How to Build a Garage Pull-Up Bar

electric drill image by Valentin Mosichev from

A pull-up is a one of the best exercises for the back, shoulders and arms and is often the most challenging movement to execute. Improving pull-up performance requires more time on the pull-up bar. Armed with a few tools and some space in your garage, you can have your own dedicated pull-up training center.

Check joist spacing. To make the pull-up bar stable, you need to bold the mounting board should across multiple ceiling joists. Most joists are spaced 16 inches apart, but climb into the space above your garage and measure the joists to be sure. Note the direction the joists are running and then decide a location for your mounting board that runs perpendicular to joists so your board is bolted across at least three separate joists.

Locate each joist in the garage using a stud finder, or by drilling small test holes in the drywall ceiling. Attach the 2-inch by 6-inch board to the ceiling using the 1/4-inch by 2-1/2-inch lag bolts and washers. Drill 5/16-inch pilot holes for each of the lag bolts to make it easier to get them screwed in the board and joist. Use at least two bolts for each joist. Once mounted, test the board to make sure it is not loose and does not wiggle.

Assemble the bar by threading one elbow connector on each end of the 3-foot section of 1 1/2-inch conduit. Attach a 2-foot section of 1 1/2-inch conduit to the other opening of the elbow. You should now have the pipe assembled in the shape of a large U. Thread a flange on each end of the 2-foot section of pipe. Place the entire bar assembly on a level surface, flange-side down, so you can make sure the bar is not twisted.

Hold the bar to the mounting platform and drill pilot holes using the flange holes as your guide. Bolt the pull-up bar flanges to the mounting platform using the 5/16-inch by 3-inch lag bolts and washers.

Pull down on the bar to test that it is mounted properly and then hang your weight from the bar. Next, swing back and forth to test the lateral stability of the bar to the mounting board and the mounting board to the garage ceiling. If there is any movement, re-tighten the lag bolts.


You can change the length of the vertical arms to make it easier to grab the bar. You will want at least 2 feet of clearance so you will not bang your head on the ceiling when in the top position of the pull-up. Note that the longer the vertical arms are, the less stable the bar will be. Attach gymnastic rings from the bar to give your more exercise options. Attach a 3-inch eye bolt to one end of the mounting board to hang a heavy bag.


Make sure the mounting platform is securely bolted to the garage joists before attempting to do a pull-up. Re-tighten each bolt, if necessary, at the end of the month to ensure a solid connection to the joists.