frame bolts directly into a wall, and it’s designed to line up with your studs so it installs relatively easily. The reinforced frame has a 500 lb capacity so it can withstand even the heaviest users and the most intense exercises.
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Concrete or Wood Mounts
The mounting accessories included with this bar include options for mounting on both concrete and wooden wall studs. It’s great for industrial properties and basements, where wooden wall studs might be hard to find.

Customizable
This unit can be modified to become a 2 person pull-up station using common parts available from your local hardware store. The manufacturer has instructions and specifications available that tell how to make the changeover.

Cost and Value
This is another no-nonsense pull-up bar that gets the job done with minimal frills. Plus, it has a very reasonable price tag. If are looking for a high-quality bar that’s going to last a long time but you are reluctant to pay the higher prices on some comparable models, than the Titan Fitness bar might be the compromise you are looking for.
Pros

Reinforced Frame

Expandable to Two-Person

Concrete Mounting Accessories Included

53” Bar Length

Vertically Installable

Cons

Can be an Eye Sore

Installation Issues

4. Garren Fitness Maximiza

4. Garren Fitness Maximiza
The most convenient variety of in-home pull-up bar is the doorway-type bar. These bars install in most standard size doorways easily and without a lot of hassle. The Garren Fitness Maximize Bar is the first doorway bar on our list and it also has one of the easiest installs. The brackets install in the doorway and the adjustable bar attaches to the brackets with enough strength to support up to 300 lbs. Finally, when you’re done, the bar can be easily detached and stowed away, leaving behind only the discreet brackets hanging on the door frame.
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Hand Grip Padding
The Garren Fitness bar is designed with ergonomic, non-slip grip pads that give you greater comfort and decrease hand fatigue so you can get the highest count of pull-up’s possible before your grip fails.

Convenience
With only a small bracket needed to hang it, you can remove the bar from the doorway when you are not using it. There’s not going to be a pull-up bar obstructing your doorway at all times. Simply attach it to the brackets, exercise until tired, and take the bar down from the frame when you're done. It’s that easy. It even includes light-duty brackets that can attach do a door frame without screws or nails, making it a great choice for travelers as well.

Cost and Value
This simple and convenient bar is one of the best values on our list. It’s low price and versatility make it great for anyone who’s looking to add pull-ups to their exercise routine. Plus, it’s easily broken down so it’s great for apartments, dorm rooms, or anywhere else where space is at a premium.
Pros

Space Saver

Comfort Grips

Modern Design

Light-Duty Brackets Included

Great Customer Service

Cons

Strains Door Frame

Small Weight Capacity

5. J/fit Deluxe Doorway

5. J/fit Deluxe Doorway
If you’re looking to do more than pull-ups with your bar, the j/fit Deluxe Doorway might be just what you need. It mounts in your doorway and includes extra sets of brackets, so you can keep a set mounted at a different height so you can easily switch to other exercises, like dips or push-ups, by simply lowering the bar. This bar is a great choice for versatility and it’s easily disassembled, a big perk for users with smaller homes and apartments.
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Safety
Be careful when choosing a pull-up bar because some of them, especially doorway bars, can be constructed with cheap materials and shoddy workmanship. No one wants their bar to come off the bracket when they’re at the apex of a chin-up rep. Not only does that fall hurt but it can even be deadly. This bar, however, was designed with safety in mind. It telescopes out from only one end, and since only one end is extended there is only one section you have to worry about collapsing. Safe to assume that you have about half as much chance of a collapse as with a bar that extends from both sides.

Extra Wide
This bar was built with the longest bar length commonly available on door frame mounted bars. Measuring up at an impressive 40” long, this bar has no problem installing in even the widest of doorways.

Cost and Value
J/t’s Deluxe bar is tied with the Perfect Fitness Doorway Bar for our pick for ‘Best Value” on this list. It’s an extremely convenient and portable bar can go up and taken back down again with no hassle or fuss. When you factor in the extra long bar and the extra brackets included the options you have with this bar increase exponentially. This bar can be deployed in so many different ways, you can do so many different exercises, and you get all these options for the best price on the list.
Pros

Convenient

Versatile

Safe

Extra Brackets

Comfy Grips

Cons

Low Weight Capacity

No Neutral Grips

6. CFF Wall/Ceiling

6. CFF Wall/Ceiling
This CFF pull-up bar looks like it was made for an elephant. This thing is a gym quality bar. It’s simple and straightforward, plus it has a 300 lb weight capacity. The first thing you realize when you look at this bar is that this is a piece of commercial quality equipment that would fit right in at any gym or health club. It’s heavy duty, extra wide, and will last a lifetime.
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30’ Wall Clearance
When installed using the included wall mounts this bar gives you a full 30’ of clearance between the bar and wall. This you will have the space to do your pull-ups comfortably without banging your knees or legs into the wall on every rep, and it’s essential for ab exercises that may require a bit of room to perform, like leg lifts or windshield wipers.

Heavy Duty
This is a no-frills, solid piece of commercial quality exercise equipment. If I had to guess I would approximate that it will last about 17 thousand years. It’s got a huge weight capacity and it can handle just about any exercise routine you can throw at it.

Cost and Value
This unit is heavy duty, durable, and commercial quality, but commercial quality means commercial quality price tags. This bar is a solid piece of work out equipment, but it’s very spartan with little in the way of comfort features like grips and the install involves drilling in the mounts so it’s not the kind of bar you can easily take down and slide under your bed when you’re done. All and all it’s a great bar, but the high price tag negates a lot of its value.
Pros

Space Saver

Comfort Grips

Modern Design

Light-Duty Brackets Included

Great Customer Service

Cons

Strains Door Frame

Small Weight Capacity

7. Ultimate Body Press XL

7. Ultimate Body Press XL
One of the most important qualities to look for in a bar is its ability to handle your entire exercise repertoire. If pull-ups are already a big part of your workout routine then it’s important to find a bar with multiple grip positions so that you can stimulate the muscle in different ways once it becomes accustomed to traditional grip sets. With this bar from Ultimate Body Press, you can do all the major grip variations. It’s a wide bar so you can get lat blasting wide-grip pull-ups and its got grips for neutral-grip pull-ups as well, good for hitting the center back muscles and traps.
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High-Density Foam
This bars grip positions are all covered in specialized, high-density foam. The foam provides excellent padding for hands when you grip the bar, and it’s durable so it won’t rip and tear like cheap padding.

Easy Mounting
Ultimate Body Press designed this bar with a special emphasis on easy installation. It’s specially formed to easily mount on 16” on-center wall studs. It even includes mounting templates and a USA customer support line you can call in case you are totally stumped.

Cost and Value
When you analyze this bar and take into consideration its relatively reasonable price you quickly realize that this bar is a great value. This bar has it all. With wide grips and decent wall clearance, you can use it do a ton of different varieties of pull-ups and ab exercise. The padded grips mean it’s a comfortable bar as well and it's one of the best looking bars on this list. Factor all of this in with a mid-range price tag and you’ve got an excellent piece of workout equipment at a great value.
Pros

Foam Padding

Multiple Grips

Modern Look

Decent Wall Clearance

Wall Mountable

Cons

Only Includes Wall Brackets

Screw Holes in Wall

8. Ultimate Body Press Ceiling

8. Ultimate Body Press Ceiling
Ultimate Body Press (UPD) makes a second appearance on our top 10 list with their ceiling bar. This is a great bar for a lot of the same reasons that UPD’s make their wall bars grab the number seven spot on this list. It offers the same comfortable, high-density foam grips and multiple grip sets as its twin brother but lets you mount on the ceiling instead of the wall.
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Powder Coat Finish
This bar has a powder-coat finish that increases durability and ensures that your bar can hold to all the abuse resulting from the life of a piece of exercise equipment. This finish also prevents rust, so it’s good for humid locales or semi-outside areas like garages and patios.

Satisfaction Guarantee
The manufacturer offers a satisfaction guarantee on this product so you can buy knowing you’ll have the full support of Ultimate Body Press if you have any problems with your bar. A satisfaction guarantee means if you don’t like anything about your bar they’ll work to make it right.

Cost and Value
This bar is in the same ballpark as its twin brother, so it’s also one of the best values on this list. It’s versatile enough to handle all your favorite pull-up variations and ab exercises. It’s pretty much the same deal as the wall model, so the deciding factor for which one you should buy is which one has the more convenient installation option for your particular household.
Pros

High-Density Foam

Four Grip Positions

Ceiling Mounts

Wall Clearance

Value

Cons

Only Includes Wall Brackets

Holes in Ceiling

9. Stamina Door Gym

9. Stamina Door Gym
If you think a door frame bar is the most convenient option for your household but aren’t sold on how durable they are then this is the bar for you. The Stamina Door Gym is like a door bar on steroids. It’s got a 250-pound weight limit, which dwarfs some of the other door bars on this list, and it even has multiple grip positions, another trait that distinguishes it from many of its lighter-duty brethren. It mounts tool-free to any standard sized door and it can be easily removed and stored. The Stamina Door Gym is the Cadillac of door bars.
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Unique Grips
The uniquely designed rock climbing hand-hold grips add an extra edge to your workouts. The design works to build up forearm strength and increase the power of your grip. Plus its got special, non-slip padding so you can exercise safely and confidently.

Ground Game
This bar can be deployed on the floor as a solid foundation for push-ups and other calisthenic exercises. With capacity for ab exercises, multiple grip positions, and the ability to be used as a base for push-ups the Door Gym gives you the ability to train your entire upper body.

Cost and Value
This bar is the leader in the door bar category. It has features that you just don’t commonly find on door bars in the same price range. It's highly portable so it's great for travel, and it offers all these features at an unbelievable price.
Pros

Push Up Capability

Rock Climbing Grips

Easy Install

Portable

250 Lb Capacity

Cons

Require Doorway with Trim

No Neutral Grips

10. Perfect Fitness Doorway

10. Perfect Fitness Doorway
The Perfect Fitness Portable Gym is another heavy-duty door bar option. It features an ergonomic design and padded grips for comfort. You can use it for push ups, sit ups, and even dips simply by adjusting its height or deploying it on the floor. There are no brackets, it hangs in you doof frame using your bodyweight to secure it in the frame, so you can easily take it down and store it when you’re done.
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No Drilling
This bar mounts into any standard sized doorway by hanging on the trim and leveraging your own weight against the doorway in order to anchor the bar. There’s no need to drill holes for brackets and damage the door frame. It’s a good option for renters who don’t want to deal with an angry landlord talking about “wall damage”.

Portability
Since there’s no drilling or installing brackets, this bar goes up and down easily. Not only is it super easy to unmount, but it’s also easy to break down as well. It’s simple assembly tools install inside of the bar itself, so they're always at hand and you'll never forget them. It’s great for anyone that travels often and wants to grab a quick work out while out on the road.

Cost and Value
This bar comes in 2 price packages, Elite and Pro. The Elite model includes ergonomic handles but also has a price tag that’s significantly higher than some of the other doorway. The pro model doesn’t have the grips but is pretty much the same otherwise and its price tag is more in-line with the other door bars on our list. The Pro model is a fair deal but, as for the Elite, it’s kind of insane to spend extra money to get features that come standard on other door bars.
Pros

Ground Deployable

Variable Grips

Tool-free Installation

Self-Storing Assembly Tools

One Year Manufacturer Warranty

Cons

No Neutral Grip Set

Extra Cost for Ergonomics

 

With all the available options and features, shopping on a good pull-up bar for your home gym is a little more complicated than it may at first sound, but if you have a good idea of where you want to install it will help you get down to a shortlist much faster. The most important feature to look for is a variety of grip positions. If you have any experience with exercise you know the importance of using different grips and variations to continually challenge your muscles and make them grow, and if you are a beginner it’s important to find a bar that will grow with you as you advance in your training. As long as the bar you want can hold your weight and accommodate your exercise routine everything else is preferential, so find the bars that do the things you need them to do first and then choose the bar you like the most from there. Take your time, do your research, and, most importantly, have fun! With some luck, you’ll find the perfect pull-up bar for your home and you’ll be building up those back muscles in no time.

 

Criteria For Evaluating the Best Pull-Up Bars

man doing gymnastic

Weight Capacity

One of the most important attributes to consider when shopping for a pull-up bar is weight capacity. Obviously, a pull-up bar’s usefulness is limited if it can only support 175 lbs so weight capacity should be evaluated even for the lighter-weight buyers. You never know how your regimen will progress or how much your body will change. You may never crack 175, but maybe you want to step your workouts up by adding a 50 lb weight vest. Now you’re bringing 225 lbs of weight to the bar, and if you bought one that handles only your weight then you might be in the market for a new bar. Weight capacity is important, not only for larger individuals but for anyone who wants a versatile bar that can continue to be useful even as they progress into their exercise regimens.

 

Portability

When it comes to installation, you have a lot of options when buying a pull-up bar. Self-standing, doorway, ceiling, wall, you can put them just about anywhere, but not everyone has a whole room or even an area set aside as a home gym. For them, portability is valuable. The ability to easily put up the bar when you want to exercise and store it again when you’re done, without using tools, is a big plus for people with space limitations. Additionally, business road warriors who travel frequently can get a good back workout on the road using a bar that can travel with them and be easily installed without damaging hotel room walls or doorways. The idea is to get the most versatile bar possible, and a bar that’s portable has even more versatility.

 

Installation Options

Where you are planning to install your new bar is a big determiner of which bar you end up buying. Sometimes, the one you want may not fit your placement options. Maybe your basement gym doesn’t have a door frame or perhaps your den doesn’t have an exposed joist, you’re limited by your own set of unique circumstances in placing your bar. Resultantly, bars that have multiple installation options are inherently more valuable than models that only include brackets for ceilings, for example. You want a bar that will last for a long time and that can adapt to your circumstances as they change. Just because we have a great spot to put a bar today doesn’t mean 2 months from now you won’t have to move it to a different spot for whatever reason, so it’s always a plus when a bar comes with ceiling and wall mounts as opposed to models that include only one mounting option

 

Exercise Variety

A bar isn’t just for pull-ups. You can use them to do ab exercises such as leg lifts and knee raises or even advanced exercises like window washers. The bars that have adjustable height can even be lowered so that you can use them as a platform for even more exercises, like push-ups, dips, or inverted rows. Different grips, such as supinated or neutral grip, allow you to perform different exercise variations that emphasize different muscle groups. A bar that has neutral and/or wide grips gives you more exercise options that a basic straight bar. Here are a few examples of exercises that are available to you depending on grip configuration and leg clearance.

  • Neutral pull-up: Back/Arms Exercise, Requires Parallel Grips. Hands shoulder width apart, palms facing each other.
    This neutral grip is easy on your wrists and lays somewhere between a basic chin up and a pull-up on the difficulty scale. It has a strong effect on the brachialis which in turn pushes out the biceps, increasing the size of your arms. This is a great variation for people with shoulder or wrist injuries because the movement is very natural and doesn’t put as much stress on the joints. You’ll need a set of parallel grips to do this exercise, so if you want to add this exercise into your regimen be sure to look for a bar that has a set.
  • Hanging Leg Raises: Lower Abs Exercise, Requires Leg Clearance. Shoulder width hand placement, comfortable grip.
    Using a comfortable grip, hang down with your arms extended. Keeping your knees straight, raise your legs in front of you until they are parallel with the ground. Lower your legs in a controlled fashion, tensing your ab muscles to slow their descent, and return to starting position. This is a powerful lower exercise for your lower abs, but if you are tall or your bar is too low you may not be able to hang down fully extended. Additionally, if your bar is in a tight area you may not have room to lift your legs up fully extended.
  • Windshield Wipers: Abs and Oblique Exercise, Requires Leg Clearance. Shoulder width hand placement, comfortable grip.
    Warning: this is an ADVANCED EXERCISE that requires substantial core strength and balance. Grip the bar comfortably with your hands approximately shoulder-width apart. Contract your core and lift your toes up to the bar. Yes. Your toes to the bar. I told you it wasn’t easy! Once you’ve got your legs up, twist your legs from one side to the other by twisting your hips and obliques. The movement looks very similar to a car windshield wiper with its oscillating movement from side to side. Again, you need a lot of room to do this exercise. If you get good enough at it to lift your legs up higher than the bar, the ceiling height might even become an issue.

 

person wearing yellow-and-black Reebok low-top athletic shoes hanging on pull-up bar

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are door frame pull-up bars safe?
As long as you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions and adhere to the bar’s safety precautions, door frame bars are perfectly safe. Be sure to read instructions carefully because weight capacity can differ depending on the installation method you choose to use. A door frame bar with brackets may have a 200 lb weight capacity, but if you’re able to use it without the brackets the weight capacity could drop to 150 lbs. Any bar is usually safe as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t misuse the equipment. Be careful doing high-energy exercises, they may put more stress on the bar than it is designed to handle

Q: What is the best bar to use for CrossFit?
CrossFit uses pull-up bars in a very different capacity than your average consumer. A lot of CrossFit exercises involve swinging on the bar and using your body’s momentum to create intensive workouts. The momentum created by these swinging exercises effectively multiplies your body weight and greatly increases the amount of stress on the bar. If you are planning to use your bar for CrossFit you want gym-quality, solid construction. You should look for bars that have weight capacities that a significantly greater than your actual body weight. Keep in mind you also need a lot of room to do some of these exercises, so you want to consider the distance between the wall and even the ceiling in some cases.

Q: What’s the best type of bar for beginners?
I would recommend a reasonably priced door frame bar. Don’t get a cheap one because some of the inexpensive models’ quality is questionable. Bar brackets are easily installed and often use just one screw. You can also easily take the bar down and put it back up so it doesn’t have to be a constant intrusion on the doorway you are using it on. If you decide it’s not for you, the bar brackets can be easily removed without leaving major damage on your door frame and the bar can be easily stored for the next time you want to give pull-ups a try.

Q: How high should I mount my new bar?
The answer varies based on your height. You want to be able to reach up and grip the bar without jumping. If you have to jump to grab the bar you won’t be able to set your grip properly. You can always use a small stool or something to give you a boost, but it’s more convenient just to be able to reach up on your tippy-toes and comfortably set your grip. If you want to be able to hang, however, you’ll have to mount the bar a few inches above your maximum reach so that you’ll be able to hang down, fully extended, without your feet touching the floor. This is necessary for certain types of exercises and it’s also a great way to stretch your lats and decompress your spine. Four inches about your highest reach is close to optimal but experiment to find your preference.

Q: What muscles groups do pull-ups work?
Pull-ups and chin-ups are compound exercises. That means the exercise movement involves multiple muscle groups. Pull-ups and chin-ups are primarily upper body exercises and focus mostly on your back muscles, but they also work other less obvious muscles like your abs, traps, and arms. Different variations of these exercises can be performed simply by changing your grip. Each variation focuses on a different muscle or muscle group. Just keeping your body stable and not swinging involves using your core so when you first start doing pull-ups you’ll be surprised to notice how sore your abs are the day after exercising. Pull-ups can be the foundation of a comprehensive work out regimen and are as vital to building back muscles as the barbell bench press is to build a chest.