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8 Exercises to Do on a Pull Up Bar

Sometimes the best workout is a home workout, and a pull up bar can be just what you might need. There are many different exercises to perform on a pull up bar, working not only your arms, shoulders and chest but also your abdominal, gluteal and leg muscles. Combine these chin up exercises with sit ups, push ups and some cardio activity and you have the perfect routine to fit into a fixed budget or use when traveling.


Before doing anything on a pull up bar, it is imperative to make sure you do not swing your body. Keeping in a fixed position during each exercise engages your surrounding stabilizer muscles, working them out as well. Swinging can cause injury.

1. Curl Grab

This is the classic chin up position of holding the bar from the opposite side with palms facing you.

2. Front Grab

This chin up position is exactly what it says, grabbing the bar in the front with forward facing palms. It is much more difficult than the curl grab and can be harder on the wrists.

3. The Monkey  

It is just like hanging from a tree limb by one arm. This exercise strengthens the arm, shoulder and most of all, your stamina. 45 seconds is a good first attempt, but try and make five minutes. You will be surprised at how difficult this is. Set your goal and hang like a monkey, then switch arms and do it again. Note: Before releasing from this position, switch to the opposite arm and shake out the fatigued arm.

4. Crunch Bar

Front grab the bar, hang and then lift the knees and hold to one side for a five count. Hang and repeat to the other side.

5. The Olympic

Front grab the bar, hang, lift the knees to your belly and then slowly extend them straight out in front of you and hold for a five count.

6. On Arm Lift

Front or curl grab the bar, hang, wrap the other hand firmly around the hanging wrist and pull into a chin-up. Be sure and stabilize the wrist and not pull. The pulling should only be done by the hand on the bar.

7. Negatives

This is creating resistance opposite of the intended exercise. For example, if you do a chin up, try a chin down. Go extra slow on the way down from the chin up and really give your stabilizing muscles a wake up call. Negatives can be applied to any of the chin up exercises.

8. Inversion

Hanging upside down offers a unique workout, plus it may boost your metabolism and slow the aging process.  A good pair of inversion boots will allow you to attach yourself to your chin up bar and hang upside down where you can do sit ups, leg strengthening or simply read a book while stimulating blood flow and gently elongating your spine and other joints. Check with your doctor before hanging upside down, and always have someone within helping distance in case of an emergency.


  • Do not swing
  • Do not jerk your body, especially your neck
  • Always have someone nearby
  • Breathe in your nose and out your mouth

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