Pullup Alternative: Handy Workhorse Review
Wide-grip pullups are my favorite exercise. I would love to do them at-home but I don’t have a pullup tower, a doorway bar, or even a rafter or else I would do them everyday (sad story, I know).
Let’s face it, when working out at home, your back is one of the hardest areas to hit.
I mean you can do bent-over rows all day and may be even pullovers but it is not the same as the gold standard pullup. But then I got sent the Workhorse: Portable Pullup Alternative!
Design, effectiveness, practicality…etc. these are the simple things I look for when I buy exercise equipment, and it doesn’t happen very often (I’m a poor fitness professional, remember?). I got my hands on one of the new Workhorse portable pullup alternative bar to test it out. Here’s my unbiased Workhorse review:
Pullup Alternatives: The Workhorse
“Don’t Neglect half your upper body, because you can’t do pullups!”
Overview: Portable pullup and pushup bar that can be used anywhere and assembled and stored in seconds. The perfect pullup alternative!
- Design: 4 / 5
- Effectiveness: 5 / 5
- Practicality: 4.5 / 5
- Overall: 4.5 / 5
The Workhorse has the slogan: “Don’t Neglect half your upper body, because you can’t do pullups!” That being said, the bar allows you to do both pushups and inverted pullups from the ground anywhere you have space enough to stretch out.
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My very first thought when I received the package was, “Holy crap this thing is built to last!” Right out of the box, I could tell this thing was sturdy. Likewise, it was incredibly easy to assemble, with no tools required.
The A-frame design is rugged, incredible sturdy, and the materials used are and top-notch (not some flimsy aluminum frame that will buckle)! The sturdy design means you won’t ever have to replace it and it won’t topple over easy.
Likewise, the non-slip grips mean that you won’t be falling off when the sweat starts pouring.
Lastly, it also has convenient spring bolts to allow you to easily fold it up and store it conveniently (like the image shown)! The only problem I could find at all is that it is relatively large (about 2-3 feet tall) but that is to be expected when you want a sturdy base and something that won’t give out on you.
For working the upper body at-home this is about as perfect as you can get. The pushups handles allow you to go deeper into your pushup meaning a more effective workout.
You can then roll over and perform pullups. By planting your feet and not swinging your body you really can torch your arms and your back; it’s higly effective.
Of course, it isn’t like pulling your entire body weight up as with a normal pullup but it is highly effective and difficult. This will add an amazing amount of strength and is perfect for woman who can’t do a pullup in general. This would be a great tool to help you build your upper body strength and burn calories in the process! Yeah, it’s hard but it’s supposed to be hard until you build up your strength!
I’ve found there are a number of other exercises you can do as well: reverse grip pullups, elevated pushups (make sure it won’t slide), dips, and even bicep curls.
A circuit of curls, dips, pushups, pullups for 3 sets of 10 would be a highly effective upper body workout!
Compared to pullup towers and doorway pullup bars, this seems like a good alternative. At roughly $100 bucks it will never break, you can use forever, it is a lot smaller and a lot cheaper than a pullup tower and when paired with dumbbells can help you get a complete body workout.
Unlike doorway pullup bars that can fail and quite honestly do not instill the most confidence (e.g. you’re 3 feet off the ground just waiting for the friggin’ thing to fail; we’ve all seen the YouTube videos), you don’t have to worry about the Workhorse buckling under pressure.
Plus, it is portable so you can move it to wherever you want! No need for doorways, bolts, tools or anything like that.
This would be great for an office where you can get a great workout in relatively quickly during your lunch break!
The Workhorse really is a neat, simple, yet effective piece of at-home workout equipment. Its sturdy design and simplicity make it a great way to work your back which can commonly be the most difficult muscle to work at-home.
Cutting through all of the BS, my final verdict is that I feel it is a great tool to improve your upper body strength and compared to the alternatives out there, it’s top-shelf.
You can find more information on this pullup alternative at MyWorkHorse.com.
*Disclaimer: We have personally tried each product we review and provided our honest opinion. The products were provided free of charge.*
Josh (M.S., PT) is the founder and editor of DIY Active. He enjoys blending the latest science with health practices to help you exercise smarter. He enjoys providing as much free content as possible to help you get fitness results at home!