Are you working on the perfect beach body? Or perhaps you just want to get a bit more in shape and begin to workout? Whether you’re a bodybuilder or you simply want to look & feel your best, we can bet that you’re familiar with pull-ups.
Pull-ups are the staple of every fitness lover’s exercise regime. They’re an excellent way to work multiple muscles at once. They increase your heart rate and help you work on your arms, shoulders, back, and chest muscles. However, even the best exercise is not always the most viable.
Don’t have an exercise bar at home? Or perhaps you’re just sick and tired of pull ups and you want to spice up your fitness routine? You’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn all the best alternative to pull ups!
What Are Pull Ups Good For?
If you’re into exercise, chances are you’ve been doing pull ups for some time. Every personal trainer will put you on a routine that includes these incredible exercises. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s good to keep them in mind as a great way to improve your fitness.
You won’t have access to a gym every single day, though. This is why it’s important that you establish a good alternative to pull ups at home. Before we share all of our exercise secrets with you, let’s first talk about the general benefits of the best pull ups. You can get those same benefits & work the same muscle groups through the alternatives we describe below!
Strengthening your back muscles
A pull up is amongst the most effective upper back exercises. Through the best pull ups as well as similar alternatives, you can strengthen the following muscles:
- trapezius (the area from your neck out to both shoulders)
- latissimus dorsi (the main upper back muscle; it runs from the mid-back all the way under the armpit and shoulder blade)
- thoracic erector spinae (the three muscles along your upper spine)
- infraspinatus (shoulder extension muscles)
This means that the best pull up reps will strengthen muscles in the entire upper body. Whether you perform assisted pull ups, chin ups, lat rows, or other upper body exercises, you will feel the difference very soon.
Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles
Every pull up session strengthens your forearms, your back biceps, and your shoulders. This contributes to giving you that nice back biceps, but also makes you stronger and helps you lift with ease. You don’t even have to perform a full pull up to work these muscles — even an assisted pull up will do. This means that you don’t necessarily need a pull up bar to train your upper body.
Improving your overall fitness and strength
It’s no surprise that pull-ups have a massively positive impact on your overall fitness level and your body strength. They’re a part of the strength training and resistance training core regime. This is because you lift your entire body mass with just one movement, working your muscles as hard as possible.
Strength training, as a whole, helps bone development and improves your cardiovascular health.
Improving your overall physical health
It comes as no surprise that exercise in any shape and form contributes to your physical health. However, pull ups and other strength training regimens have an extra great effect on certain things.
As an example, strength training (which also constitutes every alternative to pull ups) helps reduce visceral fat & improves the management of type 2 diabetes. It can also help with resting blood pressure, back pain, arthritis pain, and fibromyalgia.
How Can I Substitute Pull Ups At Home?
As you can see based on the evidence posted above, pull ups are a fantastic exercise. It’s great if you can get them done at home, but the truth is, not many of us have a pull up bar — and doing pull ups without one is simply dangerous.
These days, many of us are stuck without access to a gym. This forces people to get creative. It’s infinitely better to substitute one exercise with another than to skip upper core strength training entirely. It’s easy to let yourself skip a day or two, but in the long run, you should think of ways to improvise.
It’s true that no one exercise will do the exact same thing pull ups do, but you can always mix and match. We recommend planning out your exercises beforehand. Make a list of how many of which you’ll be doing and in what order.
Some of the most common alternative exercises that work on your lower back and upper back include lats, chin ups, dumbbell exercises, towel exercises, and more.
Remember to warm up adequately and give yourself a break when you’re too tired. Without the help of a professional, as you may often have at the gym, you may push yourself too hard and pull a muscle.
What Exercise Works The Same Muscles As Pull Ups?
Fortunately, there are many ways you can substitute pull ups at home without sacrificing your health or spending too much money. You don’t have to invest in a pull up bar for your home, although of course, there are some good ones out there that will broaden your horizons even further.
Before you settle whether you want to spend money on some at home exercise gear or not, let’s talk about the various ways you can substitute pull ups with something else at home. These are just some of the alternative exercises that do not require a pull up bar.
Lat squeezes develop the majority of the muscles that pull ups will. This exercise requires a set of 3 to 5-pound dumbbells to be done correctly. Of course, you can substitute dumbbells with at-home made versions, too.
Start by grabbing your set of dumbbells. Stand with your feet apart, approximately at hip-width. Bend your knees slightly and tuck your tailbone. Keep your upper arms close to your body and then bring your hands out to your sides. Make sure your arms are parallel to the floor.
Next, draw your elbows toward one another. Make the movements as tight as you can. Lastly, bring the elbows back to their starting point and repeat this exercise.
Renegade rows are another excellent exercise that can replace pull ups or assisted pull ups. They’re also similar to a push up. Make sure you prepare a set of 10 to 20-pound dumbbells for this exercise.
Place your dumbbell on the floor and then get into a push-up position. Your shoulders should be above your wrists and your feet should be slightly apart, above hip-width. Rest your hands on the set of weights and grab them tightly.
Keep your hips level as you bring one dumbbell up to shoulder height. Your elbow should be pointing in the direction of the ceiling. The exercise is only successful if you engage both core and legs the entire time.
Lastly, lower the weights back down to the floor and then switch sides. Remember to keep your belly button drawn up and in. Your shoulders should be down and back.
This is a safe exercise that works well for people who have difficulty moving or are overweight, so it’s a great way to get started. It’s also an efficient way to train your upper body without doing pull ups.
For this exercise, you will need a band. Take the band and pull it out to full shoulder width. Face your palms forward. Hold your shoulder blades down and back while keeping your chest up.
Next, hold the band for up to 20 seconds. Relax your neck but engage your core and try to keep it engaged the entire time.
While this exercise requires a little more than dumbbells, it’s still easily done at home. It’s excellent for both upper and lower body training.
Stand with your feet at hip-width and your knees slightly bent. Shifting your hips back, bring your torso to be in parallel to the ground. Make sure that your glutes and your core are engaged the whole time.
Next, place your hands on a squat bar. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bend your elbows and slowly bring the bar up towards your chest. Once that’s done, pause for a moment, and then slowly lower the bar back down. Don’t look up — you’ll strain your length. Keep your eyes trained on the floor.
Dumbbell rows work your lats, read delts, biceps, forearm muscles, and rhomboids. They require an exercise bench and a set of dumbbells, but both of those are usually found in any home gym.
First, place one dumbbell on your exercise bench and position it below your chest. Then, place your right knee on the bench and bend forward at the waist to get into a good lifting position.
Reaching forward, grab the front of the bench with your right hand. Keep it flat against the bench so that it’s aligned with your face when you bend over. Straighten your back and keep facing downward to not strain your neck. Make sure that your shoulders and hips are kept square. This uses most of your core muscles and doesn’t twist your body.
Next, lift the dumbbell directly up to the side of your torso. You should be grasping it firmly in your left hand and then pulling it upward until it’s at the same level as your chest or rib cage. Be sure to exhale during the lift. Lastly, lower the weight back down slowly.
Snatch grip bar hold
This is another exercise that uses a squat bar. We recommend picking one up regardless because it’s a great addition to any routine and also is easier to keep at home than a pull up bar.
Start by bending your knees and shifting your hips back. You should keep your chest up and place your hands on the squat bar, keeping them around shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar towards your legs, near the hip crease.
Engage your lats and get tight in your upper back. Draw your shoulder blades together in a downwards manner. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds while still pulling the bar toward your legs.
Table bodyweight row
This exercise is great because it’s one of the best alternative to pull ups that don’t require any extra equipment. Most of us have a table or a desk at home, and that is all you need!
Begin by laying down on your back with your face directly underneath the edge of the table. If the table is narrow, you can grip either side of it. Alternatively, grip the table over your face.
Engage your upper back and squeeze your shoulder blades tightly together. Pull upwards until your chest reaches the underside of the table. Next, lower yourself a few inches towards the floor and then rinse and repeat.
Much like the table bodyweight row, a towel row can be done at home with little to no equipment. You will, however, need a pole of some sort as well as a long towel.
Grab both ends of the towel with both of your hands. Your knees should be bent into a sitting position, allowing your hips and thighs to be placed parallel to the floor.
Don’t allow your elbows to move — they should be locked into place. Your arms must remain stiff and tight stiff throughout the exercise, too. Keep your arms and shoulder blades together, as this allows you to get the most out of this exercise.
You know which exercises are best for you now, but do you know all about the alternative to pull ups? What kind of equipment do you need? Do you have any further questions?
We’re here to make sure you walk away with the full scope of knowledge on the subject. Keep reading to learn more about alternative to pull ups at home.
How can I replace pull ups with dumbbells?
Most of the exercises described above involve the use of dumbbells. It’s highly recommended that you keep several sets at home, as different reps call for different weights. Most people like to keep anywhere between 3 lbs and 30 lbs.
Other than the fitness activities we’ve talked about, bicep curls and reverse curls are an awesome replacement to traditional pull ups without a bar. These too should be a regular part of every person’s exercise regime.
What exercise equipment should I keep at home?
While you may be unable to do assisted pull ups without a pull up bar, there are still other exercise tools that will help you work on your muscle strength without cluttering up the entire house. Below, we will talk about some of the best options for you.
- Adjustable dumbbell for home gym
- Exercise rope
- Exercise bench
- Resistance bands
- Exercise pole
These are just some of the ideas for equipment for your home gym. Of course, depending on space, you may limit yourself to smaller items such as the dumbbells and forego the exercise bench. There are lots of strength training options that don’t require a bench!
What can I do instead of chin ups?
Chin ups are another great form of exercise. However, you may be feeling slightly fed up with chin ups and looking to shake things up. If that’s the case, you should consider lat pulldowns.
Lat pulldowns are the best substitute for chinups. They work on the same groups of muscles. However, if that’s out of the question, consider trying out bent-over rows.
Staying fit is the key to a long and happy life — that should come as no surprise. It’s great that you want to keep bettering yourself. You don’t need a full-blown home gym to do so, though. Most strength training can be done in the peaceful security of your own home.
If you’re unable to work on your pull ups, don’t skip that part of your exercise routine. Instead, try out something new and monitor the results. Who knows, changing things up might be just the thing to get you even more motivated to keep exercising!