Who doesn’t dream of having rock hard abs? A sweet six-pack doesn’t just look good. Defined ab muscles have numerous benefits like better posture, less back pain, and better sports performance. And, the awesome thing is, to get this shredded physique you don’t need a bunch of equipment.
A simple pull-up bar will work every part of your abdominal muscles to help you get the look you want. But, before I go any further with my exercise recommendations, I have to make it clear that getting rock hard abs isn’t just about exercise – your diet plays a very important role.
There are certain foods you need to include in your diet to boost your metabolism and enhance fat burning. So, you have to clean up your diet and target your abdominal muscles during your workout if you want that six-pack.
So, say goodbye to the drive-thru and packaged processed foods, and invest in a pull-up bar. You absolutely can get rock hard abs, and here are the nine best pull-up bar exercises for abs to help you achieve that goal.
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What Pull-Up Bar Should I Use?
If you have access to a gym, they probably have a number of pull-up stations or power racks with bars that you can use to perform these exercises. But what if you’re at home or on the road?
In that case, I recommend the Ikonfitness Pull Up Bar. It’s a fairly simple piece of equipment that hooks onto the trim of a door frame and your own weight secures it in place. You can use something like this for years without any problems.
It’s really lightweight so you can take it anywhere and it even has extra padding so it won’t do damage to your door fram.
These Amazon reviews reveal more first-hand experience with this bar.
1. Hanging Knee/Leg Raises
Let’s start with the basics because you want to master this move before moving on to harder variations.
A hanging knee raise starts with you wrapping your hands around the bar a little bit wider than shoulder-width apart and letting your legs dangle. Then, you bend your knees toward the chest before lowering your legs back down. You should be able to do 15 of these easily before moving on. When you are doing this move, remember to keep your body still instead of swinging.
To increase the difficulty, transition to leg raises for a full calisthenics workout routine. This move will trim the body fat and help you get that six-pack. Start by hanging from the pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Relax your body so it is in a straight, vertical line, then raise your legs forward as high as you can without bending your knees. Again, avoid swinging when doing this move, and once you have raised your legs as high as you can, lower them back down.
2. Knee Raise with a Twist from Bar
You’ll hang from the bar with your legs straight and your chest up. Remember to engage your abs and glutes while bringing up your knees, and twist to one side as you lift them up. When your knees are at hip height, hold them there for a second before lowering your feet back to the starting position. Then, repeat the movement and twist to the other side. You’ve completed one rep when you lower your feet back down.
3. Hanging Crunches from Pull-Up Bar
To do this move you must first get yourself into the position of hanging from the pull-up bar by your knees. Hang in a neutral position, then tighten your core and bend just like you would when doing a crunch on the ground. Use your abs to crunch – not your legs or your back – and pause at the top of the movement. Then, in a controlled manner, straighten yourself back down into the hanging position.
4. Toes To Bar
This is another difficult move, but it will work your entire core. Your target rep range for this move is between six and eight, so you don’t need a high amount of reps to get the work in.
Start by hanging from the bar with your legs straight. Your hands should be wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and engage your abs and glutes before raising your feet towards your hands. You will want to keep the tension in your abs throughout the entire movement, so when you are lowering your feet back down to the starting position, make sure to keep it slow and controlled. You also want to keep your feet together and your legs straight.
5. Windshield Wipers
Start by hanging from the bar with your legs straight. Just like with the toes to bar, you want to keep your chest up and your abs and glutes engaged throughout the entire movement. Raise your feet towards your hands and keep your legs straight.
Then lower your feet to one side until your legs are parallel to the ground. Then draw them back up to the center and over to the other side, just like a windshield wiper. Again, no swinging and make sure your legs stay together. Keep everything slow and controlled so your abs are doing the work, not your momentum. Start with a goal of five reps and then work your way up to twelve.
6. Around the World
Another beast move, the around the world should only be attempted after you have mastered moves four and five.
The starting position is the same: hanging from the bar with your hands a little more than shoulder-distance apart. Next, with your legs together draw them up to where your feet are a little bit higher than the bar. With a controlled movement rotate your legs in a circle – out to one side, down to a dead hang, up to the other side, and back up to the bar. Do five reps clockwise, and then switch to counter-clockwise and do five more.
Remember to brace your core and keep the movement slow and controlled.
This move incorporates a wide range of motion, so it will work every angle of your abdominal muscles and get you well on your way to that six-pack.
7. The Dragon Flag
If you thought this workout was difficult, this is the exercise that’s going to kick your ass. This was Bruce Lee’s signature exercise. He created it, and Rocky Balboa did his own version in Rocky IV. This exercise is not only impressive, but incredibly effective for building strength and size in your abs.
You will want to start by anchoring your pull-up bar at low height near the ground. Next, lie down face up with your head under the bar. Grab the bar over your head and swing your legs up and raise your torso off the ground. Finally, in a slow and controlled movement, lower yourself back to the ground.
You should be using your abs and core for the entire movement – not your back – and your legs should remain straight. Good luck, this is going to take some work and progression. Start by doing dragon flags with your legs tucked, then move on to one-leg movements before you attempt a true dragon flag.
8. Pull-Up Bar L-Hang
Start this movement in a dead hang with your hands shoulder-width apart. Next, raise your legs up until you form a 90-degree angle at the hips. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds. Lower your legs back down.
Keep the movement in your chest and upper body to a minimum, and make sure not to move the angle of your hips. As always, keep this movement slow and controlled and use your abs instead of swinging your legs.
Lower your pull-up bar to about four to five inches off the ground. Next, put your toes on the bar and get into the plank position with your elbows beneath your shoulders to support your upper body. Your forearms should be on the ground parallel to each other, or you can put them at an angle to where your hands are touching.
All of the muscles in your body should be engaged and your upper body, hips, abdomen, and lower body should be in alignment. Hold this position as long as you possibly can plus ten seconds.
Final Word on Pull-Up Bar Ab Workouts
The pull-up bar is a much more versatile piece of equipment than you think. That’s what makes it so awesome for both upper body and ab exercises.
You just have to make sure you get a reliable one.
The last thing you want is to grab onto the handles and go plummeting face first to the floor with your bar right behind you!
Again, that’s why we recommend the Ikinfitness Pull Up Bar.
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