Introduction: How to Make a Homemade Chin Up Bar for Under $5

Pullups are one of the three essential exercises in the core bodyweight total body workout trifecta: pushups, pullups, and bodyweight squats.

Just doing these three exercises can get you into amazing shape. Herschel Walker, for example, has used a daily routine of simple bodyweight exercises like these (including around 1,000 pushups per day(!)) to achieve NFL stardom and a pro MMA career at age 45!

So let’s get started. Thig guide was provided by Workout Family, and here is what you’ll need:

  • Around 10 feet of polypropylene trucker’s rope. (20 cents per foot)
  • 1 foot of 1″ diameter white pvc pipe (20 cents per foot)
  • A drill with a 1/8″ and 1/2″ drill bit (if you don’t have a 1/2″ bit, don’t worry, just find the closest size you can)
  • *(optional)* A tie down strap

Step 1: Cut Pipe

Go to your local hardware store and see if you can find a foot or so of pvc pipe. Ideally, try to get some grey pvc – this is schedule 80 pipe and has a thicker wall than the standard white pvc pipe.

I had around a foot of white pipe laying around, so I used that. I marked off two points around 1/2″ in from each end, centered on the pipe’s printed text to keep the holes aligned:

Step 2: Drill Holes

I then drilled the holes – first with a smaller 1/8″ bit, then with a bigger bit. The hole still wasn’t big enough for the rope, so I rotated the drill while drilling the hole, expanding the hole with the sides of the drill bit:

Step 3: Cut Rope to Length

Cut around 10 feet of the polypropylene trucker’s line. Tape the cut point with some masking tape, cut it, and then melt the ends with a lighter to keep the rope from unraveling.

Step 4: Thread Rope Through Handle

First, thread the rope through the pipe, passing in one hole and out the other, as shown here. Threading the rope through these holes prevents the pipe from rotating while you are gripping it, making it much easier to hang onto.

Step 5: Tie Handle

Now we need to tie the handle loop. We will use the ever-useful bowline knot, and add a bit of extra security by making it a double-bowline. Here’s how to tie the double bowline knot:

Step 6: Step 1:

First, take the free end of the rope, then pass it over and tuck it underneath the standing part, as shown here:

Step 7:

Once the free end is tucked under the rope’s standing part, pull the free end to form a small loop in the standing part:

Step 8:

You now will have the free end passing through a small loop in the standing part, see below:

Step 9:

Now we will repeat steps 1-3, forming another loop for our double bowline. First, pass the free end over the standing part:

Step 10:

As in steps 1-2, continue to pass the free end over and tuck it under the standing end, to form another loop, as shown here.

Step 11:

You should now have the free end passing through two identical loops in the standing part. Below is a closeup. Make sure that your loops look just like these

Step 12:

Now pass the free end behind the standing end

Step 13:

Now the free end travels through the two loops, following the arrow as shown here

Step 14:

Tuck the free end through the loops

Step 15:

Here is what the knot should look like at this point

Step 16:

Tighten the knot by pulling on the free end and standing part

Step 17:

Tighten the second loop by pulling the big loop in opposite directions as shown here

Step 18: Option #1 – Tie It On

For a more permanent setup (although you will get really quick with these knots as you tie them more and more) you can set up your pullup bar like this.

Just thread the rope through the holes in the bar, and tie a double bowline at each end of the rope, looping over the overhead object as shown above.

Step 19: Option #2 – Use a Cinch Strap

If you have a cinch strap/tie down strap lying around, mounting your new diy chin up bar can be pretty simple:

Just throw the strap over your overhead object, pass it through the pullup bar’s loop, and cinch it to what ever length you want.

For safety’s sake, tie a couple half hitches through the loop to secure it fully.

Be Safe

  1. This setup is strong, but it’s only as strong as the object you tie to. I weigh 210, and have done weighted pullups with 50 lbs on this setup. But choose your overhead object wisely – a strong 4 x 12 beam is best.
  2. Polypropylene rope doesn’t do too well when left out in the sun for days on end. So if you plan on using this setup outside, store it indoors when you’re done.
  3. Also, check your rope before each workout to make sure there isn’t any fraying or other potentially compromising damage.