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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

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

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7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Daniel W. June 11th, 2014 11:34 am

    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. admin June 11th, 2014 5:12 pm

    @Daniel – Yes, the bar is pretty much stationary. I did not want it spinning around on me.

  3. [...] Klimmzugstange zur Hand? Dann organisiere Dir einfach selber eine – im Wald! Auf Ross Training erfährst Du, wie das [...]

  4. Rohan July 1st, 2014 6:13 pm

    Ross, how long is the schank of the eye bolt you used here? Did you just hammer it into the tree?

  5. admin July 2nd, 2014 5:10 am

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

  6. Tristan August 10th, 2014 7:20 pm

    What size bar and eye bolt did you use?

  7. admin August 11th, 2014 5:06 am

    @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).

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