Exercises for Abs on a Pull Up Bar

Training the abdominal muscles does not just have to be about the sit-up or crunch. Working the abdominal muscles from different positions with different movements may lead to stronger muscles and better overall conditioning. For a new twist on abdominal training look no further than a pull up bar. Adding in these variations may give your abdominal training a lift. As with all exercise, slowly progress through these variations and adjust the number of repetitions to your current training level.

Static Hold

Hang from the pull up bar at full extension and slowly bring your knees up until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Allow your hips and knees to bend simultaneously. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, keep them there for a ten count and then slowly return to the starting position. After a brief ten second rest, repeat the exercise. Perform ten total static holds.

Hanging Leg Raise

This exercise is similar to the Static Hold, except that in the Hanging Leg Raise exercise you allow your hips and knees to bend simultaneously and do not pause when the thighs are parallel to the ground. Slowly bring your thighs up attempting to touch your knees to your chest. Once you achieve full flexion slowly return to the starting position and repeat. Stay in control and try to minimize any swinging or rocking. Perform 10 to15 total repetitions.

Hanging Straight Leg Raise

This exercise is a slightly more advanced version of the Hanging Leg Raise. Rather than bending your knees, attempt to keep your legs completely straight and only bend at the hip. Slowly bring your legs up as far as possible, attempting to touch your toes to the bar. The thighs will approach the chest but maintain straight legs and lean back slightly. Be sure to keep your abdominals tight and do not use momentum to assist with the exercise. Perform 10 to15 total repetitions.

Windshield Wipers

This is an advanced exercise that requires a high level of abdominal strength. Once you have perfected the Hanging Straight Leg Raise, incorporating the Windshield Wiper movement can make the exercise significantly more difficult. Maintain the body position of the Hanging Straight Leg Raise with the legs straight, hips bent, torso leaned back and toes near the pull up bar. Picture your toes as wiper blades and your pull up bar as the windshield. Slowly and under control attempt to move your feet from side to side along the pull up bar. The legs will remain straight, and the hips and abdominal muscle will twist from side to side. Do not to use your arms to pull yourself into better position, and focus on only using your abdominal muscles. Perform 10 to 15 total repetitions.

About this Author

Michael Hartman is a sport scientist, and recognized expert in training for performance. He earned his doctorate in exercise physiology and has previously worked as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where he was a member of the USA Weightlifting Performance Enhancement Team.