Ah the pull-up bar. This can be an intimidating mainstay in your favorite gym. “I can’t even do a pull-up,” you may say to yourself.
Great news: you don’t have to be able to do a pull-up to work up a sweat with this sturdy piece of equipment. This workout can help you work differently and to work your way up to a pull-up, but no pull-ups are required.
However, if you love pull-ups, when you get to the set of negative chin-ups, you can do as many pull-ups or chin-ups as you can, then switch to the negatives variation (which is explained below).
Here’s your workout:
Do this set of seven exercises three total times.
You’ll work for about :45 seconds, giving yourself :15 of rest between. Because you’re getting a lot of rest, make sure you’re working with that high-intensity swagger. If you need less rest and want to work longer, make it :50 of work and :10 of rest. It’s your workout, so get out of it what you want!
Be sure to warm up for about 5 minutes before you start to work.
- :45 Knee raises
- :45 Peeps over the bar
- :45 Oblique v-up (right)
- :45 Oblique v-up (left)
- :45 Negative pull-ups
- :45 Squat jump and tap the bar
- :45 Baby Bear crawl
Here are your moves:
Knee raises: Hanging onto a pull-up bar, control the swinging motion of your body by activating your core. Pull your knees up and into your chest, exhaling on the way up, and lower down with control, inhaling as you lower. For more of a challenge, keep your legs extended straight. You can do this same motion in a v-sit on the floor if hanging gets to be too much effort for your grip muscles to sustain.
Peeps over the bar: This is a more biceps-drive version of a pull-up. holding onto a pull-up bar with a close grip, keep your palms facing each other. Pull up and to the right of the bar, lower down and then pull up and to the left of the bar. If that’s too much, stand on a bench and scale this down by jumping up rather than pulling up.
Oblique v-sit: Laying on the floor, roll onto one glute, keeping your body in a low v-sit position with your heels and your shoulders off the floor. Pull your knees closer to your chest and raise your shoulders off the floor, staying on your one glute. Return to your starting position. To scale up, straighten your legs. To scale down, place your hands on the floor behind you.
Negative pull-ups: Standing on a bench, or just standing on the floor, jump or pull yourself up to the top of your pull-up position . Lower down with control, counting to 4 as you lower. To make it easier, come down from the pull-up bar and shake your hands out between reps. To make it even easier, stand on a BOSU ball and use it as a sort of trampoline and bounce up (be careful and no your surroundings).
Squat jump and tap the bar: Starting in a low squat position, with your feet hip-width distance, your seat back and your weight in your heels. Explode out of that low position and into the air, tapping the bar at the top.
Baby bear crawl: This compact version of a bear crawl with a twist – you’ll move your same side extremities together, rather than separately. This will force you to keep your back flat while you stay in control of your body. Start in an all-fours position. From there, raise your knees 3 inches off the floor, keeping your back flat and engaging your core. Move both your right arm and your right foot forward about 3 inches and then bring your left arm and foot forward at the same time to meet your other extremities. Repeat that forward motion once more and then take two steps back to where you started. Your abs and quads will be on fire by the end of this.
(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)