One indulgent holiday spread (plus desserts!) later, you’re probably like me – busy searching for how to put my tummy back to shape. Well, how about giving these pull-up bar exercises for abs a try?

Beginner Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Abs

The best way to start is to do beginner core exercises first, then progress to other variations when you’re ready.

Hanging knee raise

This move is the foundation of the more challenging exercises listed here. And so, you must learn and master the hanging knee raise first.

It’s a gentler form of leg raises that targets your lower abs.

  1. To start, wrap your hands around the bar with your arms a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your legs dangle on the floor and keep your chest up. Inhale and keep your glutes and core tight.
  3. Next, exhale and slowly bring your knees up towards your chest.
  4. Hold this for a second. Then inhale as you lower your feet back to starting position.
  5. Try this raise-and-release move with 12 to 15 repetitions.

Tip

Try not to swing and keep your body still when raising or lowering your legs.

If you’re struggling to raise both legs, try leaving one leg down. Then, raise one knee to your chest at a time.

Hanging knee raise twist

I like doing pull-up bar exercises for abs, particularly those I can easily modify to target another core section.

This move, for example, uses the hanging knee raise concept. But the added twist now focuses on your obliques or abdominal sides.

  1. To start, wrap your hands around the bar with your arm a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your legs dangle on the floor and keep your chest up. Inhale and brace your core and glutes.
  3. Next, exhale and slowly bring your knees up towards your chest, twisting to one side as you lift them.
  4. Hold this for a second. Then inhale as you lower your feet back to starting position.
  5. Repeat this move by alternately twisting your sides 12 to 15 times.

Tip

You can also try the hanging knee raise extension move. Here, instead of twisting, extend your legs out in front, with your feet together.

Then, bend your knees back to your chest before returning to starting position. This variation targets your hip flexors and upper quads.

Health Constitution_Leg Raise and Other Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Abs

Garhammer raise

The Garhammer raises are your advanced hanging knee raises. Similarly, these pull-up bar exercises for abs targets your lower core section.

  1. Start with the hanging knee raise position, keeping your core engaged.
  2. Then, bring your knees up higher towards your chest. Your lower back should be rounding a bit more.
  3. Lower your legs back to starting position without straightening your knees.
  4. Try doing this move 15 times or more.

Tip

You might feel the burn sooner than you think before completing a set of Garhammer raises.

Don’t stress yourself out, and switch back to standard hanging knee raise when needed.

Intermediate Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Abs

Once you feel confident with the basics, it’s time to set the bar higher (no pun intended!).

Hanging straight leg raise

This move is another pull-up bar staple based on your beginner hanging knee raise exercise.

  1. Start with a dead hang position from the pull-up bar. Next, inhale and brace your abdominal muscles.
  2. Tuck your hips, exhale and raise your legs until parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your knees straight and feet together.
  3. Pause for a second before lowering your legs to starting position.
  4. Try repeating this move 8 to 12 times.

Tip

This move can stress your spinal discs and may not suit people with back problems. Make sure to ask your doctor first.

If you’re struggling to raise both legs, try alternately raising one leg at a time.

Basic L-sit hang

Hanging L-sits are your advanced straight leg raise. These pull-up bar exercises for abs are an isometric move or muscle contraction without motion.

The move will target your core for sure. But it will also improve your stability and grip strength.

  1. Start with a dead hang position from the pull-up bar. Next, inhale and brace your abdominal muscles.
  2. Tuck your hips, exhale and raise your legs until parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your knees straight and feet together.
  3. Keep the 90-degree position for a few seconds or as long as you can.
  4. Lower your legs to return to starting position and repeat.

Tip

Try bending one leg while keeping the other straight if you cannot keep both legs straight the entire time. 

Do the L-sit flutter kicks if you want an advanced variation.

To do this, alternately pulse your legs up and down once you get to the 90-degree position. Keep your knees straight.

You can also try the L-sit hanging twists.

Health Constitution_Toes to Bar and Other Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Abs

Advanced Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Abs

Ready to put your pull-up bar skills to the test? Then, add these movements to your core workout.

Toes to bar

This advanced core exercise is a staple in CrossFit workout routines. You’ll be able to pull this off if you are comfortable doing hanging knee and leg raises.

Aside from working out the entire core muscle, this move also targets your lats and forearm muscles.

  1. To start, wrap your hands around the bar with your arms shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your legs dangle on the floor and keep your chest up. Inhale and brace your core muscles and glutes.
  3. Next, exhale and slowly bring your knees up to your hands. Keep your knees straight and focus on creating a V-shape form with your body. Try not to lean back too much as well.
  4. Hold this for a second. Then inhale as you slowly lower your feet back to starting position.
  5. Try doing 6 to 8 repetitions of this move.

Tip

Once you get the hang of this move, level up by raising your legs until your toes are touching the bar.

The 90-degree toes-to-bar move is a challenging abdominal exercise, though. It requires more body control to pull off.

Windshield wiper

If you are after killer pull-up bar exercises for abs that need lots of flexibility, then this one is for you.

This exercise targets your core and obliques, plus your upper back and shoulders.

It is an excellent addition to your full-body workout for sure.

  1. From your toes-to-bar position, move your legs down to your left. Keep your knees straight when doing this.
  2. Now, return to the starting position. Then move your legs to the right this time.
  3. Continue this sweeping motion, similar to how wipers work on your car’s windshield.
  4. Try doing 6 to 8 repetitions of this move. Make sure that both sides get an equal amount of reps.

Takeaway

The great thing about a pull-up bar is it’s not limited to your upper body.

With this versatile piece of equipment, we can target our rather stubborn core from various angles for a sculpted midsection!

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