Are you thinking about what you can do with a pull-up bar? The answer is quite a lot! There are loads of different pull-up variations that will work your chest, back, and abs. We will go into all of these types of pull-ups in this article!
What is a pull-up?
Let’s start with defining a pull-up. A pull-up is a type of strength exercise where you grab onto a bar and, using your arm muscles, pull your shoulders up so they are just above the bar. This exercise is challenging – it requires powerful muscles in your chest, back, triceps, and biceps, as well as a solid core.
Here is how to do a standard pull-up.
- Stand behind the bar.
- Reach up and grab onto the bar with both hands.
- Pull yourself upwards so your shoulders are in line with the bar.
- Hold this for a second or two.
- With control, move back down to beneath the bar.
Different Types of Pull-Ups
There are several different types of pull-ups that are useful for different reasons. Try to perfect your standard pull-up first before moving on to the other moves!
Around the World Pull-Ups
This pull-up variation is excellent for not only your chest and back but also your abs. It isolates different muscles in your upper body and gives them all a really thorough workout.
- Stand below your bar.
- Grab onto the bar and hold it tightly.
- Then, pull yourself upward, moving toward the left as you do so.
- Once you reach the top left, push your body over to the right.
- Once you reach the top right, start lowering your body down.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises are an advanced ab workout, and they are one of the best ways to get a six-pack! Here’s how to complete them.
- Hold onto the pull-up bar with your arms. Keeping your core braced, lift your legs until they are parallel to the ground.
- Keep your legs straight and hold them for as long as you can.
- Then, slowly lower them back to the ground.
Don’t worry if you can’t lift your legs very far, to begin with. If this is the case, keep practicing, and try and lift your legs a little further off the ground each time. This is still an ab workout, and you’ll work up to eventually being able to do a full hanging leg raise.
This is a variation on hanging leg raises that targets your oblique muscles.
- Get into the hanging leg raise position.
- Move your legs slightly further upwards – as much as is comfortable.
- Then, move your legs from left to right, as if they are mimicking windshield wipers.
- Move them back to the hanging position.
- With control, move your legs back to the starting point.
Vertical Knee Raises
This exercise is quite similar to hanging leg raises but uses slightly different muscles and is a different motion. It’s also a great exercise for strong, toned abs.
- Hold onto the pull-up bar with both arms.
- With control, lift your feet off the ground and bend your knees.
- Move your legs up so your thighs are parallel to the ground and your legs are bent.
- Move them up further, slightly higher than the parallel, for an extra boost.
- Then, slowly move them back down.
Again, this is an intense move, and you might struggle with it initially. Keep practicing – just do what you can until you can do it as instructed! If you feel any pain in your back, stop immediately.
Tips for pull-ups
- If you find pull-ups too tricky, you could use a pull-up band to give you some support. These are resistance bands that attach to both your body and the bar and help you move toward the bar a little easier. Once you’ve practiced a few times with a pull-up band, you might have built up your muscles enough to go without!
- If you are struggling to do pull-ups, work on building your chest and back muscles. Do weights like chest presses and clean-up presses, as well as bodyweight exercises like push-ups.
- Practice makes perfect with pull-ups! You may not be able to do one straight away, but with a bit of time and some training, you’ll be performing them with ease.
Whether you are a pull-up pro or just starting, these exercises are great for your upper body, core, and abs. They take a while to perfect, but once you’ve got the hang of them you’re guaranteed to notice the benefits!