6 Effective Upper Body Exercises With A Pull-Up or Chin-Up Bar

Pull-ups are a great asset for building back muscle. (Image via unsplash/Gordon Cowie)
Pull-ups are a great asset for building back muscle. (Image via unsplash/Gordon Cowie)

A pull-up bar is a great exercise to build upper body strength. It's compact, portable, and can be used almost anywhere.

You don't need expensive equipment or a gym membership to get in shape. A pull-up bar is also perfect for anyone who wants to improve their upper body strength without using machines.

Most Effective Exercises With Pull-up Bar

Here are six such exercises:

#1 Pull-up

Pullups are a compound movement that targets the lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps and forearms.

You can do pull-ups with either an overhand grip or an underhand grip. If you want to target your lats more than other muscles in your back (like traps), use an underhand grip. If you want to target your biceps more than other muscles in your back (like lats), use an overhand grip.


You can also perform pull-ups with a pronated grip or supinated grip on the bar, and each variation has its own benefits.

#2 Wide grip pull-up

Wide grip pull-ups are a great way to build strength. They’re also a compound exercise, which means they work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Wide grip pull-ups work your back, biceps and forearms all at once – and they help you improve your grip strength as well.

How to do it:

  • Grab hold of the bar with both hands and palms facing forward (you can use an overhand or underhand grip).
  • The wider your palms are placed on the bar, the easier this move will be for you. Once you’re ready and have secured yourself into position with proper form.
  • Don't worry about how high up or far down you can go just yet; simply focus on getting everything set up correctly first.
  • Begin pulling yourself upward till your chin clears over/past it. Slowly lower yourself back down till your arms are straight again before performing 10-15 repetitions.


#3 Close Grip Pull-up

The close grip pull-up is an ideal exercise to build up your back muscles. You'll need to make sure you keep your hands together, elbows in tight and back straight when doing this exercise.


It's not recommended to swing or bend your knees for assistance, and it's also important not to use your arms for help either.

#4 Chin-up

Here's how it's done:

  • Stand underneath the pull-up bar with your arms slightly outside your shoulders, palms facing you, gripping the bar with a straight grip.
  • Pull yourself up till your chin is above the pull-up bar, and lower back down slowly till your arms are bent at 90 degrees (your elbows should be next to your rib cage).


#5 Neutral Grip Pull-up

Neutral grip pull-ups are done by placing your hands closer together than usual. That can be done with either a pronated grip (overhand) or supinated grip (underhand). You can also perform this exercise with a wide grip or narrow grip.


It's important to train your back for optimal shoulder health, as well as for building strength and size in your biceps, forearms and upper back muscles.

#6 Pull-up Negative

Here's how to perform this exercise:

  • Use a chair to step up on the pull-up bar. In this variation, use a chair, and place it under the pull-up bar.
  • Wth your hands grasping onto the bar and feet resting on top of your chair, pull yourself upwards till your chin is above the bar.
  • Hold for a second or two as you breathe out, and lower yourself back down into your starting position.
  • Use a chair to step down from the pull-up bar. This exercise is similar to stepping up but requires less effort, as there's less distance between where you start (your seated position) and where you finish (standing).
  • When lowering yourself, remember to go as slow as possible to ensure you're getting the most out of the eccentric.



A pull-up bar is a great tool for building upper body strength. Pull-ups and chin-ups are excellent exercises that have been proven to build muscle and increase your fitness level. A pull-up bar can be installed at home or at the gym, allowing you to perform a variety of exercises from the comfort of your own home.

These exercises are great for building upper body strength and help you get the best results from your workouts. You can do them at home with no equipment or at the gym with a pull-up or chin-up bar.

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Edited by Bhargav
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