Last Updated on the June 25, 2020
You have been working out for some time now, and you are over thousands of reps of sit-ups, crunches, and other abdominal exercises. Your abs look better, and you feel your core getting stronger. But, you also feel your abs are getting used to the same activities, and they cry for something more challenging to keep growing. Exercises that boost the size and strength of those stomach muscles.
I have a hint for you! Switch to a pull up bar ab workout!
Have you ever seen those guys and women doing the street workout? They only do bodyweight training (calisthenics). They have such midsection that even pro bodybuilders would pay for it.
What do they do?
They have abs workout with pull up bar to strengthen their core from every angle. But, I also have to mention that bodyweight exercises like pull-ups work the core very well alone.
Note: 99% of the people have ab workouts to shape their tummy. However, it has more benefits than “just” looking good. A strong core gives you a better posture, lowers the risk of back pain and injuries. And you will be able to perform better in any sports. Finally, bar exercises improve your grip strength.
Here I’m going to show you how to strengthen your core with a pull-up bar.
Pull up bar exercises for abs
1. Hanging knee raises
The knee raise is a basic move, which is good to start to get used to these types of hanging exercises. Also, it is useful if you have flexibility issues.
Grab the bar and hang. By keeping your knees next to each other, pull your lower body as high as you can. The best is if your knees reach almost your chest. At the top of the movement, squeeze your abs for a moment. Then, slowly lower your legs to the starting position.
I add more resistance to my knee raises by keeping my torso angled slightly. I mean, my body is not perpendicular to the ground, but a bit angled forward. This way, my abs are always tightened and more control required from the upper body. Hence, it works more fibers at once.
Tip: If you can already do many reps of hanging knee raises, let’s say 40 reps, you can use add additional resistance with the help of a rubber band, ankle weights or a dumbbell. But, keep the proper technique.
What does it work? Knee raises works you transversus abdominis, the muscle group that gives the six pack look.
2. Hanging Leg Raises
Leg raises are better than knee lifts because it provides a full range of motion. And, that leads to better strength and muscle growth. Also, since you have to lift your entire lower body, the resistance is much higher, and it also works your legs.
How to do it? Hang from the pull-up bar and keep your body vertical to the ground. Then, by keeping your legs close to each other, lift your lower body. Do not bend your knees or swing. Focus on your core. Obviously, the higher you raise your legs, the more difficult the exercise is. If you have just started, go until your thighs are parallel to the ground. At the top hold your lower body for a moment and slowly lower your legs back to starting position.
Tip: If you are at an advanced level, raise your legs as high as you can. Toes to the bar is the most advanced variation. You can also use ankle weights for additional resistance.
What does it train? Your entire core since it has to control the motion and stops swinging, but rectus abdominis is the most targeted muscle group.
3. L-Hang Holds
The previous ones were dynamic exercises, here are two static ones.
Start it with a dead hang, by keeping your legs close to each other, lift them until they are parallel to the floor. Keep it as long as you can. If it is too hard, then you may want to start with the assisted version when you bend your knees slightly.
This pull up exercise targets your upper and lower abs, and of course, your quads.
L-hang side to side
This version is almost the same as the previous one, but instead of “just” hanging, you need to move you raised legs to the sides. This way, you can strengthen your obliques as well.
4. Around the world exercise
This is a complete core training working every part of your belly. With that, it is pretty hard.
Again hang from the pull-up bar. Lift your legs as if you were doing standard hanging leg raises but raise them almost up the bar. Then, rotate your legs in a circle to the left and to the right. Control the motion with the power of your core.
5. Windshield Wipers
Now let’s focus on the obliques, those side ab muscles which are responsible for that V-cut shape.
Hang from the bar, and lift your legs until they almost reach the bar. Then, like the windshield wiper of a car move your raised legs to sides. Try to keep your legs straight, which is not easy, a little bit of bending is OK.
Wasn’t enough? Here over 30 ab exercises you can with the pull-up bar which are mainly the variations of the previous five. But, they are perfect for adding variety to your core workout routine.
Note: These pull up bar abdominal exercises are core strengthening exercises, so they are not for burning belly fat. Although, since they are compound moves, they burn more calories than standard isometric practices. To lose fat, do fat burning cardio exercises, pay attention to your nutrition and diet. This way, you lose body fat, which is the key to build six pack abs.
Example pull up bar ab workouts
I believe these are far enough for a complete bar abs workout. Anyway, what is a full training? That works every part of your stomach. Since we are talking about bodyweight training, each of the exercises above is compound. Meaning, they work more muscles at once, not like isolated ones. So, with just one activity, not only one abdominal muscle, but many stabilizing muscles are engaged as well.
But still makes the workout versatile enough to target each part.
So here is an intermediate sample routine
- 3×15 hanging leg raise
- 3×10 around the world
- 3×30 second (or more) L-hold
Do 3-4 rounds depending on your fitness level.
Obviously, if you want to improve your obliques, do more torso rotation exercises. If you wish to focus on your upper and lower abs, for getting six pack, have more raises.
Well, if you are a beginner, it is better to start with exercises with a shorter range of motion, so when you use your knees. Here is a sample plan.
Do 3-4 sets with 10-20 reps.
To sum up
With the help of these pull up bar ab exercises, you can get such a core training that you may have never experienced before. Compared to the ones done on the floor, they are far more complex and hard, but that is why they are so useful. Plus, you can do them at home since you need just a chin-up bar or a power tower. If you have questions or something else to share, feel free to do it below.