The Pull-Up Alternative at Home

pull up alternative

Pullup Alternative: Handy Workhorse Review

Wide-grip pull-ups 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 every day (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 maybe 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 bars to test it out. Here’s my unbiased Workhorse review:

Pullup Alternatives: The Workhorse

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 pull-ups from the ground anywhere you have space enough to stretch out.


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, incredibly 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 easily.

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 handle allows 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 highly effective.

Pushup and pullup alternative

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 women 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, and pullups for 3 sets of 10 would be a highly effective upper body workout!


pullup alternative BicepCurls
Bicep Curls

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 it 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!

Final Verdict

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 here.

Follow Me
Founder at DIY Active
Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
Follow Me
Latest posts by Josh Anderson (see all)

Disclosure: In the spirit of full disclosure, may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain reviews or your clicking on links posted on this website.