A while back, I wanted to buy a set of Horizontal bars. But in Canada, their price can be anywhere between CAD $100 and $300.
For example, I looked at the Lebert Equalizer. You can see it in Frank Medrano’s Youtube videos, and boy did I want them! There are other brands and whatnot, but these were the ones I wanted the most.
I priced out how much it would cost to buy them. And because of their price, I started to think, “Hey…Maybe I can make my own!”
And so my adventure to build my own horizontal bar started.
I wrote out a rough plan on how I wanted to build it, inspired by my doorway pull-up bar. The handle is roughly 30 inches for pull-ups, which I figured would be a good size for a horizontal bar.
My goal with my new bar is to get better at pull-ups and horizontal rows, so I used the measurements of my pull-up bar.
The idea was simple.
I wanted to keep it light and movable, while still being strong and solid. I knew I wanted the parts I’d hold to be round.
I played with the idea of making the base out of wood, but that would make it bulky and heavy. So I ended up deciding to use some kind of plumbing pipe instead.
And I was off to the plumbing store!
I went exploring and found some fencing poles, but I could neither find 90s or T-shaped poles here. It was sad, because Fence poles are dirt-cheap (CAD $3 for 8 FEET)
I thought of using copper because it’d look nice, but it was too expensive and way too soft a metal for what I wanted to do. I settled for a black pipe in the end. Many people have used black pipes for their DIY pull-up bars.
I still didn’t know if it’d be stable enough to be a stand, but hey, nothing tried, nothing gained, right?
Also, they were very affordable for me. Not even CAD $2/foot!
Apparently, black pipes are normally used for gas lines. So it’s pretty solid stuff.
As I was shopping at the store, my idea became clearer and clearer. I knew I wanted a bar about 30 inches across, but how high should it be?
I figured 30 inches in height would also be good.
So here’s the list of materials I used after all my deep thinking:
Three 30-inch length black pipes, threaded both sides
Four 8-inch length black pipes, threaded one side
All 1 inch-wide pipes.
Once you’ve bought the material, have all the ends of the pipe threaded, if it isn’t already.
This is a threaded screw. The striations on the screw were made by a machine to connect it to the different parts.
When you buy plumbing pipes in a store, they’re not always threaded. So you can pay to have it done in the store, or you can just buy pipes that are pre-threaded.
All that’s left after that is fitting the different parts together! Here’s mine:
You might be asking, “But Mark, what’s that white tape on it?”
Well! glad you asked.
Lucky for me the local sporting store was closing down, so that tape is Hockey Tape! I got a bunch for less than CAD $5.
The Ts on the feet were making the bar rock back and forth, so I bought caps for the ends, which made them more stable.
Although I didn’t like the idea of adding more weight to it or it being able to stretch floors, metal on a wooden floor doesn’t normally do well…for the floor. So I wrapped the bottom legs to get some grip and stability, with great results.
After a few uses, the tape kind of flattens out and becomes a perfect landing for the bar. I’m sure any kind of grip tape would work just the same.
It was super simple and cost me CAD $50 for all the parts. I’d have saved $15 had I wanted to thread the pipes myself, but I chose to pay for it instead.
Just so you know, most big box stores do that for free.
I chose to make 30×30”, but next time I make them myself, I’ll be fitting them to my height of 5’5” – it’d be nicer if I could reach the bar while laying on the ground, flat on my back.
If you want to custom tailor your horizontal bar, I suggest that you measure your arm length and add 1-2 inches to get a perfect fit in height.
I’d also suggest you use 10-inch pipes for the “feet”. It’ll be a bit more stable than my first creation.
With that said, I love it!
So that’s my custom built Horizontal Bar.
I’m probably not done making my own custom fitness equipment after this first one! So keep your eyes open, you’ll be seeing more from me.
Also – if you make a second horizontal bar, BAM! you have your own dip station.
If you want to try building your own horizontal bar and have questions, leave a comment or shoot me a message in the Facebook group!
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calisthenics training assessment
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If you want to get the most from bodyweight training, you’ll definitely want some gymnastic rings.
What are the benefits of training with gymnastic rings?
They’ll give you a greater range of motion and strengthen your balance. The same exercises you do on the ground will be more challenging and more intense. Ever try a push-up on rings? It’s awesome, and it’s time to get started! This article teaches you the step-by-step process of making your own pair of affordable gymnastics rings so that you can start your training.
Buying fitness equipment from shops can prove to be pretty freakin’ expensive. You don’t need to pay big bucks to get it, though! I’ve made my own pull-up rings, and boy, was it a useful and exciting experiment. The end-product was great and well, it made me proud. It might take more time than buying it ready-made, but the effort was definitely worth it.
It might take more time than buying it ready-made, but the effort was definitely worth it.
The current guide is on how to build wooden gymnastic rings. In the past I did have a go at building one from PCV materials. You can see how it went here.
Here’s how it goes.
Choosing your rings’ measurements
You need to plan ahead on the size of your rings. Be accurate so that the end product is as close to perfect as you can make it. Knowing your rings’ dimensions ahead means anticipating the thickness of the wood you’ll need, as well as its size before being cut.
Material that you will need
This step-by-step will get your rings at minimum cost. No expensive tools are used the process, but you do need some basic material, such as:
- Any kind of wood (included salvaged from old furniture) that is:
- Triplex or multiplex wood
- Has a thickness around either 15mm or 30mm
- Board size is at least 30×30
- Wood glue
- Sanding paper
- Clamps (or heavy weights for the gluing process)
- Acryl-based lacquer
Step 1: Got wood?
If you’re using any random board that fits the requirements for this project, you’re going to need to cut it down to the usable parts. Saw them off and, if the board’s thickness is 15mm, saw it in half so that you can double back and get 28-30mm of thickness for your finished rings. If you need to do this, sand down a side of the board for the gluing process.
Step 1: sanded down board cut in half to get 28mm-30mm thickness
Step 2: Glue ‘em!
This step can be skipped if your board is already approx. 30mm-thick. If it isn’t, glue the sanded side of your boards together with some simple wood glue. If you have wood clamps, use them now to make sure the boards stay together until the glue has dried. You can also use some heavy weights for a similar effect. Let the glue set for approx. 24 hours.
Step 2: use clamps or weights to keep the boards together until the glue sets
Step 3: Draw like an artist
Draw the inner and outer rings. You can also draw a ring in the center to help you guide the ring’s shaping in the next step. Use the jigsaw (power or manual) to first drill some holes outside of the ring’s drawing so that you can get the blade through.
Step 3: drill holes outside of your ring’s drawings to get the jigsaw blade through
Step 4: Be patient, even artists do tedious stuff
Using wood files, start shaping your rings. Start with the rough and general shaping first, then move on to rounding it all out. You’re almost done, so don’t give up now!
Step 4: be patient and you’ll see a beautiful finished product soon
Step 5: Make ‘em pretty and make ‘em long-lasting
If you want your rings to last for the next few years, apply a few layers of Acryl-based lacquer on them. Make sure they’re completely dry and the lacquer’s hard before starting to use them. You can choose to skip this step if you want, but I’d advise you to add some extra protection against the elements and sweaty hands.
Add some straps that hold your weight easily, and voilà! You’ve just made your own set of beautiful wooden gymnastic rings. Congrats for getting this far!
Step 5: time to start training!
Now that you have your homemade rings, check out our Guide to Using Gymnastics Rings and start with The Support to start training.
Have you made other calisthenics equipment on your own? Let us know in the comments.
Also join our Facebook Group to meet fellow athletes who just like you are on the journey to build insane strength, muscle mass, and skills with calisthenics
Source for pictures and content: Instructables
From Steven Low’s excellent book, Overcoming Gravity, we have decided to visualise and explain a progression which will give great core strength and stability and is built around a piece of calisthenics equipment known as an ab wheel. The ab wheel workout is basically added resistance to a crunch where your bodyweight works against your core.
ab wheel progression
Step 1 – Plank (25s)
The plank position is a great way to quickly build core stability. Balance on your forearms and toes while keeping your torso parallel to the ground. Hold the first step for 25 seconds.
Step 2 – Plank (60s)
You may have to re-do the first step a number of times to be able to hold this, but for step 2, to build more strength and stability you must hold the plank position for 60 seconds.
Step 3 – 1 Arm 1 Leg Plank
Your core will now be working in the plank position not only to support the position but to hold balance in this more difficult set up. Plank with your left and on the floor as well as your left leg. This will be a much more difficult position in which to hold a plank position with the balancing responsibilities now resting more firmly on your core.
Step 4 – Kneeling Ab Wheel
This is the first exercise in the progression involving a wheel. Go on to your knees and grip the handles of the wheel with both hands. Allow it to roll forward until your torso is parallel to the ground and then roll back to the starting position.
Step 5 – Ramp Ab Wheel
The extra resistance here is given by gravity putting further strain on your core. Find some kind of ramp of sloped surface and kneel at the top of it. Allow the wheel to roll down the hill until your torso is parallel to the slope and roll back up.
Step 6 – Standing Negative Wheel
Here begins the truly difficult core stuff. Begin in the bottom position of step 4 with your torso parallel to the ground holding the wheel but with the balls of your feet on the floor. Roll backwards with the wheel until you are standing on your feet and bending over while still holding the wheel. Control this movement back to the starting position and repeat.
Step 7 – 1 Arm 1 Leg Wheel
Back to the evil balancing act of step 3. This time hold the wheel with your right hand and have your left foot on the floor. Slowly control the motion down until your torso is parallel to the ground in the previous 1 arm plank position and roll back up. This one will really test your core strength.
There are many other exercises that can be done with an ab wheel. Here are some more examples and variations:
Go Back to Progressions.
and if you are looking for a proven calisthenic training program then check out Getting Started With Calisthenics
ab wheel progression
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