Friday, May 15, 2015

Common Questions on the Pull Up Rack

The Pull Up Rack has proven time and again to be the cornerstone of today's gym.  And whether you're building a Garage Gym or looking for that next piece for your commercial facility, adding a pull up rack is a wise investment.

And just why is the Pull Up Rack is a smart investment for any gym owner? You and your athletes can perform all these exercises and more:

  • Pull Ups [the number one programmed exercise in CrossFit]
  • Dips [either from Gymnastic Rings  hung from the bars or from attaching Dip Stations]
  • Bar Muscle Ups [using single bars or the offset stacked pull up bar]
  • All Bar Rack movements - Squats, Presses, Flat Bench - with multiple positions for the barbell J Cups [which are often included with the purchase]
  • Medicine Ball Throws [if you are short on wall space, adjustable targets can be mounted to any of the poles]
  • Bar Muscle Ups, Front Levers and Back Levers - for those athletes that just love gymnastics work
  • Rope Climbs - with Pole extension kits, you can crank up the height on the rack and even hang ropes for athletes to climb
  • Toes to Bar and Knees to Elbow - isolating your lower body has never been easier.
Convinced yet that the pull up rack is an essential piece to any gym?  The amount of programming variation it allows will keep everyone coming back for more.


But there are choices to make before you jump in and since the rack will be one of the most popular pieces in your gym, it's best to do a little pre-planning before you order.  With that in mind we've published below some of the most frequently asked questions regarding styles, location selections and installation tips.

How Do I Decide on What Style - Wall Mounted or Free Standing?  This has got to be one of the most popular questions we get and with good reason.  Here's the bottom line - neither choice is a bad one.  Both styles allow for exactly the same type of movements so there's nothing you or your athletes will miss out on if you choose one over the other.

The Wall Mounted Pull Up Rack is most normally best suited for the gym that is starting out on a tight budget and has a narrow space.  For all that it brings in terms of available exercises, the Wall Mounted option takes up a surprisingly small footprint.  In many cases, the 2000 square foot gym can start with a 6 Pole Unit that only gobbles up 144 Square Feet of space.  That's a cheap date.  And since it's mounted against the wall it frees up more center spacer your athletes to move barbells and kettlebells.

The Free Standing Pull Up Rack is great for the gym that has a bit larger floor plan.  Mounted in the middle of your space, you and your coaches will gain the best viewpoint for all your athletes to make sure they are getting after it with great form.  And since the rack is situated in the center of your facility, you've got plenty of wall space for equipment storage.  The other popular equipment items like bumper plates, barbells, kettlebells and medicine balls need a home and they'll take up a fair amount of space when not in use.

What if My Membership Increases and I Chose Too Small?  No worries if you start finding your athletes fighting for space on the rack you started off with.  The Pull Up Rack is like an erector set.  It's easy to add on one or more sections as your membership grows.  And you can build on to either end so when you first layout and install, plan for expansion.  If you build it, they will come...

Gear Tip:  The best way to arrange multiple athletes on the inside of my pull up rack for pull ups:  When you've got a full class and are running out of room on the outside pull up bars for everyone to grab onto, here's our suggestion:  Before the start of the workout, have every athlete go to their pullup station of choice.  That way they can pick the best bar for their height and know that during the workout this is where they go.  If you've got athletes on the inside of the rig, make sure they are facing each other.  That will allow for the most room for kipping.

Frequently asked questions:
  1. How much room do I really need to allow for installing a Wall Mount or a Free Standing Pull Up Rack? Great question!  Before you start drilling anchors, consider that ideally you'll want to have 8 feet of clearance all the way around the perimeter of the rack.  That free space you leave will make it easiest for your athletes to move in and around the rack when transitioning from one exercise to the next.  Chances are, your programming will have them running outside, returning to the rack for pull ups then off to a bar or plyo box.  With that 8 foot of clearance you'll reduce traffic jams and keep everyone moving freely.
  2. I've got a rubber floor already put down.  Do I need to cut square holes in it to set the pole bases right on the concrete?  We get this question a lot, too.  Do yourself a favor and place the rack right on top of your existing flooring without cutting any holes in it.  That way you don't chop up your expensive floor.  There is no advantage to installing directly on the concrete floor so go ahead and put it on top.  We also recommend that if you are a bit short on flooring and are considering leaving it out from under the rig, that's not a problem necessarily but if there is no flooring under the rig, that portion of the floor becomes a dirt trap and can be difficult to clean.
  3. What type and length of floor anchors should I use?  There are two main types of floor anchors - the wedge anchor and the sleeve anchor.  The wedge anchor is the strongest for installation into concrete floors.  Use those.  And it's ideal to get a minimum of 3" of embedment into the concrete.  Most slabs are 4"-6" thick so an anchor any longer than that just won't do you any good.  It's the wedge or flared part of the anchor that grabs the concrete so ideally purchase them 4" in total length.  And If you are installing over 3/4" rubber flooring, be sure to take that into account when sizing up the anchors you will need.
  4. How high should I install the Pull Up Bars?  We've designed our pull up rack system to be extremely versatile and adjustable.  The vertical poles and pull up bar attachments allow for each one of the bars to be installed at different heights if necessary.  The double stacked pull up bar that runs in between the rig we call our Basic Cross Member and when it's installed at the highest position, the bottom bar is at 7'-6" center of bar from the floor.  This height is one of the most popular for athletes at heights of 5'-8" to 5'-11".  So run those interior bars all the way to the top of the poles.  For the outside bars, installation from 7'-4" to 7'-10" will keep your bars at the perfect heights for all your athletes.  Our Pull Up Rack poles have holes every 2" in them to allow for more than enough variation.  And not all pull up bars need to be at the same height.
  5. Does Hammerhead have single bars for the Pull Up Rack?  We sure do.  Just ask us when you get ready to place your order and we can swap out single bars for any of the pull up bars. We suggest changing out no more than 50% of the bars to singles to keep the rig as sturdy as possible - those double bars do a lot to keep the rig super strong.
Have other questions or comments?  Or if you are ready to outfit your facility see our selection of Free Standing Racks here and Wall Mounted Racks here.

It is our passion to outfit fitness facilities with great equipment and to pass along great ideas on how to use that equipment to its highest potential.  Let us know if we can help get your gym started or expand your current facility!