In-home workouts are becoming more and more popular. With all of the new workout DVD programs and at-home fitness equipment, who needs a gym membership? Getting in a workout at home is great for people who are really busy or don’t want to make a trip to a crowded gym every day after work. Investing in a pullup bar is a great alternative. The pullup bars can be attached to any doorway in your home, making it a convenient way to get a great workout. If you think that the only thing you can get done on the bar is a basic pull up, think again. This lightweight piece of equipment can give you a great, total body workout.
Pullups or chinups are a great upper body exercise. If you ask anyone what would define upper body strength, I bet you the number of pullups a person can perform would be a deciding factor. Pullups are one of the most difficult exercises around and this is why a lot of people shy away from the bar. If you're just starting out, you may find it hard to even get yourself up for one. While that may be discouraging, if you keep working on it, you will see major improvements in both your physical strength and your physical appearance.
If you're looking for an exercise that really targets many of the major muscle groups, this is your exercise. Pull ups work many muscles including your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, biceps and triceps. You will also get in a cardio workout while doing these pull ups. Don't believe me? Go bang out 10 pullups and see what your heart rate is. Cardiovascular exercise is anything that gets your heart rate up so even if it is while weightlifting, you're still getting in a cardio workout.
Before beginning any workout on a pull up bar, it's important to understand proper form. You should keep your body in a fixed position with your core engaged and legs together. You should never swing. If you have to swing your legs to get yourself up, you're doing it wrong. This could cause some serious injuries, plus it’s not correct so that doesn't count.
The classic pull up or chin up is the most basic of any kind of pull up you'll find. To perform this exercise: Grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body, spaced slightly wider than shoulder width apart. When ready, pull your self up using strength from your arms and your back until your chin clears the bar. Pause for a second at the top. Slowly and with controlled motion, lower yourself back down until your arms are straight.
Wide Grip Pullup
The wide grip pullup is just a different variation of the basic pull up. Placing your hands wider on the bar puts more emphasis on your upper back, paying special attention to your lats. To perform this exercise: Grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body, spaced as wide out as you can get them. Pull yourself up using the strength from your arms and your back until your chin clears the bar. Pause for a second at the top and slowly lower yourself back down until your arms are straight.
Narrow Grip Pullup
Again, another variation of the basic pull up. Placing your hands closer together on the pull up bar gives your core a much better core workout. To perform this exercise: Grab the bar with your palms facing away from your body, spaced right under your shoulders. Pull yourself up using the strength from your arms and your core until your chin clears the bar. Pause for a second at the top and slowly lower yourself back down until your arms are straight.
If you are looking for an abdominal workout that's really gonna kick your butt, try these knee raises. These knee raises work almost every part of your abs, focusing on the lower or transverse abdominals. To perform this exercise: Get into a basic pullup position with hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bend your knees so that you are hanging from the bar. Slowly and with controlled motion, bring your knees in toward your chest, squeezing your abdominal muscles. Lower your legs back down and repeat.
There are a couple variations of knee raises that you can do. If you want to make the basic knee raise a little harder, keep your legs straight out and bring them up to your hips then lower. You can also twist your legs to the side and bring them in to focus on your obliques. Repeat on the opposite side.
Perform these exercises for a killer upper body and core routine.
Even if you are feeling a little intimidated by the pullup bar, push your fears aside and get to work. These moves really help to build strength, muscle and tone. If you are just starting out, you can always perform assisted pullups. Rather than jumping up to bar, you can put a chair, a box, or a bench underneath you to make it a little bit easier. You can also put one foot on a stable surface such as chair to make it a little bit easier.
If you have never performed a pullup, it is recommended that you get comfortable just simply hanging from the bar. This will give you a feel for how much weight you are going to have to lift. If you are a 200-pound person, you will essentially be lifting 200 pounds. How's that for a workout?