Build a strong back and big arms with pull-ups.
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A pull-up bar is a staple piece of kit for any home gym. As the name implies, pull-up bars are designed for performing different variations of pull-ups. This doesn't mean you're limited to just pull-ups. With a little creativity and a few basic equipment additions, you can perform a workout that targets your whole body using a pull-up bar.
Try Pull-Up Exercises
Make pull-up variations the basis of your workout. Traditional pull-ups involve taking a wide grip on the bar with your palms facing away, while chin-ups utilize a narrow grip with palms facing you. To make pull-ups and chin-ups more difficult, personal trainer Marc Perry recommends looping a towel around the bar and performing pull-ups holding onto the towel. He also suggests doing chin-ups with a clap at the top or one-arm pull-ups. If you haven't mastered pull-ups yet, coach Ben Bruno in Boston recommends inverted rows. For these, you'll need to lower your pull-up bar to around chest height. Sit on the floor underneath it, stretch your legs out in front and pull your chest toward the bar while keeping your heels on the floor.
Add Some Upper-Body Moves
Pull-up and chin-up exercises work your back, biceps, shoulders, forearms and core, which leaves your chest and triceps slightly neglected. Rectify this by using your bar for different types of pushups. If you have an adjustable bar, set it so it's around waist height and perform pushups with your hands on the bar or with your hands on the floor and feet on the bar. The former option is easier and a good choice for learning correct pushup technique, while the latter is much more challenging.
Incorporate Lower-Body Moves
The pull-up bar doesn't lend itself to lower-body moves as well, but it's still possible. When learning squats and lunges, you can hold the bar to help with balance and support. For the rest of the time, you're better off performing bodyweight squat and lunge variations and leaving the pull-up bar for upper-body training. Certain core exercises work well on the pull-up bar though. Try leg raises, where you hang from the bar and lift your legs up in front of you while squeezing your abdominals. Start with your knees bent before progressing to straight knees.
Add Some Bands
A resistance band or two can take your pull-up bar training to a whole new level. Loop your band over the bar and place your knees in the loop for assisted pull-ups - an easier version of the real thing. With the band still looped over the bar, you can perform face pulls and band pull-downs for your upper back, as well as chest presses and triceps push-downs. Train three times per week on non-consecutive days on your full-body plan and include five to six exercises each workout. Start with three sets of eight to 12 repetitions on each exercise, adding extra reps and sets as you get fitter and stronger. Be sure to warm up your muscles before working out with five to 10 minutes of light cardio.