The simple pullup is arguably the best upper body exercise out there. A homemade pullup rig is a very easy thing to construct with just a few tools and supplies. I am no handyman by any means, so if I can do it, anyone can.
Drill and Drill Bits
Ratchet and sockets
1x 36 inch galvanized steel ¾ inch pipe (threaded on both ends)
2x 12 inch galvanized steel ¾ inch pipe (threaded on both ends)
2x galvanized steel ¾ inch, 90 degree elbows
2x galvanized steel ¾ inch floor flange
5’ 2”x4” pine board (most boards come in 8’ sections, so cut it down to 5’. I just used 2 pieces of scrap wood I had around the house)
8x ¼ inch, 2-1/2 inches long lag screws
5x 3/8 inch, 4 inches long lag screws
8x ¼ inch flat washers
Assembly / Pre-Drill
Assemble the 36” pipe, 2 elbows, 12” pipes and floor flanges together. Place it on top of the 2x4, center it then mark the floor flange hole locations on the 2x4 with a pencil. Sit the assembled pull-up bar aside. Now you can pre-drill your holes for the floor flange (1/4 inch screws) to prevent any splitting. At this time you can also pre-drill the holes for the 3/8 inch lag screws that will permanently attach the rig to the ceiling. If using 5 screws, drill a hole at 6”, 1’6”, 2’6”, 3’6”, 4’6”. Select a drill bit that is about the same diameter as the screw minus the threads.
Find the stud
If the garage ceiling is covered in drywall be sure to find the studs in the ceiling. They make fancy stud finders and if you have one of those, by all means use it. The ceiling studs will be approximately 16 inches apart from one another. So if you start at the wall and work your way out 16 inches at a time, you should be in the ballpark. From there I use the traditional knock and nail method. Knock on the ceiling in the general desired location of your pull-up bar until you hear or feel something that is a little more solid than everything else. Then just to be sure, take a small nail and hammer it into the drywall. If it hits something solid, you have found it. You will want the pull-up bar to run the same direction as the stud, so determine which way it runs using the same method.
Secure the 2x4
You could attach the 2x4 to the pullup bar permanently before mounting it to the ceiling, but I found it much easier to attach the 2x4 to the ceiling first and then bolt on the pull-up bar. 5 lag screws is more than enough to hold an average person’s body weight. You can use more if you like. I weigh 185 and my bar has not so much as budged. Once you have marked the location of the ceiling stud attach your 2x4 to the ceiling using the lag bolts. What I would do is temporarily attach the 2x4 in place with a couple of nails and then using your pre-drilled holes as a guide, pre-drill into the ceiling studs as well. Use your ratchet and socket, and 5 3/8 inch lag screws to permanently secure it to the ceiling.
Finish the job
Now you can take your ¼ inch lag screws and washers and attach the pull-up rig to the now solid 2x4 on the ceiling. I did this by myself but it would make things much easier if you had an extra pair of hands. Use your rachet and tighten all 8 screws. Just be sure not to over tighten. This can split the board or strip out the hole compromising the strength of the whole rig.
Once you feel like everything is secure, give it a test pull. Pull on it side to side and make sure there is no movement. Then break it in with 100 solid reps. You could also attach rings to the bar and use it for dips or pushups.
Looking for more from Coach about what you can do with your new homemade pullup bar? Check out the videos below: