Introduction: Ceiling Mounted Pull-up Bar

This Instructable shows you how to make a relatively simple pull-up bar that installs in the ceiling. Some other designs require mounting a bar to a 2x4 which is bolted across several joists or studs; with this method, you can just use two simple eye bolts to mount it directly to the joists.

Step 1: Materials

I got all the materials at the hardware store.  It cost less than $30, which was cheaper than the wall or ceiling bars I found online.  You will need:

1  36" length of 1" electrical conduit
4  3/8" quick links
2  3/8" S-hooks
2  3/8" x 4" eye bolts with nuts
2  3/8" x 4 1/2" eye bolts with screw threads
2  3/8" washers

power drill
3/8"  and 5/16" drill bits
measuring tape

Make sure that the hardware you buy has a load rating appropriate for the amount of weight you'll be putting on the bar.  The lowest rated part I used was the eye bolts, and they were rated for 160 lbs.  With two of them, you should be covered under most reasonable use.  All of the measurements and hardware sizes are adjustable - I just bought the heftiest looking parts I could find in the store.  For the bar itself, I chose aluminum so that I could drill easily through it - at this length it was clearly strong enough to support weight without bending.

Step 2: Drill Holes, Add Hardware

Measure in about an inch from each end of your pipe and mark where you're going to drill your holes.  My pipe had seams running down it lengthwise, so I used those to line up the holes on both ends to make sure the bolts would be parallel to each other.

Drill a 3/8" hole all the way through the pipe at each end.  It helps to drill one or more pilot holes to gradually get to the right size, especially if you don't have a drill press.  With a hand drill, this was a little tricky because the bit would tend to catch on the hole edges just as it went through and get stuck - going very gradually with the drill running at a high speed helped that.  

Insert the eye bolts into the holes and thread on a washer and a nut on each end.  Tighten these down firmly with a wrench or pliers.  Next, add a quick link to each eye bolt.  Set the whole thing aside for now.

Step 3: Drill Ceiling Holes

The most frustrating part of this project will probably be locating your ceiling joists.  If you have an electronic stud finder, that will probably be easiest.  Sometimes you can see the screw heads attaching the drywall to the joists - or you might have to tap along with you knuckle and try to hear where the ceiling sounds hollow.  In my case, the ceiling was made of plaster over wood laths, so neither of those methods worked.  I ended up cutting a small access port into the ceiling (about 2" x 3") and poking a wire coat hanger through the hole to locate the joists and determine the direction they were running.

Once you've figured out where the joists are, mark your holes about 34" apart.  Lining them up so the bar is parallel with one joist will make it so you can mount whatever length bar you'd like, rather than using multiples of 16".   Drill straight up with your 5/16" bit for both holes.  It's a good idea to make a pilot hole here too, to verify that you've hit the joist and to make sure you're straight.  

Screw the eyes into the holes - it should be fairly hard to get them in, that way you'll know they're really secure.  You can stick a strong screwdriver through the eye and use that to get leverage to twist them in.  

Step 4: Put It All Together

All that's left is to add two quick links to the ceiling eye bolts, then attach your pull-up bar with the S-hooks.  You're done!  

The bar is free to move a little, but I didn't find that this affected the pull-ups very much.  If anything, it would make it slightly harder, but we're not going to complain about a hard workout, are we?  You can easily stick a band on for assisted pullups, or use the bar as a mounting point for gymnastics rings.  (I wouldn't do any real gymnastics on them though with this mount- just strength training stuff.)  

Have a good workout!