I built this pullup rig:

pullup rig

as part of my calisthenics workout. The problem is that it there's too much swing. The first version also suffered from instability issues, even with more pipes:

first version

A Lowe's employee suggested I add diagonal pipes that attach to vertical pipes at an angle, using angle brackets typically used for fencing (suggested to me), but I'm not sure how that looks like. I've also seen this solution using clamps with diagonal supports (video).

What are my options in reducing the swing?

I'd like to optimize for ease of installation and cost, as I don't have experience drilling.

  • 7
    You're lucky the first one didn't collapse the first time you hung on it. Plumbing is not for structural members. Build your pullup bar frame out of wood, with metal for the bar only. The strength per dollar performance of wood is much better than that of piping. – whatsisname Jul 24 '14 at 20:32
  • 3
    You definitely need to add some sort of diagonal bracing. Without it, the base of your stand is dealing with a HUGE moment (torque) that it's not going to stand up to. I'm afraid that it may still be unstable even with substantial additions to the structure. Have you considered trying a pre-made bar that hangs from a door frame? – Doresoom Jul 24 '14 at 20:34
  • @whatsisname Good point, thanks! The first one is sturdy and was tied to that red metal column by rope, which was all it needed to stay still. Of course, I wouldn't do real gymnastic swings on either. Doresoom: Sadly, door bars don't have enough range of motion for my calisthenics workout. I'm working on front lever and back lever, along with adding rings for dips and support exercises. – oohaba Jul 24 '14 at 21:27

Added 2 eyelets per corner and used rope to tighten the tension. Not quite an A-frame like the other answer, but it's now very stable. I also noticed the instability was due to the wooden planks not being completely flat, so I padded the gap with magazines and doorstoppers, and now it doesn't budge at all.

Thanks for all the suggestions!



Bracing should be 45 degrees or more. The sway is horizontal so that's where you need to brace it. You can also brace it to the wall. Some people screw a thick piece of plywood to the studs of the wall then anchor things to that. Threaded pipe is great to work with if acquired at scrap metal prices. Think of making a square or rectangular frame with it, then weight the corners if needed for even more stability. This could make an excellent calisthenics project. After you have the kinks worked out, sell the idea with all the parts necessary to others though shipping might make this awkward for anybody but local people. You deserve to be rewarded after experimentation and refinement. You can also just sell the plans for much less as no parts are involved. Or post them on a website and monetize it if you are able to get the traffic for ads. That probably has the most potential of all. Just make sure you legally disclaim yourself before embarking down this road. And don't have your real name attached to the website so its impossible for scam artists to do an asset search on you.


Attach the bar to the wall. Trying to leverage from the floor will require several times the lateral forces applied at the top. By attaching it at the top, the forces will be one to one.

If direct attachment is not feasible, then bars which brace against opposing walls would prevent the need to drill into any wall.

  • Could you clarify what you mean by bars bracing against opposing walls? Not sure how to achieve that without drilling, but I suppose I could glue some rubber padding to the walls to cushion the brace bars? – oohaba Jul 25 '14 at 19:41

Add a A - frame for support. Would be heaps stronger.

  • Do you mean adding two A-frames externally, one on each side? Or adding more pipes to form an A-frame? I might just go with eyelets in the four corners and tie rope/chain to the top bar, forming a sorta A-frame. – oohaba Jul 25 '14 at 19:44

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