T Nation

Pull Up/Dip Station Outside?


I'm trying to do pull ups more frequently, and it would be more convenient for me if I was capable of doing them at home. I'm not allowed to use the pull up bars that attach to the door, because the door frames in our house are not in the best condition, and there's concern that I would mess them up worse.

I know I can get a pull up dip station for $50-100 off of craigslist, but since I can't fit it in the house, I would need to store it in the backyard. Does anybody have any experience doing this? I'm concerned that having it sit outside all year may mess it up. Would putting a cover over it be enough to protect it (for the most part)?



Hi. Do you have a tree branch or park within a short jog of your house? I used to do pullups on the side of my (rented) house. The skill came in handy when I forgot my key and had to climb in through the balcony after I forgot my key one time.

As far as putting something outside... yeah, it should work.


Rocky does. That should be all you need to know. :wink:

But yeah, it depends a bit on the kind of weather you get. If you leave it uncovered 24/7, you might just have to deal with some fading from sunlight, maybe some eventual rusting (depending on the paint), and some wear on the upholstery if there's any. Throwing a simple tarp over it if you're expecting rain or snow should be enough "maintenance." And obviously give the ground it's sitting on a quick double-check before use to make sure it hasn't shifted, gotten unsettled, or started to tip.

I used to keep a loaded barbell in my backyard that sat through a few rainstorms (when I didn't bother going out in the rain to pull the tarp over). In the winter, I wasn't using it outside anyway so it went back in the garage.


Gambit's suggestion about a nearby park is a good one. Almost any type of basic playground equipment has bars you can use to chin/dip from. Google "hood workout" and you'll see some pretty inventive shit along the lines of so-called prison workouts. Kind of makes you wonder about the conventional strength/hypertrophy wisdom of not doing high rep bodyweight exercises. Those convicts and hood rats look pretty damn impressive to me.


Just buy a good set of gymnast rings. I hang mine off the deck and do both. Im sure you could hang them off a tree. And because they are portable you can take it anywhere. Win.


I forgot to mention: I came across a couple of sites on the interwebz a little while ago that showed how to construct a chin/dip/gymnastics type apparatus out of pvc piping. I wish I could remember the website but I'm sure if you search for it you'll find it. Had a buttload of instructional vids and diagrams. PVC is pretty weather resistant as far as I'm aware and I'm pretty sure it was dirt cheap to make it too. Anyways, just a fyi.




"A fellow trainer, Tom Brose, also gave me the following instructions for building a great set of parallettes:


One PVC pipe 10 feet, 1 1/2″ diameter

Four elbow connectors

Four T-joint connectors

Eight end caps

PVC pipe glue


Cut the 10 foot pipe into the following sections:

Two 2 foot sections

Four 8 inch sections

Eight 5 inch sections

If you?ve done it right, there should be no leftover pipe

The 5 inch sections are the feet, the 8 inch sections are the vertical legs, and the 2 foot sections are the part where your hands go. Take a look at the picture and it?s pretty easy to figure out where everything goes.

When gluing everything together, I recommend starting with the feet and legs first. They just make a ?T? and require no adjustment. Glue the elbow connectors to the 2 foot sections next. You can then press the elbow connectors down against a hard floor to make sure they are lined up at the same angle. Finally, glue in the legs to the top and adjust quickly to get the legs lined up parallel before everything dries.

There you go, a nice set of parallettes that should work well for your training."


The attached picture is of a PVC dip station that should be fairly straightforward to build.


For pullups, you can adapt this design. Make sure you have enough support in front and behind the bar so it doesn't tip over, and make sure the verticals are supported one way or another. (In this photo, it's using angles, but there's other ways.)

You could actually take the dip station design above, and extend the back side (where the crossbeam is) vertically to make a pullup bar. You'll also need to extend the base to the back if you do that, since you don't want it to tip. I was hoping someone had already done this, but I haven't found a good photo on the web.

Mostly you want to make sure that A) you're not going to bend the pipe -- some flexing is fine, but you don't want it to actually stay bent, and B) you don't want it to fall over.


Thanks for the advice guys. Unfortunately, there aren't any parks around, and there are a few trees, but none of them would work well to do pull ups on (doing pull ups on a tree branch sounds pretty awesome, though). I could definitely find a tarp. The weather here is pretty hot, so we don't have much snow. Plenty of sun, though.