Despite what you may have heard about the economy, $15 can still get you quite a bit. CDs, DVDs, fruit platters, or cargo shorts, it can all be yours for that small sum. In my wanton spending days, I've thrown $15 on the counter many a times without even thinking but the best use of three five dollar bills I've ever found was a door jamb pull up bar. Exciting, I know, but bear with me.
The Pull Up Bar
Door jamb pull up bars are exactly what they sound like – bars installed in your doorway to perform exercises on. Groundbreaking! At first glance, they look cheap and silly, but believe me, they're sturdy and well worth the investment. The bars install easily – you simply screw in the bar supports on both sides, tuck the bar in and extend it out. Presto. Installation takes all of maybe 4 minutes and you're ready to hammer away all day, as long as you weigh under 250 or so pounds. Most bars even come with comfortable foam grips that easily change position for a wide variety of grip distances, yet they stay in place while performing the pulls. All of this from a little bar in your doorway that doesn't even obstruct the doors operation.
Obviously if you're installing one of these, you probably had the same goal as I did – perform more pull ups. But that's not all these are good for. With the sliding grips you can perform pull ups from a variety of distances, from close grip to wide grip (as wide as your door frame). Flip your hands around and you can rock out with chin-ups just as easily with the same variety of hand positions. Need more? How about extending your legs and stabilizing your core during the work out? Or, just hang from the bar and you can do hanging leg raises until your abs pop. Integrating these moves with a routine of push ups, sit ups, planks, and body weight squats gives you a total body workout all within your own home or bedroom.
The pull up is an awesome exercise. When you're at the gym and you rock out four sets of twelve pull ups, people take notice. It's an exercise not everyone can do. Make no mistake – they're hard. Just eight months ago, I would struggle to do six pull ups. I tried doing other exercises, like lat pull downs, to help increase my strength. I used the assisted machine. None of it worked. Then I found the answer, which should have been obvious – do more pull ups. That's really the only way to get better and stronger at this exercise. Nothing is better for building wide lats that spread like wings either. After just a few weeks of working out in my doorway, I was belting out sets of ten. Walking through the doorway always felt like a challenge, so I'd grab onto the bar and rip three or four just on my way to the kitchen for a glass of water. I posted a piece of paper on the door and kept track of how many I'd do in a day – sometimes I'd rack up over one hundred pull ups in just one day. My friends got in on it too and soon we were competing. I went from struggling to get six pull ups in to doing 21 in a row. All from a $15 piece of metal shoved in my doorway.
There is no reason why you shouldn't have one of these. They offer a great work out, require little expense, and are easy to install. Once the bar is there, you'll find yourself grabbing on and hauling yourself up randomly through out the day and every week you'll be able to do more and more pull ups, creating a better body and an increased sense of worth. So skip eating out once this week or put that DVD back on the shelf and rent it instead. Take that cash and put it towards a pull up bar. It's a move you won't regret.