Hanging a pull-up bar between two trees

I recently purchased a new home, which my wife and I are really enjoying. Since we bought the house, we have been slowly adding to our Crossfit home gym (if you could call it that).

We have a large unfinished basement, but it is a very low ceiling height [7ft]. While this is ok to hang a pull up bar to use for toes to bar or knees to elbows, it’s not ideal for kipping pull ups. I know I could build a free-standing pull up bar like you’d see in the park with 4x4s and steel pipe, but that wasn’t what I was going for with my backyard. I already have enough crap hanging out on my carport most the time, and the kid’s swing set takes up enough yard space. I wanted something semi-portable.

After searching and thinking and searching and thinking, I finally made a decision of what I was going to try. I started pulling together the pieces this morning, and the next thing I know, it was done. What follows is a semi-detailed account of what I did to make this:

Pull up bar hung between two trees, useful in crossfit WODS.
Pull up bar hung between two trees, useful in crossfit WODS.

When I decided I wasn’t going to make a standalone pull-up station, I thought through the best solution, then I saw the two trees and from that point it was only a matter of putting two and two together.

The Bar

For the bar itself, I bought a 4 foot long black iron pipe (I could’ve gotten galvanized steel, and maybe I should’ve but I like that black pipe…if it starts to rust, I’ll paint it). I also bought end caps so that the pipe formed a solid bar.

Next, I drilled a 5/16″ hole about 1/8 of an inch past the threads on either side through the pipe, and inserted 5/16″ eye bolts with a washer and a bolt on the bottom side.

I also purchased a 7/16″ spring-loaded locking clip to make attaching it / detaching it quick and easy.

The Rig

After reading through several possible methods, I stumbled upon a guy saying he used tree stand straps for his, which I got, but they didn’t work out. What I did find instead, were hammock straps. The ones pictured might not be the ones I stick with, because I actually have a hammock that I might use them for. I think these straps might work out better.

This process was actually dead simple. I wrapped and looped the hammock straps, and used the tee end for the carabinier, then hooked the bar up and there it was.

These are the advantages of this rig that I’m very excited about.

  1. The pull-up bar is modular – With this setup I am able to take it down, and easily move it to my basement in the middle of the winter or in the rain — won’t be able to kip, but it’s better than getting wet and slipping off the bar.
  2. The rig doesn’t damage the trees – I was wary of damaging the trees by drilling into them and constantly pulling on them, plus I didn’t want a massively complicated solution.
  3. I am able to use this for rings and possibly a rope too – Instead of only setting up a pull-up station, this is more flexible, so now I can get rings, and hang them and do muscle-ups and ring-dips / ring push-ups.
  4. It isn’t an eyesoreAnd I don’t have to mow around it.

Here’s a Video to illustrate further:

The Cost:

  • Hammock Straps: $15
  • 1″ x 48″ Black Iron Pipe: $12.66
  • 2 – 1″ Black Iron Caps: $3.38
  • 2 – 5/16″ x 3-1/4″ Eye Bolts: $1.16
  • 2 – 7/16″ Spring Snap Linkages: $7.58
  • 1 – 5/16″ Drill Bit [might not be needed]: $7.68
  • Total Cost: $47.46 ($39.98 without the drill bit)

I’m very excited about this thing. I did a workout on it tonight in fact, and it works great!

[EDIT: My wife reminded me that putting the pull-up bar between the trees was her idea, she’s right. It was]


3 responses to “Hanging a pull-up bar between two trees”

  1. Krysttian Avatar

    So you can kipp just fine with this guy? hows all the swinging?

    1. Hi Krysttian,

      I haven’t found the swinging to be prohibitive to my workouts. It does get difficult to control butterfly kips, but you get used to it pretty quickly. In fact, I think my wife was able to learn the kip faster because of the swinging.

      I still want to build a static pullup bar station, but this has worked well for me for the past year or so.

  2. Alexander Avatar

    Brilliant design! Affordable and environmental-frendly. I’ve just replicated this whole system, with minimal changes, at my place here in Russia and it works surprisingly well. Thank you, Joseph!

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