I want to work up to doing more pull-ups, but have access to only a very minimal gym (i.e., without a pull-up bar), and then no gym after that, for a month.

What are the best ways to work the muscles needed for pull-ups without access to any equipment (e.g., bars, weights, bands, jungle-gyms, etc.)?

  • This is a really good question, and one I've struggled with myself (I'm a big fan of pullups). I'll see about writing my thoughts and experiences in the matter later.
    – VPeric
    Aug 6, 2011 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


If you have nothing to pull yourself up to, the next best thing is rowing.

The two most practical kinds of rows without a gym are:

inverted rows which can be done under a table

inverted row

and dumbbell rows which you can do with various heavy objects that have a handle, like a bottle-crate (preferably the kind that has the handle in the middle).

enter image description here

But you should still go outside and find yourself some bar to to a pull-up with, like on a playground. Carry-over from a similar exercise is not as good as the real thing.

  • 1
    The pulling up on a table is a good one. The dumbbells could be replaced with a heavy suitcase or a large canister of water/sand. Good suggestions!
    – Ivo Flipse
    Aug 6, 2011 at 10:25

Here's a link to some 'alternatives'.

I use an iron gym pull up bar that fits in a door frame. I need to tuck my legs up, but find it challenging and provides for pull/chin and neutral ups. I'm 6' 215 lbs – so it's stable.

  • +1 on the iron gym pull up bar, I'm 6'4" 285 lbs and it supports my lardy self. I can't do pull-ups yet, but I'm getting there :D
    – Jonas
    Aug 10, 2011 at 22:55
  • How much pressure does the iron gym pull up bar put on the door trim on the outsides of the door. My door trim is pretty crappy and I don't want to pull the bar down on myself.
    – empty
    Jan 29, 2016 at 18:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.