How to Do Pull-Ups Without a Pull-Up Bar

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In our continuing series of improvised home workout gear, today we’re going to talk about how to do pull-ups or inverted rows at home. If you’re used to doing pull-ups on a bar or using cable machines like a lat pulldown, that’s hard to recreate with home equipment. But you do have a few options.

Don’t give up on the possibility of a bar

We’ll get into the no-bar options in a minute, but first, are you sure you can’t install a pull-up bar? There are three main types:

Bars that you can install at the top of the door frame with screws. These are very secure, but you need to be willing and able to put holes in your door frame.

Bars that tension into the inside of the door frame like a shower curtain rod. Pay attention to the maximum weight on these, and be sure to install them correctly so they don’t slip.

Bars that wedge onto the door frame. These are easiest to install and don’t require any screw holes, but they may not fit all types of doors (for example, those in corners).

These bars may not be as secure as what you’re used to at the gym, so unless you are very sure of your installation, strict pull-ups are probably going to be safer than the kipping kind where you swing your body on each rep.

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