Outdoor Pull-up Bar

If you have watched any of my videos, there is a good chance you have seen me exercising on an outdoor pull-up bar. For example, you can see a demonstration at the 15 second mark within my most recent video.

You can also see a picture of the bar below. I have shared similar images on social media sites such as Instagram. Whenever I post one of these images, my inbox typically fills with questions about how to safely secure a pull-up bar from trees.

outdoor pull-up bar

For starters, it is worth noting that you will not always need to secure a bar outdoors. A strong tree limb is an ideal alternative. I have used the branch seen below for the past three years. It is still holding up well despite repeated use.

My reason for creating the outdoor pull-up station between trees is because it is located at the top of a hill sprint path that I cleared last year (see here). I enjoy integrating hill sprints with other exercises such as pull-ups and sledgehammer swings. Adding an exercise to the top of a hill sprint makes for a tremendous conditioning challenge.

With that in mind, I needed to secure a pull-up bar to the two trees that are located at the top of the hill. I wanted something that was inexpensive yet durable. My solution was to use eye-bolts and a piece of galvanized iron pipe. To attach the pipe, I secured one eye-bolt into each tree. The bolts are lined up perfectly so that the pipe can run through the opening from each bolt. I then turned each bolt a quarter turn more to prevent the pipe from sliding. If you look closely, you’ll notice how the bolt is slightly angled. The result is a pull-up bar that is completely immobile. I cannot even force it to slide out of the bolts.

outdoor pull-up bar connection

As for tree safety, most experts agree that using a single bolt is the preferred solution. A healthy tree will compartmentalize around the wound that is caused by drilling into it. Using multiple screws or nails is more likely to damage the tree. It also becomes more dangerous if the tree is ever cut down. Small nails will eventually become embedded within the tree as new bark grows around it. If you are ever cutting a tree with a chainsaw, the last thing you want is to come across a hidden nail.

In summary, I am not suggesting that anyone copies my approach to creating an outdoor pull-up station. I am simply sharing what has worked well for me. There are certainly other options for outdoor stations, but this inexpensive set-up has proved quite useful and durable.

For additional homemade equipment ideas, please refer to the following page:

Homemade Equipment Archives

+++++

“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project”. – Napoleon Hill

Please like & share:

11 comments:

  1. Awesome set up, Ross. I know you mentioned that the bar doesn’t slide laterally after the quarter turn. But does the quarter turn also prevent the bar from rolling? Thanks

  2. @Rohan – I don’t recall the exact length, but it isn’t hammered in. It needs to be manually screwed in.

  3. @Tristan – 3/4 inch iron pipe. The eye-bolt is simply one that was large enough for the 3/4 inch pipe to run through. That mattered more than the actual length (which is a few inches from what I recall).

  4. Yours is the best explanation of how to set up a pull-up bar between trees. It’s also probably the lowest cost and easiest method I saw too.

    I just got the eyelet screws today and have measured between my best set of trees for the pipe. The screws took a while to find with the 1/2″ interior diameter but that gave me time to check out different pipe options and I found some in the plumbing area that have a sort of coating on them that looks like it will hold up well outside. Your note on the extra quarter turn to prevent sliding should be extremely helpful.

    Thanks for posting this.
    Just for the legal record…I am not installing stainless steel eyelet screws each capable of holding 350 pounds into two trees to hold a bar to suspend human weight based in any way on your suggestion. ;p

    1. Follow-up on my earlier post…
      I have had the bar in place and used it for about a month and a half now. It works OK. The method of putting it up described in the article is fine. My problem was/is that I could not find any bolts to hold anything bigger than a 1/2 pipe. While I like the thin pipe as far as grip it does not feel as solid as I would like.
      This is not because of the way it is mounted, it’s simply that a 1/2 inch pipe will bend. I weigh about 170lbs and the pipe is 6 feet long mounted on two trees about 5 – 5 1/2 feet apart. The one thing I did do that has helped a little…and would have helped quite a bit if I had done it before the bar got a slight bend in it from using it…is that I put 5 feet of Rebar inside the pipe and then poured sand in to fill in space around the Rebar (the pipe was threaded so I screwed on end caps). If I could have gotten Rebar to the exact length of the pipe it would be better. The sand in combination with the Rebar makes the bar almost seem solid, not hollow and there is no longer that little bit of ‘bounce’ when I jump up and grab on.

      I would recommend really looking around and trying to find eye screws that can handle a 3/4 pipe. If you can’t get them that size then get Rebar to fit as close to the entire length of the bar and slide it inside. Add the sand to fill in any ‘bend’ space left between the interior of the pipe and the Rebar. the other thing that would probably help is if I did not have as wide a space between trees. This was my first attempt and cost about $15 so I’m happy with it. I have about 10 acres of pine trees so I could see trying a similar concept to hang rings or a bag off of. The idea of a heavy bag intrigues me because I wouldn’t want to keep it outside which would force me to carry it in and out whenever I used it…and that would be another great workout.

      1. @Martin – Thanks for the comment, but it’s somewhat surprising that you couldn’t locate larger bolts. It’s a fairly standard piece of hardware. I’ve had several people post pictures to Instagram of similar configurations. Anyways, I’m glad that you were able to make something work. Hopefully others can benefit from it if they find themselves in a similar position.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *