"Undoubtedly, the muscle group that regularly tops all of the 'most wanted' lists is abs," writes fitness trainer Ray Klerck in his book Body Trainer for Men. "Even if you couldn't care less about these lists, a solid set of abs is bound to get you a little more attention." Klerck then notes that if aesthetics isn't your goal, think about the other benefits: better posture, better sports performance, better back pain management, etc.
No matter your reasons for wanting a solid set of defined abdominal muscles, there’s no need to go to the gym and use fancy equipment. A simple pull-up bar, like the Pullup & Dip, is all you need to effectively work out your abs.
Try these top 10 best pull-up bar exercises and see the shredded physique and strength you need.
1. Leg Raises
Take the simple knee raise (where you hang from a bar and raise your knees up towards your upper body) and bring it to the next level with hanging leg raises. Because you’re hanging and also using one of your largest muscle groups (i.e. your legs and glutes), this ab exercise is a great way to burn extra calories while incorporating a full body workout. This means you slough off more body fat, helping to reveal your six pack quicker.
Hang from the pull-up bar. Relax so your body and arms form a straight vertical line. Without swinging, raise your legs forward as high as possible without bending your knees. Once you’ve raised them as far as you can go, pause, then lower them back down.
2. Knee Raises
Knee raises are a gentler form of leg raises. Incorporate them into your workout if you don’t yet have the full range of motion required for leg raises, either due to flexibility issues or strength issues. The movement is identical to leg raises. However, instead of keeping your legs straight and raising them upward, you can bend your knees and raise your knees up to your chest.
3. Around the World
Make your abs work for their next around-the-world vacation with the around the world exercise. It’s similar to a leg raise, but incorporates a wide range of motion to work every angle of your abdominal muscles for a well-defined six pack.
Hang from the pull-up bar with your hands spaced apart by the same width as your shoulders. While bracing your core, raise your legs up so your feet are a little higher than the height of the pull-up bar. While maintaining control rotate your legs in a circle in one direction. Pause, then rotate them in the opposite direction.
4. Toes to Bar
If you’ve ever visited a CrossFit box (their term for a gym), you’ll likely see the toes-to-bar workout on the workout of the day (WOD). Jump up and grab the pull-up bar with your hands spaced apart just a little bit wider than your shoulder width. Swing your feet back while tightening your glutes and core, then swing forward with your hips to bring your feet (and toes) up towards the bar.
5. The Dragon Flag
This is an ab exercise fit for celebrities. Literally. You might recognize it from the training montage in the fourth Rocky movie, and it was created by Bruce Lee himself.
With the Pullup & Dip bar anchored at a low height near the ground, lie down facing up and grab the bar over your head. Swing your legs up a few off the ground upward and, tightening your abs, raise your torso off the ground or bench. You are now elevated off the ground with your core strength. Slowly lower yourself back down.
Hang from the pull-up bar, then get into the tuck position (knees raised up towards your chest with legs bent) and open your shoulder blades back and down. Then, initiate the pullup by pulling yourself up towards the bar. Maintain the tuck position with your core tight the entire time. Lower yourself back down, then untuck yourself back into a straight hanging position.
7. L-hang siders
Hang from the portable pull-up bar with your hands placed apart by a shoulder width. Raise your legs up in front of you to form a 90-degree angle at the hips. Without flinching or moving the angle of your hips, rotate your torso from side to side, first moving your legs as far to the left as possible, then as far to the right as possible. Try to limit how much your chest and upper body move.
8. Windshield Wipers
Your obliques are an often neglected part of your six pack, but they help to define and lean-down your torso for a stronger and more impressive V-shaped upper body. While the windshield wiper workout is often done on the ground, do it from the Pullup & Dip bar or our multi-grip pull-up bar for increased resistance due to gravity, which in turn helps you to burn more fat and work your abs harder.
Hang from the pull-up bar, then raise your toes toward the bar to get into a pike position. In this pike position, slowly and with control move your legs back and forth, similar to how a windshield wiper moves across your car’s windshield.
9. Hanging Crunches
This pullup bar ab exercise for abs is exactly what it sounds like: crunches done while hanging from the pull-up bar. Hang vertically in a neutral position, then tighten and bend your core just like you would in a traditional crunch. Bring your legs up and forward, bent at the knee. Pause, then straighten back into a hanging position. Avoid the urge to simply drop your legs. Instead, lower them slowly and with precision. Hanging crunches are one of the toughest pull-up bar exercises for abs!
Install the Pullup & Dip bar in a low dip position so the bar is located about 10cm above the ground. Place your feet on the bar, only letting your toes touch it. Your elbows should be beneath your shoulders and support the upper body. Your forearms should be parallel or run up to each other, hands touching each other. Now engage all the muscles in your body to increase tension by aligning your upper body, hips, abdomen, and lower body and remaining in this position for as long as possible.
Do you also want to do more pull-ups?
Then we recommend you our FREE eBook with the top 23 tips for more pull-ups. DOWNLOAD NOW FOR FREE.