Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trial & Error: Pull Up Bars

According to P90X, the only equipment necessary to get through the program are a pull-up bar and either a set of weights or elastic resistance bands. (Obviously, you also need a TV and DVD player, and for yoga and some of the cardio routines, a padded mat is a good idea. Also: a water bottle, some yoga blocks, a towel, and a barf bag.)

I already have a set of adjustable dumbbells (Bowflex SelectTechs), so all I needed was a pull-up bar before getting started. Clicking around on, I found a bunch of power towers with pull-up bars of different grip configurations, and ended up buying this one, thinking it would suffice for P90X.

Wrong. Most power towers, including the one I purchased, are perfectly fine for wide grip pull-ups, but they lack the center section of bar needed for close-grip pull-ups and chin-ups. And of course, P90X features tons of close-grip pull-ups and chin-ups. I didn't realize this before spending an entire evening assembling my enormous new power station. After all the sweat equity I put into this behemoth, there's no way in hell I'm disassembling and returning it.

So on to Plan B: I bought a pull-up bar that attaches and detaches from a door frame without fasteners or marks on the frame. It's virtually identical to the one sold by Beachbody, and it's cheaper to boot. Perfect, right?

Wrong again. After it arrived and I put it together, I discovered that this pull-up bar doesn't fit either of the doors in our garage-slash-home gym. Our door frames are about an inch too deep.

So here's Plan C: I'm buying a rafter-mounted pull-up bar. No frills -- just a piece of heavy-duty steel that I'm going to bolt to our rafters.

The silver lining? I'll have three separate pull-up stations in the house, so if anyone wants to come over and crank out some pull-ups, let me know.