If you are serious about working out your back, shoulders and chest, a pull-up bar is a great addition to your home gym. Ceiling-mounted bars are superior to doorway or wall-mounted bars because they allow more space for you to exercise. A ceiling-mounted bar allows space to do pull-ups with crunches, hip flexion and leg twists -- moves that are difficult with doorway and wall-mounted bars.
Features to Look For
Besides the basic straight bar, some bars come with additional handles that allow many different hand positions or grips. Foam covering on the straight bar and handles will add comfort, and movable handles make the bar more versatile. Look for a bar with at least 10 inches of clearance from the ceiling so you will be able to pull your head all the way over the bar. If you have a high ceiling, look for a bar that extends 15 inches from the ceiling. Most bars are made for 8-foot ceilings. If your ceiling is higher, you might need a step or exercise bench to approach the bar.
With a ceiling-mounted chin bar, durability and strength are key. Studbarpullup.com sells a seriously sturdy bar. The Stud Bar is made from welded 14 gauge steel with triangular gussets for added strength. It has a 600-lb. capacity, so even if you weigh 350 lbs. and hold a 50-lb. weight plate between your legs, you still have nothing to worry about. Stud Bar comes in three lengths to accommodate different ceiling heights, and its 48-inch width allows for wide-grip pull-ups. Several Crossfit enthusiasts give this bar high reviews. The Stud Bar sells for $139 and includes a lifetime warranty.
Glaser Ultimate Ceiling Mount Bar
The Glaser Ultimate Ceiling Mount Bar by Easy Effort is its best-seller. This bar has fixed, wide-grip handles and an additional set of handles that can be adjusted 360 degrees to any position. The center of the bar and the handles are covered with comfortable foam. Total width is 45 inches, and maximum weight capacity is 375 lbs. This bar sells for $119.95 at easychin.com. Several models are available with longer mounting bars for high ceilings.
TDS's Rafter Mount Chin Up Bar
If you have exposed joists on your ceiling, consider the Rafter Mount Chin Up bar by TDS. At just $21, this 48-inch straight bar earns a five-star rating from buyers on Amazon.com for its simple but highly functional design. For $29, you can purchase a bar with angled, wide-grip handles. For an additional $19, you get a set of neutral grip handles to attach to the bar. Prices are as of January 2011.
Installing a ceiling-mounted chin-up bar is serious business. It's best to hire a contractor to do the job. If you do it yourself, make sure to anchor the bar to studs or joists in the ceiling. As with any new exercise regimen, get your doctor's approval before you start.