Best Pull-up bar ab workout: Here are 12 Exercises

Training the abdominal muscles using a pull-up bar isn’t easy at all especially for beginners and overweight people. But if you’re one of those who can do a pull-up bar ab workout, then you must try all exercises that I’m going to share in this post.

Top 12 Ab exercises that you can on a Pull-up bar

1. Pull up bar Hanging Bicycle

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Fitness Require: Good core strength and hanging strength.

Muscles Worked: Full-body ( Because It’s hanging variation) but especially the entire core muscle.

Benefits: The hanging variation of bicycle crunches gives extra benefits to your body other than abs. Hanging increase your grip strength, forearm power, as well as improve stability. And adding bicycling motion to this exercise strengthens your core and helps you build six-pack abs.

Instructions to perform bicycle crunches on pull-up bar

  1. Get on a pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar firmly, and hang straight.
  2. Raise your legs at your hips level so that your body forms “L” shape.
  3. Keeping your abdominal muscles engaged, bring your one knee in as the other knee goes out (like a bicycle pedal motion).
  4. Perform each rep in the medium range of motion and complete two sets of 10 reps each.

If you want to make it easier; keep your legs straight (heel facing the ground) and pedal your feet straight down instead of pedalling at hips level. This move can be a good one for beginners to start. And as you progress this move, you’ll be ready to perform the harder one.


2. Pull-up bar Oblique Twist

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Fitness Require: Good core strength and hanging strength.

Muscles Worked: Obliques, rectus abdominis and hips

Benefits: The hanging Oblique twist or knee-tuck to twist is one of the best pull up bar abs workout especially works on the internal and external oblique. This also improves flexibility as well as forearm and grip strength.

Here are steps to perform hanging oblique twist

  1. Hang onto the bar with your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and legs are straight downward.
  2. Now bend your knees and tucked them in front of your chest. After that twist them to the right and then to the left.
  3. Then lower back down and again bend your knees and raise at chest level and repeat the same steps as many times as you can.

If you want to make it harder then don’t let your leg down after the one rep. In other words, twist both sides for the desired number of reps without dropping your legs down.

There’s one more variation you can try but this will be more challenging. To perform the harder variation, keep your legs straight in front of you instead of bending your knees. And then twist both sides as many times as you can without lowering your legs down.


3. Pull-up bar hanging leg raise

Difficulty Level: Beginner To Intermediate

Fitness Require: Good hanging strength.

Major Muscles Worked: Lower Abs

Benefits: The most challenging part is to lose lower belly fat. And there are only a few exercises that burn lower belly fats and expose ab muscles, and leg raises is one of them. The hanging leg raise strengthens the core, burn calories faster, enhances balance and stability, improve hanging strength and thicken your lower ab muscles.

Steps to perform the hanging leg raise:

  1. Get on a pull-up bar with your hands are shoulder-width apart and legs are straight downward.
  2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight and raise your legs upward in front of you until they are parallel to the ground.
  3. Hold for a second at the same height and then slowly lower down, and repeat as many times as you like.
  4. Recommended sets and reps: 2*6.

Pro tips: 1) Do not bend your knees as you raise your legs upward. 2) Make sure to engage your lats as you raise your legs, and 3) Perform in a control motion in order to avoid excess body movement.

If you want to make it harder, then you can do pull-ups when your legs are parallel to the ground. This will be tough but it will work on the entire body.

If you think you need the toughest variation, then you have an option to use a dumbbell in this move. To do this, just hold the dumbbell between your feet and do as many reps as you can with the same manner mentioned above.


4. Hanging Knee Raise

Difficulty Level: Beginner To Intermediate

Fitness Require: Good hanging strength

Major Muscles Worked: Six-pack abs muscle

Stepwise instructions to perform pull-up bar hanging knee raise

  1. Get on a pull-up bar with your hands are shoulder-width apart and legs are straight downward.
  2. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, bring your knees upward toward your body until they are parallel equal to your chest.
  3. Hold for a second at the same height and then straighten your legs, and repeat as many times as you can.

If you want to make this move harder, then add a dumbbell in this move. To perform the dumbbell knee raise, hold the dumbbell between your feet and follow the same steps mentioned above.

Benefits: The hanging knee raise is one of the easier pull-up bar ab workout variations. And even if you can’t perform proper pull-ups then you also might be able to do this. The hanging knee raise benefits include; strengthening the abdominal muscles, thickens six-pack abs, create stability and muscular tension in the abdominals, enhanced gymnastic and other calisthenic type movements, as well as, improve balance and overall performance.


5. Pull-up bar Toes To Bar Ab workout

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Fitness Require: Good core, forearm and grip strength as well as control, and coordination.

Major Muscles Worked: Almost full-body especially Core

How to do hanging toes to bar:

  1. Get on a pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart and legs are straight and together downward.
  2. Firmly hold the bar, keep your ab muscles tight and lift your legs all the way up so that your toes touch the bar.
  3. Make sure to engage your lats as you raise your lift your legs up toward the bar. Then slowly lower your legs back to the beginning position. And repeat this exercise as many times as you can.

Benefits: This is one of the toughest and best pull up bar ab exercises that work on the almost complete body. It has several benefits such as it improves grip, shoulder, back and the core strength. Toes to bar help you build six-pack abs faster, enhance balance and stability and accelerates overall performance.


6. Pull-up bar L hang

Difficulty Level: Beginner To Intermediate

Fitness Require: Good grip and hanging strength

Major Muscles Worked: Abdominal

Here are the steps to perform pull-up bar L hang:

  1. Get on the pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart and palms are facing away, and hold your leg straight and together.
  2. Raise your leg upward in front of you until they are parallel to the ground (so that your body forms “L” shape). Do not bend your knees as you lift your leg up.
  3. Hold in this position for as long as you can and make sure your abs are fully engaged.

This isn’t an easy exercise but if you want to make it harder, then you can hold a dumbbell between your feet.

Benefits: This is an advanced variation of the dead hang. L hang engage your abdominal muscles, relieve shoulder stress and gives a nice stretch to the upper body.


7. Pull-up bar Side Leg Raise

Difficulty Level: Beginner To Intermediate

Fitness Require: Good grip and hanging strength

Major Muscles Worked: External and Internal Oblique

Steps to perform side leg raise on a pull up bar

  1. Start with hanging on the bar with your hands are shoulder-width apart and legs are straight and together.
  2. keep your abdominal muscles tight, bend your knees and raise to the right side then lower it down.
  3. Again raise your knees to the left side then lower it down. That’s one repetition.
  4. Recommended reps: As many as you can.

If you make it harder, don’t bend your knees and raise your legs all the way out to the sides as high as you can.

Benefits: This is one of the best ab workouts you can do on a pull-up bar. It will engage your oblique, and improve hip mobility as well as build a strong core.


8. Hanging Knee Circles or Around the World

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Fitness Require: Good core, forearm and grip strength as well as control, and coordination.

Major Muscles Worked: Obliques

https://youtu.be/fH_LyJ9hMeU

Here are the steps to perform the hanging knee circles or around the world:

  1. Get on the pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart and palms are facing away, and hold your leg straight and together.
  2. Keep your core tight and bring your knees up to the right, and then across the front and followed by down to the left.
  3. Once you lower your legs on the left side, reverse the steps to complete one rep. Try to perform as many times as you can.
  4. Try to lift your knees as high and across as possible, so that you forms a big circle around your hips.

To make this move more difficult and effective, you can add pull-ups in this exercise. You can do pull-ups when you raise your knees up in front of you or after completing one rep.

Benefits: This is one of the toughest abs workouts you can do on a pull up bar. It works on the entire core, from upper ab, lower ab to oblique. Hanging knee circles also improves grip strength, reduce shoulder stress as well as strengthen back muscles. This will also improve balance and mobility.


9. Hanging Windshield Wipers ( Toughest Pull-Up bar ab workout)

Difficulty Level: Advanced

Fitness Require: Better core, forearm and grip strength as well as good control, and muscles coordination.

Major Muscles Worked: Six-pack abs and obliques

How to do Hanging Windshield Wipers

  1. Hang on the pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart and palms are facing away. Keep your leg straight and together with your feet are facing downward.
  2. Raise your legs all the way up toward the ceiling until they are horizontally straight.
  3. Keeping your legs straight, rotate them from side to side for as many times as you can.

If you want to make it easier, then you slightly bend your knees and then twist from side to side for the desired number of times. However, bending knee variation may also be difficult for beginners. But give it a try and see if you can do it or not and then progress it.

Benefits: The hanging windshield wiper is more advanced or I would say the toughest one from the pull-up bar ab exercises. With this exercises, you can strengthen your core, and thicken your abs and obliques. There are also several benefits you may feel after doing this exercise. And most importantly it will increase your confidence and motivate you for other advance exercises.


10. Pull-up bar Ab Crunches

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Fitness Require: Good grip and hanging strength

Major Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominish

How to preform hanging crunches

  1. Connect the hanging straps to the pull-up bar and put your elbows into it.
  2. Grab the top of the straps with your hands (Let your body hang by the support of the straps). And keep your legs straight and together with your heels are facing the ground. This is your starting position.
  3. Keeping your abs tight, raise your knees toward your upper body but do not rise too high then lower them down and repeat for as many times you can.

Benefits: This variation is slightly easier than knee raise where you have to bring your knees as high as possible. It will also help you build a strong core and some serious abs.


11. Hanging Knees To Elbows

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Muscles Worked: Six-pack abs

This is an easier variation of toes to bar ab exercise. Because in this variation you don’t have to raise your legs all the way up. You just need to bring your knees toward your elbows. You can see below how to do this.

Instructions to perform hanging knees to elbows

  1. Hang on a pull-up bar with your hands are wider than shoulder-width apart and legs are straight and together downward.
  2. Firmly hold the bar, keep your ab muscles tense and lift your legs all the way up so that your knees touch your elbows or come close to your elbows.
  3. Make sure your lats are engaged as you raise your lift your knees up toward your elbows. And then slowly lower your legs back to the beginning position. And repeat this exercise as many times as you can.

12. Pull-up bar Hanging Scissors Ab workout

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Muscles Worked: Six-pack abs

Pull-Up Bar Hanging Scissors Kicks Ab Workout

I would say this is one of the easier ab workout variations that you can do on a pull-up bar. But still you need fair grip and forearm strength so that you can hang on the bar.

Here are steps to perform hanging scissors:

  1. Hang on the pull-up bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart ( palms are facing away). And keep your leg straight and together.
  2. Brace your abdominal muscle, and slightly raise your leg in front of you. This is your starting position.
  3. Now bring your one leg out and return and then bring the other one out and then return (like scissor kicks) and repeat for the desired number of times.

Beginner to Intermediate pull-up bar ab exercises (but not all beginners may perform): Hanging knee raise, hanging scissors kicks, hanging leg raise, side knee raises, hanging crunches and L Hang.

Intermediate to Advanced pull-up bar ab workouts: Hanging Bicycle, hanging oblique twist, hanging leg raise, toes to bar, hanging knee circles or around the world, hanging windshield wipers, and hanging knees to elbows.

Final Words

Pull up abs exercises aren’t a cup of tea for anyone as it requires great grip, forearm, and core strength. Some of the pullup ab workouts are of the moderate level so you may perform. But some of them are the toughest one which is challenging. And if you love challenges then you must do all of them or at least give it try once or twice a week.

If you workout at home then you won’t be able to perform all these exercises but try to perform as many as possible and let’s start from today onwards.

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