Pullup subs

Forums Fitness training Pullup subs

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    What’s a good substitute for pullups if there isn’t a good pullup bar – or a sturdy door for towel/door pullups – available?

    I’m encouraging my friend to start simplefit because of its easy progression and simple exercises. He’s keen to go, but we can’t find a good, convenient place for him to do pullups where he can also do pushups and squats. We’re in Japan, and getting and mounting a door-mounted pullup bar is not doable right now – they are hard to find here and important one is very expensive.

    So I’m looking for a good substitute for pullups. He can’t do a single pullup yet anyway, so what’s a good substitute? Body rows if we can find a place to do them, and what else?

    Thanks for putting this site together, by the way. My friend looks at my training regime and says “I want to but I can’t yet.” But with simplefit he took a look at level 1 and said “Yes, I can do that. Let’s get started.” So thanks for that.


    Can you find something on a wall that will support some weight? Like hooks drilled into wall studs (or some other kind of anchor) or perhaps the railing of a stairway? Exposed plumbing? If you can find a hardpoint on a wall somewhere, you can attach straps and a set of rings to it, and use that to do body rows with.

    I recommend the body rows. ::EDIT:: because you can “game the system.” They’re easy to count, easy to time, easy to reproduce exactly, and easy change the difficulty of by changing where your feet are planted. This results in improvment that is easily VISIBLE which is pretty darn motivating. “See, I’m getting better! Wow, this really works!”

    Now that I’ve lost an inch and a half of girth in the past month, and I can see my times improving slowly but steadily, I’m more pumped than ever.

    This is a great workout program for a gamer/computer programmer. :)


    Get a Home Gym – or something like it.

    Body rows are good. Throw in some negatives now and then.

    Good luck!


    What’s a Home Gym? I mean, is there a specific device you’re discussing, because the name is extremely broad.

    I’ll tour my friend’s office again soon, we’ll see if there is a place he can row off of. His condo is small, so getting an apparatus in is out of the question, there’s no room. No exposed pipes or bars or anything of the sort. Walls are either thin or extremely solid, so wall mounting stuff is a problem (either it’ll break off, or it’s drilling into outer walls of the building complex. Think “small, modern apartment with 2 adults and an infant.” Worse comes to worst, I may have to get him to buy a dumbell set (expensive here but small and available) so he can do one-arm dumbell rows plus pushups and squats. But I was hoping to keep to the three simplefit exercises for him, especially because doing a proper dead-hang pullup is something he specifically mentioned as a goal. It’s just a matter of a place to hang from three days a week…and with the summers here being very wet and hot and the winters being long and snowy, outdoors is not a long-term option.

    And thanks, I’ll pass the “good luck” wishes onto my buddy.


    I guess chair dips might be something he can do?

    Two chairs facing each other, get between them and put your hands on the seats, lower your body between the chairs taking the load on your arms and then push back up.

    They are not pullups but they are an exercise you can do in a small space without spending any cash…

    (apparently you can do them with just one chair too… http://www.promgirl.com/prom-guide/diet-exercise/arms )


    Oops! I mean Door Gym…


    I weigh 245, have standard wood door frames in my house, and it works fine for me – albeit I have to be careful about scraping the floor.


    I’ll show my friend the door gym, see if he’s interested…and if he can mount it a doorway at home or not.

    Dips are a good idea. He’s probably going to workout at home most of the time, and I’m pretty sure his chairs are sturdy enough to dip from. Might be tough for him starting out but I have a few ideas on ways to make dips easier and work him into them.

    Thanks for the help guys. I want to make this is as trouble-free as possible for my friend, get him into working out regularly. After that the results should be sufficient to keep him going and adapting…it’s just eaiser if I can grease the wheels for his startup.

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