Friday, March 14, 2014

The Quick Guide to Installing a Pull Up Rack

Functional fitness training is on the rise in the US and that's a good thing.  Moving our bodies quickly and efficiently is a must have for some but certainly reaps benefits for all.

A pull up rack can really dominate in this type of programming.  In a gym outfitted with either a wall mounted or free standing unit, athletes can perform strength movements such as the back squat, front squat and shoulder press as well as pull ups, muscle ups, dips, knees to elbows and more.  If you are thinking that a pull up rack might be in your future no doubt it's because of the multitude of exercises that it can be used for.  It is a very useful tool that all levels of athlete can benefit from.

Although not intended to be an installation manual or a selection guide for the pull up rack, we rather wanted to disarm anyone who may feel installation is beyond them.  With a little pre-planning and with the help of a few friends, anyone can install one of our pull up racks.  There are just a few tools that you'll want to be prepared with before you order.  Some of them you may already own, and the others can be [and should be] rented from the local hardware store as they are a bit uncommon and probably aren't worth the investment to own.

To make the installation go as smoothly as possible, it is best to be prepared with all the tools and know how before your equipment arrives.  Having everything you need ready to go before you begin will save you from unnecessary frustration and wasted time.  When properly planned, installation can actually be a really fun time when you invite your closest friends and as a reward for helping you, maybe throw them a little after party.

Wrenches:  A pair of adjustable wrenches, and a socket / ratchet set are first on the list.  With these, you can assemble the parts of the pull up rack with all of the nuts and bolts provided with the kit.  You will need at least two wrenches but the more you have, the more hands that can help in the install.  Wrenches you probably own.  If not, these are a fairly standard household tool and investing in a set is a good idea.

Hammer Drill: Quite a bit different from the conventional drill that you might be used to or maybe even own, the hammer drill is specially designed to drill into concrete and it is much heavier duty that a conventional drill.  Your best bet at success is to rent one rather than buying and be sure to rent an industrial drill.  You will be installing 1/2" diameter concrete anchors that are 3" to 4" in length.  Having an undersized or underpowered drill is a huge time waster and will take you much longer than necessary.  Tip:  When you drill the holes for your anchors, drill down at least 2" deeper than the length of your anchor.  If you ever have need to move the rig, that extra deep hole you drilled will allow you to fully recess the anchors into the concrete floor.  If you don't drill deep enough then you will be forced to use a hacksaw to cut them flush with the floor.  That will take you much longer than just drilling those 2" deeper.

Concrete Drill Bits:  When you rent the drill, ask for a few of these to be included in the rental.  We suggest three 1/2" bits for the job.  If they don't come with the hammer drill as part of the rental then you will have to purchase them.  Note:  An undersized drill won't drill into concrete with the very best bit.  Get the right drill and chances are you will be returning the third drill bit unused for credit back.

Anchors:  We recommend 1/2" x 3" long concrete wedge anchors for attaching the rack poles to the floor and 1/2" x 2" long concrete sleeve anchors for attaching the pull up bars for a wall mounted unit into a concrete block wall.  Each Pole gets three anchors as does each pull up bracket.  If you are mounting a wall mounted rack into a stud wall you will first need to install a ledger board at least 17" wide along the wall at the same height as your pull up bars.  The ledger board should be attached to the wall studs with 3/8" x 4-1/2" long lag screws at each stud.  And the pull up bars should attach to the ledger board with 1/2" x 3" long lag bolts.

Leveling Tools:  Rent one of these if you don't already own one.  If you have plans to build your own deck in the near future then it will come in handy but if not, renting is the way to go.  You will want to get one that is at least 24" long.  The 'torpedo' level is a hand held level that will do in a pinch but it's better to have one a bit longer.  You will use the level to make sure the rig poles are installed perfectly plumb.  That's a fancy way of saying that the pole is straight up and down from the front and from the side.  When installing a wall mounted unit, you will also use the level to be sure that the pull up bars attaching to the wall are level.  For those interested in the free standing rig, it is not necessary to check any of the pull up bars.  As long as you have them installed in parallel holes on the poles, they will be level.

Step Ladders:  This tool is probably a smart investment for the gym anyway from painting the walls to changing lights, the step ladder will come in handy in more ways than one.  And having at least one is essential for installing any of our pull up racks.  We suggest at least two but our plyo boxes and bumpers will also work in a pinch.

To prepare the space before the equipment arrives, make sure the area is clean and free of any obstacles.  If you are purchasing, for instance, a 4 pole wall mounted pull up rack, ideally you will have a free area of 24 feet long x 16 feet wide right in the area where it will be mounted.  If you are installing a rubber floor, it is best to install the flooring before any other equipment arrives.  We do get asked if we suggest having the rubber floor under the rig and yes, we most definitely do.  Having a continuous floor under the rack makes it much easier to keep your floor clean and for athletes to move from inside to outside the rack.  And it is much easier to anchor through the floor mats than to cut the mats around the posts after it is installed.  If you decide to move the rack, a few small bolt holes left in the floor mats by the drill are much better than having floor plate holes cut out in the mats.

Armed with these few simple tips, installation will go much quicker and with much less frustration.  We are always happy to talk through any questions you might have not only on any of our pull up systems, but any other equipment necessary to outfit your gym.

Need more tips on equipment, selection guides and advice on starting or expanding your gym?  Just subscribe to our blog, follow us on Facebook or get in touch with us.  We are always happy to help.