We've tested this freestanding and portable pull up bar and dip station. This is what we think of it.
When the Pull Up Mate first arrived, the first lockdown had just started. With gyms closed all over the country and limited permission on outdoor exercise rules in place, this was a very welcome bit of kit to bring quite a sizeable chunk of the gym directly into the home.
At first glance, the bag seemed pretty big, so storage was one of the first thoughts that popped into my head. I'll deal with that later, for now, it's time to unbox this muscle-building equipment. Let the fun begin!
The second thing that popped into my head was 'wow, this is no doorway pull up bar'. In fact, it really is as advertised, a full-on 'pull up and dip station'.
With the boredom of lockdown well and truly planted in my psyche, I was secretly hoping it would take me at least an hour tinkering with this new gadget just to get it set up.
Unfortunatley then, but thankfully now, it only took me 10 minutes to figure out how to assemble this impressive gym hardware and I set the thing up in a corner of my living room hassle-free.
Yes it is big and no it's not the kind of apparatus you would want to leave permanently installed in your living space unless you have one of those amazing spacious loft-style apartments. Disassembling the gear takes half the time it takes to assemble so no issues there.
Although there is nothing stopping you from setting this up in your living room, on the proviso that you have enough ceiling height, it's best assembled and used in an outdoor space, such as a garden or nearby park.
Time to try it out for the very first time. I opt for a chin up instead of a pull up. The bar seems to be sizeably thicker than the average pull up bar you would find in most gyms but as time goes by I quite like the benefits on wrist and grip strength gained from having to grip a thicker bar.
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The entire Pull Up Mate pieces fit nicely into the carry bag. It is a bit heavy but nothing you can't handle, especially with the muscles you will gain from using this on a regular basis.
Pull up mate exercises
Straight bar dips
Modified push ups
The variety of exercises you can do on the Pull Up Mate is pretty impressive. Work almost every upper body muscle from shoulders to biceps, triceps, forearms, upper and lower back, and core.
Plus, they also have a selection of exciting and innovative add-ons you can buy, such as the ergonomically designed PM8 Monster Pull Up Bar, which enables you to train in a whole range of new ways. The curved wide-grip bar ends help you train with a wider muscle focus range with less strain on your body. I haven't tried this add-on but it looks great and is on my to-get list.
Advanced calisthenics with the Pull Up Mate 2
If you're a fan of advanced bodyweight exercises, the heavier duty Pull Up Mate II is what you need to be looking at because it's specifically designed for advanced calisthenics training, including muscle ups, front levers / back levers and human flag training.
The NHS Website says 'Strength exercises done at home can improve your health and mobility'. It's also great for your mental health too and just 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week is enough to get amazing health benefits.
The Pull up Mate II is considerably bigger than its junior version and it's a bit more complicated to assemble but the payoff is worth it if you really want to challenge yourself and build some serious muscle, burn fat and learn eye-catching calisthenics moves.
Clips used to hold the bars together. They look small but they're made of solid steel and very secure. They are the key to the versatility of this home gym equipment.
What muscles do pull ups work?
As far as bodyweight exercises go, pull ups is the single most effective exercise for strengthening the back muscles, which include the latissimus dorsi (largest upper back muscle), trapezius, thoracic erector spinae, infraspinatus.
Pull ups will also strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles. Your grip strength will also benefit hugely (everyone loves a firm handshake).
If you've never done a pull up before, don't worry, it's easy to build up the strength. Simply hanging from the bar will strengthen the muscles required to do pull ups and then you can use resistance bands to do assisted pull ups until you can perform them unassisted.
Having a pull up station at home is a big help towards getting yourself into a position to bang them out like a pro. Often there is only one tr two pull up bars in the gym and they usually get a lot of traffic making it difficult to get a decent workout going.
Indoors or outdoors?
It's not a problem to leave this contraption assembled in the garden and leave it there for a few days at a time. However, if left outdoors, it will eventually rust and soon become unsafe to use. Luckily for us modern folk, we have pretty reliable weather reports. If it's reported that there will be no rain for a prolonged period, it's fine to assemble the unit outside and leave it there while the conditions are favourable.
Just make sure you make very good use of the equipment while it's outside. If it's already assembled, you don't have any reason not to set yourself a target of a few sets every day.
When it looks like the weather is about to take a turn for the worse, just disassemble the kit and stow it away inside your home.
Other products available
On the Pull Up Mate website they have a range of other products you can buy to complement your workouts, such as parallel bars, dip attachment and parallettes. They also have all accessories you would need in the event that you lose a few bits that are essential for setting up the equipment.
Wall Mounted Pull Up Bars
Wall Mounted Dip Bars
Easy Grip Bar for Pull Up Mate
Your Body Rocks
Dip Bar Close-Grip Adapter Kit
Pull Up Mate & Parallel Bars Carry & Storage Bag
Pull Up Mate Height Extension Kit
PM8 - Monster Pull Up Bar
We give this bit of kit a big thumbs up. It hits the spot on price, versatility, mobility and also looks great. In terms of your upper body muscles, this has it covered completely.
If you have the space to store this at home and you're serious about building functional muscle, you won't regret buying one of these.