9 Exercises That Can Replace Pull-ups!
Pull-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises that you can perform. You can do them anywhere and they work the majority of your body, especially your back, arms, and upper body.
Here are some of the best exercises and workouts that you can do instead of your pull-ups that will help you get stronger, more athletic, and improve your core.
This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get the same effect as do pull-ups. Simply elevate on your toes or on a bench and perform as normal.
If you are really tight from some desk-sitting, elevate on your knees to get a full range of motion.
Using a suitable resistance band, grip it and lay on the floor. On your back, bend the knees and put one foot on the band. With a flat back, pull yourself toward the ceiling and try to touch it. Remember to tuck the chin to avoid shoulder strains.
Back Bridge Push-Ups
This is a great isolation exercise for the shoulders. It strengthens the upper body while improving balance and stability. That’s a hard combination of qualities to find in one simple exercise.
Start by lying on your back with your arms and legs fully extended and your hands positioned under your shoulders. Your palms should face forward.
Now slowly lift your torso and hips off the ground while simultaneously raising your feet off the floor. Quickly push yourself up into the bridge position. Make sure that your knees are straight, but not locked.
Hold that position for a few seconds, and then slowly lower yourself back down. You will feel this in your shoulders and core.
Australian Pull up, Inverted Bodyweight Row or Low Bar Pull
How to do it:
Sit under a bar and grab the pull-up bar just outside of each shoulder.
Get your torso as close to the floor as possible.
Pull yourself up and then lower down slowly.
How it helps:
This is a great exercise for building strength in your back and shoulders.
It is also a great way to see how many pull-ups you can do in a row.
If you can’t do any pull-ups at all, you might want to check out our guide on how to do pull ups.
Barbell Bent-Over Row
This basic exercise will develop your back, biceps, and forearms.
Stand up straight and grab a barbell just outside your ankles for support.
Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist. Your hands should hang straight down the entire time, and you should lean slightly forward, not backward.
Once your torso is nearly parallel to the floor, then pull back until your arms are fully extended.
As you do this, your back should be arched to the very end, almost as if you’re trying to reach your belly button with your back.
Dumbbell rows are a great substitution for the pull-up. When you use a pull-up bar, you’re pulling yourself up with just your arms. With dumbbell rows, you’re pulling with a combination of your arms and back muscles. This adds extra resistance, which is beneficial for muscle growth and overall fitness. Even if you don’t have a pull-up bar at home, you can add a dumbbell row to your exercise routine by purchasing a resistance band and fastening it to your weight bench. You can also try out different hand positions. If you have a standard weight bench in your home gym, set both the back supports and the seat so that they can be adjusted. Then, walk or jog on the treadmill while pulling the resistance bands, first with your arms at your side and then with your elbows at your sides.
If you like the pull up because of its simplicity and the fact that it strengthens the upper body and back, you probably can’t stand the equipment you have to use for doing pull ups. Since you can’t get in touch with your favorite pull-up bars, you probably want to get the most out of this exercise.
Pull-up bar Alternatives
If you try to do renegade rows, you won’t have to get the most out of a pull-up bar alternatives since the objective is similar.
A. You stand facing the anchor point.
B. Grab the bar on one side with one hand, and the other anchor point right below with the other hand.
C. Lean forward, and pull the body weight and the pull up bar towards your body.
D. Make sure you don’t let any shoulder shrug.
A. When you are facing the bar, grab it with both hands, keeping your palms facing away.
B. Close your palms towards each other and pull your chin.
C. Then, release the palms and hold the chin for a few seconds.
D. Repeat it for a few repetitions.
Kneeling Lat Band Pull Down
This exercise is a strong variation of the chest supported row that can be harder than the regular version.
The kneeling lat band pull down involves holding a dowel, handle, or a cable bar in each hand at arms length horizontally with elbows locked. Keeping your legs straight, lean back engaging your lats and midsection to lower your torso and upper arms toward the floor. You can use a band to provide extra resistance if needed.
Once you’ve lowered down as far as you can go without moving from your upper back position, squeeze your upper back and return to starting position.
Single Arm Pull Down
The Single Arm Pull Down using rope is an awesome exercise that has been used by Marines and military personnel for killer arm development. It is also an exercise that is overlooked and underutilized. This is unfortunate because this exercise is a lot of bang for your buck. This exercise can be performed at home with just a rope that you can find at any local hardware store for fairly cheap. You can even find it online.
This exercise is a powerful one arm pulling exercise that can be performed with a variety of different grips and each variation will stimulate a different area in the arm.
To perform this exercise, all you need to do is attach a rope to a secure object that is sturdy enough to withstand someone yanking on it. You then attach a handle to the end of the rope and place whichever arm you choose through the handle that is attached. This can be done with the hand that is opposite or the same hand that will be grasping the rope.
You may feel that the handle is not strong enough for your grip. If this is the case, take two separate handles and weld them together so that you can then attach them to the rope together. If you do this, be sure and use a design that is light enough for you because when you’re using your full strength with both arms, it will be even more of a motivating factor than it is if you are just struggling with a single handle.
Door Band Pull Down
Attach a resistance band no more than 6 inches above a door frame at the top and kneel facing away from the door frame. Grab the handles of the band and place hands on top of your shoulders. Next, squeeze your shoulders together and pull up. As you get stronger, move the attachment to new heights to challenge yourself.
Pull Up with a Suspension Trainer or TRX Pull Up
The TRX is designed to be a pull up bar that offers more options than other bars, and if you are looking for a pull up bar you are in luck. The TRX is considered one of the best suspension training and bodyweight strength training system available.
The TRX is a versatile and effective tool. It can be used for a wide range of exercises, and there are different TRX bars available based on your needs.
The TRX Anchor is intended for durability and offers the most versatility because you can train anywhere you can tie a cord or strap. You simply attach the anchor to a doorframe or anything else sturdy, and then use the suspension strap to create a tether between you and the anchor. The TRX Pros Training Package has a soft-grip handle for comfort and is great if you use your home gym a lot.
With the TRX plus, you can do more than just pull ups. You can do lunges, squats, sit-ups, and more. You can use the TRX to make just about any door or doorway in your home resemble a traditional gym. The TRX is a great way to help you continue to train even if you are on the road or in another city.
What Muscles are Involved in Pull-ups?
Many people are familiar with pull-ups due to physical education requirements in school. Unfortunately, too many people become so frustrated by them they don’t give the pull-up bar the chance it deserves.
A pull-up is considered a pulling action and therefore engages several muscle groups. Some of the major muscles involved are the latissimus dorsi on the back, the biceps in the upper arms, the deltoid muscles in the shoulder, and the pectoralis minor, which are the muscles between the chest and the upper arm.
What to do if You Can’t do Pull-ups?
Pull-ups are one of the best exercises you can do, but they’re difficult for many of us. Start with these alternatives if a pull-up is too difficult.
It’s also called an assisted chin-up if you want to use a device to help you. This device will help you in the same way as a lat pull-down machine would. You’ll lift a weighted bar attached to a frame. This motion will help you work your back muscles.
You also can use an assisted pull-up machine. This machine uses a counterweight to help you lift your body weight. Using a machine is better than using a spouse or lifting a couch. It allows you to do the exercise more safely.
Some people say to only use body weight as a beginner, but the problem is that it may take a while for you to figure out how to do the exercise on your own.
Use these to work your way up to be able to do a pull-up.
For beginner: as many as you can do in 10 seconds
For intermediate: 2 sets of 12 reps
For advanced: 4 sets of 6 reps
Parallel pullups are a start to finish motion that starts your arms straight out from your body and bring them up to the bar. It doesn’t include the pulling up motion.
I Am Ready to Get a Pull-up Bar. What are My Options?
If you’re not familiar with the pull-up bar market, then I have some bad news for you. There’s not a whole lot of variety out there.
If you want to do pull-ups, you pretty much have two choices: freestanding and wall mounted. The majority of bars fall in one of those categories and can be put where you want them.
Freestanding Bars Freestanding bars can be any size imaginable. They are generally between one and six feet in length, but they are only limited by the footprint of your home. If you want something that doesn’t take up a lot of room, this is a good option. Most freestanding bars also come with multiple grip positions to take pressure off the grip.
Wall-mounted Bars This is your other main category. It’s slightly more limited in terms of size and weight, but it’s also simpler to install and move around. If you don’t have a ton of space or want something that you can hang anywhere, this is a good option.
Pull-Up Bar Walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If you want to make sure you are actually getting use out of your bar, you should walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Pull-ups are the most effective upper back exercise and can garner you a ton of benefits. There are many brands available but you should buy bars that are easy to assemble and do not require screws so they can be easily disassembled and stored when you aren’t at home.
Below are 9 alternatives you might want to consider when you don’t have access to a pull-up bar. Remember that consistency and progression will make a world of difference.
Wall-mounted pull-up stations give an alternative way to do a pull up. They are great for beginners and can be adjusted to fit the height that you’re most comfortable with.
Mounting the station will take some work and may not be feasible for everyone. It comes with some instructions on how to mount it but it’s recommended that you get some help with this step. The total weight of the wall-mounted station is about 30 pounds so make sure the wood or drywall you’re mounting it to can support that amount of weight.
If you have the space to mount one of these pull-up stations, it could be a great addition to your home gym. It’s the perfect way to start doing pull-ups without having to go out and buy any equipment.
All you want to do is hang from the bar and pull yourself up. You can do this almost anywhere there’s a corner mount. The station is about 15 inches so you can find a place to mount it in a variety of places. It’s great for standard sizing doors and is lightweight enough where you can carry it back and forth to move it around.
The station comes with all of the mounting brackets and screws you’ll need to get it up on the wall.
Stand Alone Pull Up Bars or Power Towers
Use a doorway pull-up bar if:
You want easy installation “ All you need to do is remove it from the box and that’s it. You can also use it in different rooms without making alterations.
You want ease of use “ Built for speed, this type can be mounted in seconds without any hassle. All you need is to use the right screws, drill some holes, and you can use it immediately.
You’re on a budget “ If you want to buy a pull-up bar but you’re short of cash, this type is the best option for you. They are really cheap yet they get the job done.
Don’t go for this type if:
You have a real issue finding a suitable doorway “ Although some manufacturers claim that you can mount the bars on most doorways, it’s still best to see if it will work in your case. Measure all the doorways in your home to find out if they can support the weight.
To Wrap it Up
Pull-ups are an incredibly functional exercise that works more than just the lats. Additionally, they may be one of the best measures of your upper-body strength. If you’re looking to get fit, cut fat, or just increase your strength, you’ve probably seen pull-ups in the gym, but there are alternatives if you don’t have a bar handy.
When I started working with a personal trainer at the gym, I was blowing through pull-ups like nobody’s business. After a year of working out every day, I decided to try out some of the online fitness resources, and stumbled upon MissionFit. I can’t say enough good things about these guys … I’m in better shape now than when I was in the Marine Corps at 21 years old and I’m 40!
If you want to give it a shot, I’ve created a 50% off coupon exclusively for my military readers. Use the voucher code: