My workout space at home

When my wife and I bought our house back in 2013 we had to give up a number of things in order to balance our budget so that we could afford the monthly instalments on the mortgage. One of the things I sacrificed was my gym membership which meant that I had to start getting creative with my approach to fitness.

I started using workout apps with great success but soon realised that I need a dedicated space at home where I can do my workouts. I didn’t need much, only a pull-up bar and open floor space of about 3m x 2m.

Now I’ve had this space before. A makeshift area at the back of the house which can be seen in one of my earlier posts. However apart from the love I have for my family, very little else really last forever. So I had to give up that space when we decided to do some renovations.

I was left without a pull-up bar and no dedicated area where I can train.

But, thanks to a YouTube video that inspired me to build my own pull-up bar I am proud to announce that I’m back in business (so to speak)

To build this pull-up bar I used;

  • 3, 900mm x 800mm pieces of  18mm plywood,
  • 2, 90mm x 90mm x 3-meter wooden beams that were salvaged from a shipping crate
  • 4, 200mm lengths of 3/4″ steel pipe with caps
  • 6, 150mm lengths of 8mm threaded rod with matching raw-bolts, nuts and washers.

The tools I used was an electric saw, a cordless drill, a hole saw kit and a borrowed hand-held plainer and some clamps. There was also some welding to be done, for which I enlisted the help of a friend.

Now at this point, I should point out that I am by no means a skilled tradesman. A number of DIY projects I have completed are 3, all with questionable workmanship.

Never the less.

I started by clamping, marking a cutting the 3 pieces of plywood diagonally across so that I would have 6 pieces that I could glue together to make two supports, through which the bar would go and would ultimately become the supports that would extend the pull-up bar away from the wall.

Next, I turned my attention to the beams, which as I mentioned were salvaged from a shipping crate. That means they were pretty rough, so I used the borrowed hand-held plainer to neaten them up a little before cutting them to size.

As you will see from the photos below of the finished project, I mounted the beams under the roof of my stoep(porch), which is why I had to cut the beams down to 2,7m from their original length of 3m.

When the triangular pieces of plywood were stuck together and the glue properly dried, I used a hole saw kit and my cordless drill to bore holes in the plywood supports as well as corresponding holes in the wooden beams. I had to make sure that the bar would be at an appropriate height so that I could hang from the bar with my arms fully extended, while it is still low enough to prevent me from bashing my head against the roof at the top of a pull-up. The height I chose is 2.4M(7.8ft), which is just about perfect from my standing height of 1.82m(5.9ft).

I must admit that I could have been I little more patient at this stage. The diameter of the wholes that I made in the triangular supports, turned out to be too big for the pipe and steel bar I had. However, this ended up being a blessing in disguise as the increased tolerances compensated for the lack of accurate measurements. Besides, it all worked out just fine in the end.

Before finally assembling and mounting my pull-up bar, I asked a friend who could weld to help my securing two small pieces of flat steel bar to the ends of the bar. PB1He also pre-drill a hole through each piece so that the bar could be bolted to the plywood supports to stop it from turning in my hands when I hang from it.

Next, I marked and drilled holes in the beam and the wall where I wanted to secure the beam. to the wall. I Made very sure that the beams were wide enough apart so that the bar would be long enough for me to wide grip and eventually also type-writer pull-ups. That width turned out to be about 1.5M.

The bolts that came with the raw bolt anchors were just a tiny bit too short, so I used a threaded rod instead to secure the beams place.

From the start, the idea was to build a pull-up bar structure that could be removed when needed and be height adjustable. IMG_7685Which is why I added little pieces of off-cut on the side of the beams to rest the supports on while I insert the steel pipe through the holes to secure supports in place.

So now I have a piece of workout equipment at home that I could use for a variety of exercises and that is removable for the times that we have friends over and want to entertain in the area where I would normally do my workouts.

It’s a win-win for me and my wife.


I mentioned that my design was inspired by a video o saw on YouTube. Here is that video.


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