Upper Body Workouts Using a Pull Up Bar

A pull up station is one of the cheapest and easiest way to build upper body strength both in the home and at the gym.

They’re most commonly positioned in doorways, attached in a manner to support your weight when performing a pull-up repetition.

Alternatives include the wall-mounted, ceiling and free standing pull-up bars, all of which can provide different physical benefits when used.

Pull-Up Benefits

The main areas strengthened by pull-up exercises include a combination of muscles in your arms, chest and back. To complete a healthy number of reps, an impressive amount of upper body strength is needed, along with a strong core.  

The predominant muscle groups improved by pull-up exercises include the:

Pull-Up Exercises

One advantage of using a pull-up bar is the variety of exercises and techniques you can use to produce different workouts. For example, shifting your grip to a wider stance will use your back muscles more, whilst a narrower grip strengthens your arms and chest. Exercises can also be completed any time of the day as part of an overall workout.

The basic approach is to perform simple reps of 10 pull ups, using a relatively wide grip with your palms facing away from you. Lift your body up so your chin clears the bar, then lower yourself down slowly so your arms lock straight again. To make progress with this regular chin-up exercise, add weights to yourself for the additional gains.

An alternative exercise is to combine knee raises with the pull-up itself. This helps improve your abdominal muscles as well as the arm and back areas. When your chin is above the bar, slowly bring your knees up to your chest and then back down again. Repeat as desired in line with your regular pull-up workout.

For advanced users, one arm pull-ups are a fantastic way to improve muscle mass. For beginners, you can use your spare arm to hold onto your wrist for that extra support when lifting. Alternative methods of lifting include shifting your body weight to different sides when lifting, or even shifting yourself in a circular motion. These are more difficult but the effects on your biceps, laterals and abs will be extremely beneficial over time.