Pull Up Bar Workout – 20 Exercises For All Your Muscle Groups

There are cases where, a pull up bar is all people have to train with. Usually when traveling or being stuck at home.

But worry not! You can still get a great workout in and build solid muscle, with just a pull up bar!

Using Calisthenics and your own bodyweight you can target a great variety of muscle groups in your body, without needing any other equipment.

1. PULL UP

The Pull up is one of the most effective upper body exercises and prerequisite for a a lot of Calisthenics skills such as the front leverback lever and human flag.

In order to perform it properly, you need to grasp the bar with a shoulder wide grip and pull with both hands evenly.

Make sure you are performing the full range of motion and you don’t use momentum by keeking or swinging.

2. CHIN UPS

Chin ups are basically pull ups with reverse grip. Which is when your palms are facing towards you.

The different grip has a different impact on the muscles you use during the exercise. So, when you do chin ups you engage your biceps more than when you do pull ups.

3. INVERTED HANG

Inverted Hangs are a great way to build isometric strength and work your grip in order to accomplish the Front Lever.

An Inverted Hangs is performed by hanging upside down from the bar or rings

It feels like doing a hanging handstand.

The easiest way to pull to the inverted position is with bent arms and your body tucked… Try starting with a pull-up first and eventually progress to using less of a pull-up (straighter arms) and less of a tuck (extended feet).

When you are working these progressions you should focus on keeping your core tightengaging your quads, glutes and abs.

4. CLIFFHANGER PULL UPS

The cliffhanger pull ups are used quite a bit in the military and are a good transfer over to one arm pull up.

You grasp the bar with a mixed grip and pull until your shoulder touches the bar. Repeat from the other side.

Don’t forget to keep a hollow body position and engage your core.

5. HEADBANGER PULL UPS

Headbanger is a push and pull motion, wich really works your deltoids, your biceps, your forearms and your back.

In order to perform it, you need to pull yourself up, until your head is above the bar. Then keep this position and go back and forth.

You could also bring your legs up into an L-sit position, in order to activate your core muscles too.

6. TYPEWRITER PULL UPS

Typewriter pull ups are a great pull up variation.

In order to perform it you need to do a regular pull up and stop at the top position. Then you need to move from one side to another, without descending.

It’s almost like a unilateral movement where you’re moving to one limb point. That is why it is called the typewriter, because you are essentially moving like a typewriter.

7. MUSCLE UPS

The muscle-up is an advanced bodyweight exercise, within the domain of Calisthenics. It is a combination routine of a radial pull-up followed by a dip. Variations exist for the rings as well as the bar.

For this reason, the muscle up is one of the most rewarding exercises available, in terms of improving your upper-body strength. It targets a variety of muscles, including your chest, back, shoulders, abs, biceps and triceps!

A Muscle up is, actually, a pull-up that transitions into a dip.

8. LEG RAISES


The Hanging Leg Raises is an exercise similar to the Dragon Flag, but with your body vertical to the ground.

Hold onto a pull-up bar and lift your legs as high as you can without bending your knees or using any momentum.

Then slowly lower them back down. Perform the lowering in a controlled way.

You must try to keep your legs as straight as possible and your glutes tight.

9. AROUND THE WORLd

Around the world is amazing exercise for your lower abs.

Grasp the bar, keeping your feet together, lift them towards the bar and down again making a cycle movement. Repeat from the other side.

Make sure you don’t bend your arms and knees to much.

10. SKIN THE CAT

The Skin The Cat exercise helps you build straight arm pulling strength, required for a lot of calisthenics skills like the front lever and back lever

Start in a regular hanging position and pull yourself through the Lever Position to an Inverted Hang and move down backwards to a hanging position. 

Keep your shoulders and hips in line and use your back and core strength to pull your body… don’t to use your arms’ strength to pull yourself up… Your arms must remain straight.

11. PULL OVER

The bar pull over is an amazing pulling exercise that challenges your core and back muscles.

It is, also, a great method for getting yourself over the bar, if you are not comfortable with the muscle-up yet.

In order to perform it, you need to do a pull up row until the bar touches your belly button. Then, using momentum, you need to bring your legs over the bar and let their weight roll you over the bar.

12. PULL UP ROWS

The pull up row is an amazing calisthenics back exercise that targets your middle and upper back as well as your lats and core muscles.

In order to perform it, you need to grasp the bar and pull up until your head is in line with the bar. Then, keeping your arms bent and your legs straight engage your core and raise your legs right up towards the bar.

As your legs get closer to the bar, straighten your arms and lower your body, until it’s parallel with the ground. Then, you need to pull up as high as you can making sure your keeping your legs straight, your back parallel to the ground and your core engaged at all times.

Pull the bar to your hips. This will not only allow you to pull all the way up to the bar but it will also ensure that you get the maximum contraction on your back muscles which will help build the muscles in your back.

13. STRAIGHT BAR DIPS

The straight bar dips are a great exercise for working your chest and triceps.

When doing this exercise, the bar should touch your lower chest and upper abdominals. In order to do that you have to lift up your hips a bit and then go down until the bar touches your chest.

14. SCAPULAR PULL UP

Scapula Pull ups are extremely beneficial for shoulder healthscapular strengthimproving pull up form and helping progress to more difficult Calisthenics skills such as the handstandplanchefront leverback leverhuman flag or muscle up.

Start by hanging from the bar, with relaxed shoulders.

Then, without bending your arms or swinging, perform a reverse shrug to depress your shoulder blades. Pause for a second at the bottom, then return your shoulders to the starting position.

15. ICE-CREAM MAKERS

The ice cream maker exercise is a great exercise for training the front lever.

In order to perform it, you need to get to the top position of the pull up first. Then, keeping your elbows tight into your body, lean back into lever to full elbow lockout.

Find the rhythm of the movement and keep extending your body in front to horizontal.

16. WINDSHIELD WIPERS

The windshield wiper is an amazing exercise that targets your rectus abdominis, lower abs, hip flexors, obliques and your shoulders as well.

In order to perform it, you need to hang from the pull up bar and perform the following three moves:

  • First move is toes towards your right hand
  • Second move is toes towards your left hand
  • Third move is toes to the middle or your head

Make sure you are keeping your feet together, and your core tight throughout the whole movement.

17. FRONT LEVER

The Front Lever is one of the three lever exercises in Calisthenics (alongside with the Back Lever and the Planche).

It is a static hold normally performed on the still rings or the pull-up bar.

A front lever is performed by lowering from an inverted hang, with straight arms, until the body is completely horizontal, facing upwards.

Advanced athletes may also pull directly into the horizontal position from a dead hang

Levers require a high degree of back and core strength. Their isometric nature, helps your tendonsget stronger too.

18. BACK LEVER

The Back Lever is one of the three lever exercises in Calisthenics (alongside with the Front Lever and the Planche).

It is a static hold normally performed on the still rings or the pull-up bar.

A front lever is performed by lowering from an inverted hang, with straight arms, until the body is completely horizontal, facing the ground.

Levers require a high degree of back and core strength. Their isometric nature, helps your tendonsget stronger too.

19. ONE ARM PULL UP

The one arm pull up is a great move for isolating your arms and maximising your pulling strength. Doing this, you’re now pulling your entire body weight versus half the amount by doing it with two arms.

The amount of control, strength, and power that you gain from this exercise, you really can’t gain from any other.

And when it comes to calisthenics training, the way to apply more weight is by eliminating as much assistance as possible, whether it is momentum or the assistance of another arm.

And specifically for this exercise, you’re gonna gain massive rear delt strength and bicep strength as well as oblique core and total body engagement, in order to maintain your body in that tight lock position, while pulling your body up with one arm.

Imagine how hard it is, already, to stabilise your body with two arms staying as tight and as straight as possible. When you take away that other arm, all of that balance, strength and power is concentrated onto one arm.

Don’t forget to train both sides.

20. HIGHT L-SIT PULL UPS

The hight L-sit pull ups really emphasise on keeping control of your core and your entire body.

When doing pull ups as well as having so much dead weight, you’re really struggling in every single rep. When your legs are up in an L-sit, that angle increases the resistance and force on your back and your shoulders, while really challenging your core at the same time as well as your hip flexors, in order to keep your legs as straight as possible.

For the intermediate version, I would suggest trying just normal L-sit pull ups.

And for more beginners, I would suggest trying to do the same exercise with your legs tucked.

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