Pull ups. We can love them or hate them but they are an excellent way to build functional upper body strength.

I'm sure most everyone has done a pull up at least one time in their life. As a kid, I have fond memories of climbing trees or climbing to the top of the jungle gym. Remember swinging from the monkey bars?

I also recall that in the distant past along with sit-ups and pushups, the pull up was used in schools to assess the level of fitness in children.

Most gyms either have some type of an assisted pull up machine, power tower, or even an attachment on a squat rack. These setups are nice because you can target chest or back muscles depending on which set of handles you choose to grip when performing the exercise.

Some city parks even have exercise stations located near walking areas that will typically have a pull up bar available.

And of course, there is the famous pull up bar that somehow magically attaches to the frame of any door in your home. If you haven’t already seen some of the mishaps on YouTube with these things, you should check them out.

A few years ago, I installed a homemade pull up bar in my garage. It ended up costing me about $50 in materials and has worked out quite well.

Pull up bar with the heavy/robust comboRight after finishing the installation, I soon realized that I wasn’t the spry youngster I used to be. The first time I used the bar, I struggled to even do 3 pull ups in a row.  I knew I needed some help.  For a short while, I attempted to use the "chair" method to do assisted pull ups but it felt awkward.

After doing some research on forums and such, I quickly discovered that resistance bands were the answer to my dilemma. I found a lot of great comments on Rubberbanditz so I contacted them. I exchanged a few emails directly with Ari Zandman-Zeman, placed an order, and within a couple of days later my bands showed up in the mail.

Ari recommended going with a Heavy/Robust Pull up Band Combo which if I recall decreased the amount I was pulling-up over the bar by about 120 pounds or so.  That makes a huge difference especially if you happen to be big guy like me.

So if you are a beginner to doing pull ups or just need some help getting over the bar I recommended you check out the Assisted Pull Up Bands page.

Shawn W Knight is the man behind the curtain at Bald and Angry.  He writes articles on a variety of topics including fitness and health.