Do you hate doing pull ups? Are you searching for alternatives that yield roughly the same results?
There is no doubt that pull ups yield remarkable benefits. It builds your upper-body strength. It also expedites fat loss.
Pull ups also target different areas of the body. It strengthens your abdomen, biceps, triceps, and back.
But is it also one of the toughest exercises out there. It can even lead to shoulder injuries if you fail to do it properly.
So if you are looking for pull up alternatives that are easier to pull off (pun intended), check out our list below.
11 Pull Up Alternatives You Can Try Today
Regardless if you are working out in the gym or at home, there are several alternatives to the pull up that you can try. Even if some of these exercises look easy, always start slow. Get your groove, fuel your motivation, and increase your repetitions in your next sessions.
1. Renegade Rows
Let’s kick off the list with this exercise. Start by standing in a high plank position with one dumbbell on each hand. Focus on tightening the muscles of your core.
Now slowly pull one dumbbell to your chest. Make sure your elbows are close to your body. Lower the dumbbell back to your starting position and repeat the step with your other hand.
Complete four sets of 10 repetitions each. Renegade rows target the muscles on your shoulders, abs, arms, and back.
2. Band Pulldown
The second exercise requires an exercise band. Make sure your band has a resistance that is equal to your current fitness level. If you are new to working out, go for a band that offers lighter resistance.
Position the band on the pull up bar. Stand while slightly bending your knees. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart.
Take on the handles of the band and make sure your palms are facing up. Take a step back to create tension on the band.
Start the exercise by pulling the band as you straighten your arms. Once your arms reach your hips, return them to your starting position. For starters, do 10 reps and gradually increase to 15.
This exercise will add power to your upper back, arms, and shoulders.
3. Towel Row
In case you do not have a resistance band, a regular towel can work as a substitute. Wrap a towel around a pillar or pole. Grab one end of the towel on each hand.
Now bend your knees and perform a sitting position. Make sure that your hips and thighs remain parallel to the floor.
As for your elbows, make sure they don’t wobble. You should also keep your arms stiff for the duration of the exercise.
Now pull your body toward the pole. Draw power from your arms and upper back. You also need to squeeze in your shoulder blades.
Return to your starting position and complete three sets of 15 reps each.
4. Bicep Plank
Next is the bicep plank, which is similar to the high plank. The difference, however, is that you need to turn your hands and fingers as if they are pointing on your knees.
Start by tightening your core while keeping your back straight. Now move your body forward and stop once your hands are already under your hips.
Hold the pose for about five seconds and return to your starting position. Do four sets of eight reps each. Bicep planks will help increase your bicep and upper back strength.
5. Barbell Row
This time, it’s the barbells turn to join you in the exercise. With your feet hip-width apart, stand while bending your knees slightly.
Move your hips back until your torso is straight and parallel to the floor. While achieving this position, make sure that your core and glutes are working.
Now hold the squat bar with your hands in a position wider than the width of your shoulder. Bend your elbows and take the bar up to your chest area.
Hold this position at least for five seconds then lower it back down slowly. Do 10 reps for a start and make sure your head is looking down when doing this exercise.
6. W Raise
If you feel you are not strong enough to carry heavier dumbbells, go for a 3-pound weight instead. Hold one on each hand and bend your knees. Move your hips backward until your torso becomes parallel to the ground.
Now raise your elbows until they reach the height of your shoulders. Your elbows should form a 90-degree angle with your arms.
Rotate your weight to bring your forearms up and parallel to the ground. Extend your arms until they are straight as if you are pushing the dumbbells out.
Do three sets of 10 reps each. Make sure you engage your core during this exercise. Incorporating light weights in your exercises helps lessen the risk for back pain.
If you are strong enough to carry a heavier weight, you should include deadlifts as an alternative. To pull this off, place a barbell in front of you and squat down. Grab the bar with both hands shoulder width.
Next, slowly straighten your arms and back. Now lift the barbell up until your knees and hips reach a straight position. Make sure to tighten all of your muscles when performing the lift.
This exercise targets not only your erector spinae but also your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
8. Biceps Curls
Still using the barbell, grasp it using an underhand grip. Lock your elbows on your sides and slowly raise the bar. Your goal is to bring the barbell up until your forearms reach a vertical position.
Now lower the barbell slowly until you fully extend your arms. Start with three sets of eight reps each then gradually increase.
9. Floor Pulls
Now if you do not have time to go to the gym, the floor pulls will be your best friend. As the name implies, all you need is the floor you are standing on.
Start by lying flat on the floor with your face down. Position your arms in front until they are way past your head. Make sure your arms are at shoulder width.
Grip the ground securely using your palms. Now pull yourself forward as you contract the muscles on your back. Your lower body should remain limp when you pull yourself forward.
Complete the rep pushing yourself back to your starting position. Take note that this exercise is challenging if your floor is slippery. Do this exercise on a floor made of linoleum or hardwood.
Try two sets of 12 to 15 reps each for a start.
10. Elbow Push-ups
This exercise may seem one of the simplest but it is one of the toughest you can do at home. Lie on the floor while facing up. Lift your forearms up while keeping your elbows on the floor.
Slowly move your upper body off the ground. The power should come from your contracting your back and by swiveling your shoulders.
Make sure to keep your elbows in contact with the floor as you lift your upper body.
You have the option to do several repetitions or to hold the position the way you would a plank.
11. Australian Pulls
If you have a sturdy table, chair, or bookcase at home, you can pull-off the Australian Pulls. The idea is to go under a bar or ledge. In this case, it’s under the chair or the table.
Grab the bar with both hands and pull your upper body upwards. As you pull your body up, your feet should remain on the floor.
If you want to take the challenge to the next level, simply elevate your feet.
Trying out new pull up alternatives will help renew your excitement toward fitness. It will also increase your intensity along the way. But be mindful of these important reminders:
Warm up and cool down for about five to 10 minutes.
Start slowly until you get your groove.
Listen to your body. Do not exercise if you know you are sick or extremely tired. Check your heart rate.
Hydrate properly. Drink water before, during, and after working out.
Proper form matters when building strength. Do not compromise your form in exchange for completing your sets faster.
Wear proper attire depending on the temperature.
If you are starting with a new program, check with your doctor first. This is very important especially if you have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney ailment.
Take an Overall Approach
These pull up alternatives we discussed above should get you going with your fitness. But remember that fitness also involves other factors.
You need to cover all bases. Having a strong back and muscular shoulders are not enough. You should also pay attention to the rest of your body.
You should also focus on your nutrition.
We invite you to get in touch with any of our fitness and nutrition experts. We will teach show you how effective high-intensity interval training and proper nutrition are.
We will help you achieve your health and fitness goals the right way.
Proudly serving the Katy, Fulshear and Richmond Texas area, Beat Strong Fitness and Nutrition offers nutrition and group interval training classes based on high intensity interval training, or HIIT.