Doing Pull-Ups on a Door

Pull-ups are an effective and challenging upper body exercise. Pull-ups develop the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back, your biceps in the front of your upper arms and your forearm muscles. Traditionally performed using a pull-up bar, this exercise can also be performed using a door. This variation is ideal for people who are on the road, away from the gym or just don't have the space for a pull-up bar at home.

A woman is hanging from a pull up bar. (Image: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Performing a Door Pull Up

Step 1

Open the door and wedge it fully open to minimize the risk of it swinging shut and injuring your hands. Ensure there is sufficient clearance above the door so your head won't hit the ceiling.

Step 2

Place the hand towel over the top of the door to minimize the risk of getting splinters in your hands.

Step 3

Facing the door, reach up and place your hands over the top of the door. Make sure you have a secure grip. Your hands should be around shoulder-width apart.

Step 4

Lift your feet off the floor and bend your legs. Your thighs, abdomen and chest should all be in contact with the door.

Step 5

Pull strongly with your arms and drag your body up the door until your chin is above the top of the door. Hold this top position for one to two seconds.

Step 6

Extend your arms and slowly lower your body back down the door until you are in the starting position.

Step 7

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Things You'll Need

  • Strong door

  • Door wedge

  • Hand towel


Wearing gardening gloves or something similar can make gripping the top of the door easier and more comfortable than using a towel.

Try to arch your back slightly and lift your chest to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise.

You can make this exercise more demanding by wearing a backpack or other weight.

To make this exercise easier, secure a resistance band around your feet and over the top of the door to give you a boost.


Test the door before performing this exercise--only use doors that are strong enough. You probably shouldn't use doors on a residence you're renting, unless you want to pay for the damage caused by hanging on the door. Look for steel commercial doors; also make sure the door you choose has three or more sets of hinges. Do not use doors with glass panels.

Pull-ups are a demanding exercise--only perform this exercise is you are sufficiently strong.

Make sure you are not wearing anything that will scratch the door such as a heavy belt buckle.

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