Effective Pull Up Bar Workouts

One of the best exercises for strengthening and building over all back development is the pull up bar exercise. These exercises are actually simple but difficult exercises that you can perform with just the presence of simple pull up bar equipment. If you haven’t still included pull ups or chin ups in your current workout routine, then it’s about time that you do so. There are several benefits that you can reap out of this exercise. First, you can just perform this exercise due to the accessibility of the pull up equipment as you can almost see it anywhere especially in the park. Another, it is a great back builder and for the upper body. Third, you can perform different pull up variations that target different areas of the back and the upper body which will be discussed further in this article.

The classic pull ups.

The very first exercise that you must learn when trying to build a strong back is the pull up. This pull up bar exercise develops the outside sweep of the latissimus dorsi, the definition of the middle back and also helps in strengthening the biceps.

  1. When performing the pull ups, get yourself in front of a pull up bar. Grasp the bar with both of your hands using a neutral grip, palms facing away from you. Wrap your thumbs around the bar in order to decrease fatigue in your forearms.
  2. Then slowly raise yourself by pulling yourself up until your chests touch the bar. Hold the top position for two seconds then slowly lower yourself to the starting position but stop before your arms are fully locked out. When performing this exercise, it is essential to engage the muscles of the upper back or the whole back during the positive and negative phase of the exercise. This will ensure that your back muscles do the work instead of just pulling yourself up with your arms which is counter-productive for the back.
  3. One important guideline with this workout is to raise your legs up toward your buttocks in order to minimize the difficulty of the exercise. Maintain a standard wide grip pull up when performing this standard method.

Behind the back pull ups.

This workout is similar to the standard pull ups but focuses the stress on the upper back. It is also a great lat width exercise and shoulder girdle developer.

  1. Take a grasp at the pull up bar with a wide grip, more than shoulder width apart. Wrap your thumbs around the bar and slowly raise yourself up while utilizing the back muscles by squeezing your shoulder blades together. However at the top of the move, raise yourself and hold the position until the back of your neck almost touches the bar.
  2. Then slowly lower yourself for approximately three seconds then stop until your arms are short of the lock out position. Take note that when performing this exercises, use your arms as primary hooks to hold on to the bar only while engaging the full activity of the back muscles. Try also not to kick with the legs when performing this exercise to avoid cheating.

The close grip chin ups.

This pull up bar exercise develops the lower portion of the lats and also develops the lattisimus dorsi or the finger like muscles that appear when you raise your arms atop your head, below the chest area. It also promotes a wider appearance and also targets the biceps.

Start this exercise by using a closer grip, approximately three to four inches apart from each other, with your palms facing toward you. Grasp the bar, hang, then raise yourself back, until your chests almost touch the bar. Lower yourself slowly in order to feel the stretch on the lats more. Ensure that you perform the full range of motion as you perform the exercise. You can also use a double D handle for this exercise in order to minimize the strain in your forearms.  Do for as many reps as you can.

 The side by side pull ups.

This exercise is a harder variation of the traditional pull up as mentioned above. This exercise also targets the width of the back muscles, the arms and the upper back. However, with this exercise, you engage the individual capability of your left and right side of your back as well as the arms. This exercise though, is not for the faint of hearts.

  1. Start the exercise by grasping the bar with both of your hands, with your palms facing away from you. Hang on the bar, then pull yourself up until your chests almost touch the bar, then lower yourself slowly until your arms are almost near lockout.
  2. Then in your next rep, raise yourself towards your right side, engaging the muscles of the back until your chin almost touches the right hand grasping the bar.
  3. Afterwards, lower yourself back again. Pull yourself back again, this time to the left side, engaging the back muscles until your chin almost touches the left hand, holding the left side of the bar.
  4. Repeat for as many as you can. It is vital to have a spotter to assist you when performing this exercise for the first time. Repeat for as many as you can for two to three sets.

The one arm pull up.

This pull up bar exercise is the ultimate challenge for the core, the arms and the back due to its difficulty.

  1. Grasp the bar with a single hand then slowly raise yourself up, until your chests almost touch the bar, then lower yourself, repeat for as many as you can then repeat with the other hand.


Pull up bar exercises are the best exercises for the upper body and over all back development. Make sure that a spotter is preset with you when performing these exercises to avoid injuries. Pull ups take time to practice and to master due to its degree of difficulty. It is essential to strengthen your core as it is involved primarily during this challenging exercise. 

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