Pullups are Primal

On January 24, 2016, in Healthy Living, Home Gym, Pull Up Bar, Pull Up Bar Tips, Pullups, by StudBar Pull Up Bar

Don’t Deny where you’ve been

We’ve mapped this territory before: Turn on any late night program, or scan through the seemingly endless array of Fitness Magazines, and you’ll inevitably be touched by the craze du jour–be it “functional fitness,” “crazy fitness,” “boom shaka lacka technique,” Kettlebell Hell routines, Special Ops Tactical Strength and Conditioning, you get it. The cottage industries sprout like dandelions, the infomercials soon follow, and the water cooler braggadocio erupts, centered around “you’ve got to try this new (insert device, insert program)–it will change your life!” The sad truth is, that these trends pass, no matter how earth changing or true they seem in the moment.

Or maybe not.

Gone Primitive

Discard the the current trend that’s centered around a return to our heritage, our Primal Selves, and you could be doing yourself a disservice–for there are simple truths, anchored in our DNA that are aligning the needs of humanity with the needs of the Marketing types that want to sell you on the next best thing. The next best thing isn’t really the next best thing. It’s the thing that we’ve needed all along.

Let’s start with the focus on the return to a Primal Diet and Lifestyle. The PaleoLithic Nutrition Movement is gaining traction, focusing on quality of ingredients, staying away from processed foods, as well as eating less and more infrequently and remarkably shows dramatic changes in relieving many ailments previously thought to be unrelated to diet. People are eating better and feeling better. There’s a shift in way we value our work/life culture. Lifestyle Gurus are on the rise, not to be confused with the gimmicky carnival barkers that rang hollow, rather, replaced by sound practitioners that walk what they talk. The Primal Blueprint, and Mark Sisson come to mind, certainly there are many others.

It’s cachet to say that our sleep exceeded 8 hours, and that our lives have become simpler–whereas the culture of yesteryear valued and exalted the “working man” and “career woman” that never tired– yet seemingly found time for an infinite number of responsibilities.

Business Man

Still valued, but not championed

business woman with cell phone

Is this the hallmark of success?

fishing net

Or is there a way to achieve work/life balance?

Functional isn’t a Fad

Much in the same way that the word “functional” had been co-opted by manufacturers seeking to create marketing niches, it’s now being reclaimed for what it is: simplicity. The problem is, it that simplicity doesn’t naturally translate into widgets. The successful gym model of our the 21st century to date has relied on a business model that maximized memberships, created safety and low-skilled movement patterns, and didn’t necessarily care about the results that were being achieved, rather, cared about the “packaging” of it’s look and feel. Shiny machines located in formation, sexy music, and fit looking fitness guides are part of this glossy package, as if to create a cozy “If/Then” equation in the prospects mind: “If I enter here, and use these machines, I will look like that!” Too often, these noble souls are left wanting, with the only consistency achieved being the monthly auto-debit from their checking accounts.

There’s a Better Way

Functional movements are found in nature, they’re the movements that we not only grew up with as toddlers, but they are the movements that we see in our everyday life–whether it’s lifting a suitcase and placing in the overhead bin on a plane, carrying a child, sitting and rising, helping an injured animal and the like. If you’re pushing, pulling, raising and lowering your center of mass, you are doing functional work.

If you think about it, pulling is one of the most primal movements that have allowed us to survive. Any parent can attest to the strength of the grasp of our beloved children when they cling to us.


Is there a connection?

man pulling rope

between this,

Man climbing coconut tree

and this?

Doing Pullups in the gym, at the park, or by necessity in austere locations (think: firefighter pulling himself to a ledge) grounds us in a rich history of human movement, and just feels right. There’s something cozy about the notion that we are engaging in the primal, much in the same way that we enjoy the fruits of eating well, living a balanced lifestyle, sleeping well, . Know that the next time your hands wrap around the bar, that you are participating in a ritual that transcends time, status, or even species.

Pulling is Primal, Pulling is Healthy, and Pulling is True.

Pulling is You.

How to Prevent Blisters When Doing Pullups

On November 29, 2013, in Accessories, Home Gym, by StudBar Pull Up Bar

brenda wallacePosted by

Blisters hurt, and while they might be seen as a sort of Crossfit badge, they still hurt. Here at Stud Bar Pullup Bar, we’ve been wracking our brains to try to come up with a mechanical solution to prevent blisters while doing pullups. After all, we want you to enjoy your kipping, your WODs (Here’s looking at you, Angie!), and all of the other great activities associated with getting fit and using your body as an exercise machine.

Pay attention to your grip
By moving your grip on the bar from the middle of your palm to the base of your fingers, you can save your hands from the blisters and callouses which form while you’re using the bar. We’d rather you get the chance to work out more than get sidelined by medical issues. Your hands are precious, and should be used for something more than pullups.

Use less chalk
The right amount of chalk absorbs excess moisture in your hands, giving you a better grip on the bar. You can also be drying out your hands too much to start causing blisters while doing pullups. Keep this in mind as you’re wiping your hands down with chalk right before your workout.

Get a smaller, textured barSmaller Stud Bar Pullup Bar with Textured Grip
We’ve designed a bar with a slightly smaller diameter, one which has a more textured grip. This new bar has been received well by garage pullup enthusiasts. There is plenty of grip with no slip with the new powder coat texture. When you change your grip, you do not slip. And, with a bar that is designed to fit your hands, you can push yourself further without worrying about those callouses and blisters from your kipping and WODs.

We aim to make your experience with pullups the best that it can possibly be. While you might have sore muscles in your body weight exercises, we don’t want you to have sore hands as well. They’re not a badge, they just hurt.

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brenda wallacePosted by

Any bodyweight exercise relies on three components for it to work:
(1) Resistance (2) Distance (3) Stability

Change any one of these and you’ll have a variation that you can try in any bodyweight exercise. The pushup shows this the best. Doing pushups with your hands higher than your feet (incline pushups) are easier than doing pushups on the floor. Your arms have less resistance to work against. Moving your hands wider or narrower than the shoulders change which muscles are needed for the pushup, which can make things easier or more difficult. Stability can be altered by placing your hands on basketballs or another round surface.
The same principles also apply to your pull ups. Here’s a bunch of pull up variations that demonstrate these three principles quite clearly, and how to do them.

1-2: Basic pull up and chin up

Before you can vary, you need to know the classical form! Grasp the bar with your palms outward (pull up) or inward (chin up) about shoulder width apart. Pull your body upward until your chin completely clears the bar. You may find it helpful to think of pulling your elbows down to the floor and pushing your chest upward. Lower yourself back down with control. Ideally, keep your body from swinging as much as possible.
Here’s a really good, if a little cheesy, exercise plan that you can use to get yourself the strength for both pull ups and chin ups. The only problem is that this guy needs a Stud Bar and not that flimsy DIY thing!

3-4: Assisted pull up and chin up

An assisted pull up or chin up removes some of the resistance and makes the exercise easier. There’s several ways to do this. A partner can hold your feet, or you can stand on something. Some people use strong resistance bands hooked over the bar. There’s even assisted pull up machines in many gyms. Experiment! Another form of this is to have someone raise you up to the top position, then letting go while you control the descent. These are called “negatives.”
Here’s an example of some of these assisted variations to go with the ones you learned in the first video, as demonstrated by Stud Bar staff:

5-8: Wide and narrow pull up and chin up

To do these, just move your hands wider or narrower than the standard pull up or chin up position. In general, the wider your hands are the more you’ll feel it in the back. Narrow positions will bring it more into your lats and arms. Try it! Put your hands up right now, pretend you’re gripping a bar and pull yourself up with different hand positions. You can feel where your body tenses up to prepare for the movement.
Here are some more examples off these basic variations, along with hammer pull ups:

9-10: Side-to-side pull up and chin up

Now we’re getting into more difficult variations. A side-to-side means that you pull yourself up in a diagonal direction until your chin touches your hand. Lower yourself back down in the same direction then go up the other way. This is the beginning of messing with stability in a pull up. Keep your hands in the basic position or go a little wider. The wider you go the more difficult. Here’s an example from the UK (note that they call it a chin-up throughout. Must be a Brit thing):

11-12: Around the world pull up and chin up

This is the next level up after the side-to side. Pull yourself up to one hand then slide your chin directly across to the other hand above the bar before lowering yourself down. Repeat on the other side, or do reps in one direction then go the other way. Lots of instability, distance, and resistance changes here! Check out this example:

13-14: L-sits

These variations are about distance. Start from hanging from the bar then lift your legs straight up until your body is in the shape of an L. From this position, do pull ups or chin ups. Lower yourself completely to a hang each time. This will be extremely challenging, and will also blast your core.

15-16: Sternum pull ups and chin ups

Who says you have to pull up just to your chin? Sternum pull ups and chin ups are done when you can pull your chest up to the bar. Lean your head and shoulders backward a bit as you pull up and push your chest upward. This is a variation that is important to master. Try combining these with an L-sit. It’s possible!

17: Clapping pull up

For these you need to be able to do a sternum pull up with no problem. These build explosive power in the arms and back. Pull yourself up as fast as you can into a sternum pull up, clap your hands, then grab the bar and lower yourself before you fall. To start these, first just try taking your hands off the bar for a moment and catching yourself. Then move on to just making your hands touch while keeping then curled. Finally, move to full claps. Here’s an example of this progression:

18: Quick change

This is like doing a clapping pull up, only instead of clapping you switch your grip between pull up and chin up with each repetition. Note in the example below that the athlete is doing sternum pull ups and chin ups to allow his hands to clear the bar safely.

19-20: Commando pull up and commando L-sit pull up

A commando pull up is when you stand sideways to the bar and pull yourself up with your hands very close together. Some people lace their fingers and other people put one hand right in front of the other. You can do these at the edge of the bar so you can pull straight up. If your bar won’t allow that, then pull yourself up to one shoulder, lower, then up to the other shoulder. Move your body around the bar, not your head! The L-sit variation just adds extra pain, but you’ll need a bar that hangs from the ceiling to give your feet clearance.

21. Alternate grip pull up

For those deadlifters out there, why not try your alternate grip on the bar? Put one hand in chin up grip and the other in pull up grip. Do a few reps then switch the grip around.

22. Towel pull up

This is one of the best exercises for developing grip strength. Loop a small towel over the bar. Grip the part that hangs down then pull up! You probably won’t be able to clear your chin above the bar with these. Shoot for getting it above your hands. You can do many of the variations already listed with a towel setup for extra instability, or try some of these variations from Crossfit.

23. One-armed pull up

One-armed pull-ups take your pull up regime to the next level. Some of the most experienced pull up artists in the world pale when they’re faced with the one-armed pullup as it requires a mixture of balance, poise, and style to do these right (without hurting yourself). We’ve attached a tutorial video that will help you get into one-armed pullup territory.

24. Muscle ups

Muscle ups are a Crossfit specialty. They’re designed to kick your butt and train your entire core. Perform a sternum pull up and keep pulling up. Lean forward until you can push yourself up and lock your arms out above the bar. Next, do a dip back down then lower yourself back to start. There are a lot of special tricks to this exercise, so you may want to consult a Crossfit trainer first before attempting.

25. Add rings

After you’ve been doing ‘regular’ style pull-ups for a while, you might find that they’re getting easy. For a bit of challenge in your exercise diet, pull out the gymnastics rings and attach them to your pullup bar. This will add a new factor of difficulty because the rings themselves are not naturally stable. Have you seen the grace and style of gymnasts working the rings? You can do that too.

Here at Studbar Pullup Central, we use the Elite EXF Gymnastics Rings with Adjustable Straps.

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Pull up bar video

On December 18, 2011, in Videos, by StudBar Pull Up Bar

Cinematographer/Editor: Alden Miranda
Athlete: Phillip Caballero, Crossfit enthusiast.
Music by Nasty Nasty, Song: Doctor

Go to the Videos Page for more Stud Bar videos.

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Wall mounted kipping pull up bar

On June 2, 2011, in Photos, Pull Up Bar, Pull Up Exercise, Testimonial, by StudBar Pull Up Bar

My buddy helped me install the bar on the block wall in my garage instead of the complicated stud situation. It turns out to be a better fit because as I set up my own cross fit area in my garage, the bar on the wall has it’s places and I can do moves and stretches with wall assist or not.

I went to my local hardware and got some 3/8 X 3″ tap-cons and a 5-16″ drill bit for the pilot holes and it sealed the deal. The bar is very sturdy. Granted I weigh about 160 lbs, but it easily supports all the acrobatics I’ve been doing on the bar. I’m 6 feet tall, and when i hang on to the bar, my feet are about 2 or 3 inches from the floor. I set it up that way because I like to hop and grab the bar.
– GC Koupaki

large wall pull up bar

Garage wall pull up bar

Block wall pull up bar

brick mounted pull up bar