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Dear /r/fitness I have a question about pull ups. Are there alternatives that don’t require a pull up bar / what are some ways to get pull ups done without a pullup bar / what household items have people used as alternate pull up bars?(r/Fitness)
I don’t think there is really any substitute for pullups (and its related motions, like cable pulldowns). However, you can still target your latissimus dorsi, albeit from different angles; you can use bent over rows, along with pullovers (which may be easier on a Swiss Ball instead of lying perpendicular on a bench), or inverted rows. They don’t match the vertical range of motion of pullups, or recruit as many helper muscles, but they will do as substitutes if you have no other equipment.
Personally, I’d be wary about using household items as makeshift pullup bars, unless you’re good enough at engineering or physics to properly analyze them.
In my opinion, the best way to do pullups at home, especially when you have limited funds and space, is to get a door frame pullup bar in the style of the Iron Gym / Iron Gym Xtreme / P90X / EasyEffort. These are not like the old style bars which expand to brace against the inside of a door frame; these are the type which rest on the frame lintel, hang through the doorway, and brace against the frame on the other side. It’s easier to understand by seeing how it fits. They support about 136 kilograms / 300 pounds, are easily removable, and require no alteration of your doorway.