If there was one problem at all with pull ups and pull up bars it’s that they can be a little boring. We all know the benefits of pull ups and pull up bars and if you don’t, check out other pages on this site. However, as great as they are for your body, things can get tedious after a while, very quickly. To prevent this from happening then, you need to find interesting ways to use your pull up bar to keep your workout feeling fresh and exciting.
Fortunately, although a pull up bar is created with one exercise in mind, you can switch and change things to create a whole host of alternative exercises. Below we have put together a list of our favourite 10 variations of the exercise including the traditional pull up.
Traditional Pull Up
This is the most basic pull up and the best place to start. You need to stand with your arms shoulder length apart and push them up to hook onto the bar then use your upper body to pull yourself up to or above the bar.
Wide Grip Pull Up
As you can probably guess from the name, this form of pull up makes use of a wider grip. This wider grip is usually around double the width of your shoulders and it is especially effective for building your lats.
Most people wrongly assume that the terms chin up and pull up are interchangeable, when the reality is that there is a subtle difference in the execution of both forms of the exercise. Whereas with a pull up, you grip the bar with your palms facing away from you, with a chin up you grab the bar with your palms facing you. The chin up variation of a pull up places additional pressure on your biceps and helps to build this muscle up more.
Claw Pull Up
The claw pull up can be done in the same stance as either a pull up or a chin up and rather than reaching up for the bar itself, you reach up for some rope that is attached to the bar. This version of the standard applies more pressure to your grip and your forearms.
True One Arm Pull Up
Again, this is a fairly self-explanatory version of the classic pull up and involves using just one arm to pull yourself up to the bar. However, as this is a very difficult exercise to perform, you should only attempt it if you have a very strong upper body and arms and practice it a lot first. It would not be a good idea to attempt this if you have never done a pull up before.
Fake One Arm Pull Up
In comparison to the True One Arm, the Fake version of this exercise still involves you holding the bar with just one arm, with the addition of using your other hand to hold onto your wrist, giving extra support to your body. While this is definitely a much easier version of the above exercise, it will still help to build up the muscles on your arms.
Parallel Pull Up
The parallel pull up can only be achieved on certain pull up machines as you need to hold the bar with both your palms facing each other. This version also especially targets your biceps.
The Sideways Movement is another very hard pull up variation to pull off (pardon the pun) as you need to pull up in a sideways motion so that your chin touches each hand at the top. An even trickier version of this involves pulling yourself up so that your chin is below the bar and then move from side to side.
Backwards Pull Up
This form of pull up is as simple as the name suggests, trying to do a pull up with the goal of bringing the back of your neck up to the bar rather than your chin. It is really good for targeting and working out your biceps and forearms.
Weighted Pull Up
This pull up is not for the faint hearted, but important to learn because it is very effective. Climbers and other athletes and professionals with strong upper bodies find it very easy to work through 20 pull ups very easily. Although this is a good thing in general, it does mean if they really want to build their muscle mass more, they need to add some more pressure and resistance. You can do this by strapping weights to your body and you’ll be amazed the difference adding just one extra pound can make.