Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Indoor Fun

Free Standing Portable Pull Up Bar - Review

A couple of years ago, after I ditched the gym and started lifting outside at playgrounds, I knew the time would come when I would have to take my fun indoors.  The in my flat kind of indoors.

Nice concept ... but
The backbone of my workouts consist of Pull ups, Push ups, and Dips.  Push ups - no problem.  Dips - I could use two wooden chairs.  Pull ups, however, presented more of a problem.  Unfortunately, there just aren't any nice pipes or rafters around this joint.  Also unfortunately, the Pull up bar that I did own (see pic.) didn't work in this particular flat.  You need solid door jams for this little baby ... and I wouldn't exactly call the construction in this place solid.   So I began to search for a sturdy indoor Pull up bar.  And since I live in a studio, I needed one that didn't take up much space, or better yet, was portable.

The good news was, with my search criteria, only one unit on the market fit the bill.  The bad news was, with my search criteria, only one unit on the market fit the bill.  I suppose, at least, it made my decision fairly easy.

Fits right under the bed

Now, with the high cost of the thing (250), a person living in a normal community might have to take into consideration local gym fees and figure a break even point and all.  Here in Aspen, not so much ... that's only a fraction of a yearly gym membership in our little slice of Paradise.  So my only real concern was if it was going to be sturdy enough.

In a nutshell.  I like it and it  works well.  The whole unit is real quick and easy to set up and tear down.  There are pin holes to adjust the height of the bar vertically, thusly accommodating smaller and taller individuals.  It can also be put at half height (see below) for Dips and non full body weight Pull ups, which I do sometimes when I decrease my rep speed.  I did make a few tweaks with the thing, but overall I'm very happy with the purchase and get a lot of use out of it.  Now some details:

Mojo Grip

Grips.  The metal bar was a bit smooth for my taste.  My solution was to take some punctured bicycle inner tubes and put them to good use.  They're just attached with Duct tape.   Easy peasy.

Half Height
Sandbags.  As you can see, I place 4 sandbags on the 2 base units.  This does two things:  First, it makes it much easier to set up.  Second, it makes it much sturdier.  I know what you're thinking ... what a bother.  And I can see your point.  But seriously, if I didn't figure out a way for the sandbags to be cheap and easy to use, I wouldn't fiddle with them.  They're not critical, but they do make the 'feel' much more stable.  The bags were like 4 bucks, and the sand is on loan from the closest sandtrap of the golf course that I happen to live next to.  They're roughly 30 lbs and stack onto one another by the door when not in use.  Another easy peasy.

The bar hits my chest
Dips.  Although the perpendicular handles are meant for dipping, I find that my chest bumps into the bar before I fully 'bottom out' (see pic).  Barely.  But annoying nonetheless.  And turning around, my back hits the bar.  Still, sometimes I use it for Dips and sometimes I just use two chairs.  I actually use these perpendicular 'handles' for Pull ups as well, making them much more shoulder-centric.  Nice.

Dip Hack.  I came up with this configurations to get the full feature of Dips.  Those are milk crates for bracing.  I feel safer using this set up when doing weighted Dips than if I were to use the chairs.

I also wanted to use this picture for the 'outside of the box' thinking that it shows.  I've loosely termed it 'playground eyes'.  Once you start working out at a playground, you look at features differently.  Can I do a Pull up off of that?  What about if I used those?  Or how about if I was upside down?  It's kinda cool.  That's how I came up with the milk crate thing ... I was just thinking, how can I make this work?  Same thing with the sandbags.  I suppose part of it is that I'm just a tinkerer also.  And apparently a rambler as well - one more thing though.

Free weights.  I do have a small set of free weights that I use on occasion, depending on how I feel.  No bench, or rack, or Smith Machine or anything.  Just a small amount of weights that I received way back on my 16th birthday.

Remember, it's not about how much you lift, it's how you lift it!

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