If you are just beginning to get back into the habit of working out, it pays to begin with basic equipment and add more as you increase your strength and endurance. One of the most helpful things you can get right now is a pull-up bar. Once you have in securely mounted in a door frame or another area of your home gym, you’ll be on the way to getting strong. Here are some of the exercises that you can do with this one piece of equipment and notice a difference in your strength and muscle tone in a short amount of time.
Palms Facing Away
The classic approach to doing the pull-up is by gripping the bar so that your palms face away from the body. This is known as a pronated grip. In a sense, this allows the pull-up bar to accomplish much of the same action that push up bars provide. The grip enhances the workout on your upper back, abdominal muscles, and your shoulders as well as your upper arms. Remember that you want to ensure your face clears the bar and that you hold the position for a short count before lowering your body to the original position.
Palms Facing You
Another option is to perform the same basic movement, but with your palms facing you. Essentially, you are using this type of weight lifting bar to perform chin-ups. With this supinated grip, you are in a position to place more resistance on your lower and upper arms as well as your chest. As with the classic pull-up, remember to hold your position briefly after your chin clears the bar and then lower yourself back to the starting position.
Hanging Knee Raises
Sometimes known as the Captain’s Chair, you may think this exercise can only be done using parallel bars. In fact, you can do it using a pull-up bar with relative ease. Before using your arms to lift the body toward the bar, bring your knees upward until they are more or less even with your shoulders. The tops of your thighs should be touching your chest.
Once your legs are in the right alignment, use your arms to lift your body until the head clears the bar. Hold the position for a short time, then slowly lower your arms. Finish by lowering your legs until they are once again straight.
Remember that you don’t want your body to swing about and you don’t need to hurry this exercise. The key to getting the most from a hanging knee raise is moving at a slow but steady pace. If you think you are going too quickly, slow down a little.
Combination of Chin-Ups and Push-Ups
Another approach is to alternate a series of chin-ups and push-ups. The number of repetitions per set does not have to be even. In fact, many experts recommend varying the repetitions a bit to add some variety. For example, do one set that includes two chin-ups followed by eight push-ups. Rest for a moment and do a second set that starts with five chin-ups and concludes with five push-ups.
Pull-up or chin up bars can do a lot more than most people think in terms of building muscles and increasing endurance. Look around for the best Olympic bar you can find and make sure it’s installed properly. After you master these basic exercises, ask an expert to show you a few more. It won’t take long before you see a difference in how you look and notice that you feel a lot more energetic.