Pull Up Alternative (13 Best Ways): What are Pull Ups?

Pull Up Alternative | Adventures Dream

Here I do my best to explain the 13 best pull up alternative and also describe what are pull-ups? So keep reading and never forget to share your thoughts.

What are Pull-Ups?

Pull-ups are one of the perfect back exercises around. A pull-up is an upper-body strength exercise. The pull-up is a closed-chain movement where the body hangs by the hands and pulls up. As this occurs, the elbows flex and the shoulders adduct and stretch to bring the elbows to the torso. A pull up is a great exercise that gives strength to your back, lateral, and trapezoid muscles. Both regular pull ups and negative pull ups are a best way to get in shape. As a compound exercise that targets several of your most essential back muscles. Pull-ups are almost unparalleled. While they don’t need much more than a horizontal bar, even that can be difficult to come by if you don’t have time for the gym. People have good reasons for wanting to speed up their pull-up count. And it is one of the perfect back workouts you can get. If you’re searching for a broad, chiseled back, pull-ups are essential.

Pull-ups also build grasp strength that will help in other exercises. For instance bench presses and flipping tires. We also use grasp in everyday life for a multitude of tasks. An international study completed in 2009 gave some statements. It stated that for every 11-pound decrease in grip strength. Members suffered a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease and a 16% higher risk of dying from any cause.

There are abundant pull-up alternatives that have similar activation levels. That is for the muscle group involved in the traditional version of the exercise. Not only can you use these when you don’t have a horizontal bar available. But you can also use them to increase the strength. When you need to get that first pull-up or up your pull-up count if you plateau.

Also looking for Back Workout? Then you must also visit Back and Biceps Workout

Which Muscles Do Pull Ups Target?

It makes sense to have a good understanding of what the pull up comprises and which muscles. It works to understand what makes exercises alternatives. The pull up is a compound pull exercise that gives attention to the upper body.

Pull ups involve lifting body weight with a grip through the retraction of your scapular. It is also for the flexion of the elbow joint and support from a range of muscles in your upper body mechanics. The main muscles worked are your latissimus dorsi. Though pull ups also effort your biceps, triceps, and even your core. The biomechanics of a pull up is great for accelerating functional strength. And making that ‘V’ shape through the upper body that many of us desire to have.

Let’s get down to the very basics. We do exercises to tone certain muscles in our body. Thus, the alternatives on this list supposed to train as such the same areas. But what muscles do pull ups work? Let’s take a look.

Muscles pull ups train:

  • Lateral muscles (back).
  • Traps and rhomboids (upper back).
  • Biceps, triceps, and forearms (arms).
  • Abdominal muscles (stomach).

So we are going to show you the perfect pull up alternatives to train very similar muscle groups. Of course, it should come as no surprise. That the pull up alternatives we’re going to talk about here won’t work quite the same muscles. Makes sense – after all, they’re different workouts. And there’s compelled to be at least some difference.

Muscles Targeted by Pull Ups:

Once you understand which specific muscles pull-ups activate. You’ll be able to pick perfect alternative exercises to work the same targets. Here are the main muscles worked by pull-ups:


Your traps locate on the back of your neck and they extend out to the shoulders. It aids support the scapula, also known as the shoulder blade. The upper part of the trapezius holds arm weight. While the middle and lower sections are responsible for moving the shoulder blade.

Latissimus Dorsi:

The largest muscle in your upper body, the latissimus dorsi supports shoulder movements. And pulls the trunk upward when your arms raised above your head. It also aids with the movement of the lumbar spine. Which lower the section of the spine only above the tail bone. Besides to various stabilizer muscles. Lat workouts generally activate long head of your triceps and your deltoid muscles.


It is smaller than your traps and lats. The infra-spinatus muscle is a critical part of the four muscles in your rotator cuff. It’s concerned with the movement of the humerus bone. It elongates from the shoulder to the elbow beneath your biceps. Since it also stabilizes the shoulder joint, the infra-spinatus will help lessen pain. And avoid injury in key upper body joints if you strengthen it.

Thoracic Erector Spinae:

There are muscles called the erector spinae that run along the length of your spine and aid it to move. The thoracic section of these muscles is the larger section of the spine. It connects the cervical section in your neck and the lumbar section in the lower back. Building strength in thoracic spinae will help avoid injury and build better posture.

Pull Up: Steps & Form Tips

Before getting into all the pull up alternatives. It’ll be helpful to review the correct form and process of traditional pull-ups. It’s a quite straightforward exercise but also very easy to do in a wrong way. To get the full perks out of your pull-ups, go with these steps:

Approach the pull-up bar and stand underneath it. Get above your head and grab onto the bar with both hands. It should be an upraised grip, meaning your palms should be facing away from your body. Your hands should be next to shoulder-width as you can get them. If you’re a seasoned gym rat, you can make your pull-ups more exhausting. It can be possible by putting your hands farther apart or closer together. This will margin your range of motion and push you lats harder. Get into a dead hang by lifting your feet off the floor. Engage your core muscles and make sure your shoulders push back. This is the initial position for a traditional pull-up.

Pull with your lats and shoulder blades so that your body lifts toward the bar. If you need extra balance then cross one leg over the other. When your head is above the bar, you’ve finished the first half of the exercise.

Step by step, lower yourself back to the starting position, careful not to let your muscles give out. Since a sudden drop would be horrible for your shoulder and elbow joints. You can choose whether you want to go all the way back to a dead hang or stop before and repeat another rep.

Variations on Traditional Pull Ups:

Some people only alter their pull-up styles quite. For example, you might introduce an isometric pause at the top of the movement. Before, you lower yourself back to the initial position.

If you’re already a pull-up master, you can increase your pull-up count by adding weight to your legs. There’s also the plyometric pull-up, a favoured calisthenics exercise. During which you shift both hands from an overhand grip to an underhand one in the air on every other rep.

Plyo-pull-ups are very challenging and take lots of practice to expert. But, if your pull-up count is already quite high. You should consider adding an explosive movement to your workout routine once or twice a week.


If you’re new to getting started with training, you don’t have a home pull up bar. And you’re not sure where to incorporate a pulling exercise into your routine. Then use the following basic format:

Exercise 1: Lower body hinge/squat movement. 3 sets of 5-8 reps

Exercise 2: Upper body push movement. 3 sets of 5-8 reps

Exercise 3: Upper body pull (back) movement. 3 sets of 5-8 reps

I present two different sessions with the same basic format as above. In session 1, I perform a squat variation, a vertical push. And then a horizontal pull (a bodyweight row). For session 2, I use a shaft progression, a horizontal push, and for now the similar horizontal pull as session 1.

From my experience, most people can enjoy doing more horizontal pulling work. Any way to combat the rounded over posture encourages by modern-day living. So, more volume gives you an opportunity to address any potential disproportion there.

Pull-up Alternative #1: Doorway Rows

Our first alternative is to use your doorway for bodyweight rows.

To perform a doorway row:

  • Stand in front of your doorway and grasp both sides.
  • Put your feet a little closer to the doorway, so you’re bending back.
  • Lie back so you put weight on your arms.
  • Pull yourself forward.
  • That’s it. The more you bend back, the tougher this will be.
  • To start, you can also hang back to start building some “pull” strength.

Pull-up Alternative #2: Table Bodyweight Row

For this, we use a sturdy table or a desk.

To perform a Table Bodyweight Row:

  • Lay down on your back, with your face laid over the table.
  • Get a good grip.
  • Squeeze your shoulders together. And start pulling until your chest hits the underside of the table.
  • Pull yourself back down a little, and repeat until you’re accomplished with your set.

Pull-up Alternative #3: Towel Doorway Rows

Next pull up alternative is to do doorway rows, but using a towel. The towel might aid you to bend back even further, creating a more challenging exercise.

To perform a towel doorway row:

  • Take a towel, and fold it twice lengthwise. Then take your long, twisted-over towel, and tie it around the door on the handle opposite side of you.
  • Make sure the door opens AWAY from you. You don’t want the sudden opening of the door, which could cause an unexpected tumble.
  • Once you have your towel guarded around the doorknob, perform rows by using each side of the towel.

Pull-up Alternative #4: Inverted Rows with Chairs

For this pull-up alternative, you’re gonna require two hard chairs and a broomstick (or dowel). We’ll be joining them together, Voltron style, to form our own row station:

To perform inverted rows:

  • The important thing here is the setup.
  • Give your created station a few gentle pushes to check the integrity of the structure.
  • Only when you feel confident should you start exercising inverted bodyweight rows.

Pull-Up alternative # 5: Kneeling Resistance Lat Band Pull down

For this, we use a resistance band and some kind of anchor point.

To perform a kneeling resistance pull down:

  • Grasp both ends of the band, linked to an anchor point. Your palms have to be facing upwards.
  • Get on your knees. Place your hands above your head and the resistance band stretched.
  • Bring your hands back to shoulder height, let them reverse again.
  • Repeat as necessary.

Pull Up Alternative # 6: Dumbbell Lat Pulldown

For this, we use two dumbbells.

To perform dumbbell lat pulldown:

  • Take a dumbbell at each hand.
  • Raise both over your head. Start doing it step by step.
  • Bring it back down to your shoulder height. Repeat, but this time do it faster.
  • Do as many times as required.

Pull Up Alternative # 7: Dumbbell Row

For this, we use a flat bench (or something very similar), one dumbbell.

To perform a dumbbell row:

  • Keep your back straight and your stomach almost parallel to the bench.
  • Grab the dumbbell with your lifting hand. Palm should face you.
  • Exhaling, lift the dumbbell up. Elbow has to form a 90-degree angle.
  • Inhaling, lower the dumbbell until the elbow has only a small angle remaining.
  • Repeat until satisfied.

Pull Up Alternative # 8: Back Bridge Pull Ups

For this we need nothing!

To perform back bridge pull up:

  • Lay down on the ground. Place your feet flat, and have your palms whirled around, touching the ground as well.
  • Bend your knees. Keep the feet flat.
  • Using shoulders, muscles and arms, try lifting the whole body (except the head) off the ground.
  • Once you cozy, try lifting the whole body, parting only feet and palms on the ground.
  • Get back down to step 1. Repeat.
  • Repeat until satisfied.

Pull Up Alternative #9: Strap Pull-ups

For this we use loops.

To perform a strap pull up:

  • They have loops plotted to hold your arms, which makes them easier to grasp than a towel.
  • Tie a knot in them quite as you would with a hand towel and use it to anchor against your door.

Pull Up Alternative # 10: Door Band Pull down

For this, we use one pull up assist the band and one door.

To perform a door band pulldown:

  • Open the door of your choice.
  • Keep the band over the top side of your door. Leave a few inches so it doesn’t slide right off.
  • Step right up to the door, lining your body upright.
  • Grab onto both sides of the band. The higher up you’ll grasp, the tougher it will be.
  • Put down the band, bring it to reverse, repeat as necessary.

Pull Up Alternative # 11: Resistance Band Pull Apart

For this, we use a pull up assist band

To perform a resistance band pulls apart:

  • Grad both ends of a band.
  • Grasp it at chest level, arms straight in front
  • Spread your arms out to the sides. Hold shoulder blades back and low. (Optional: Hold in this position for 20 seconds)
  • Bring your arms back, repeat if needed.

Pull Up Alternative # 12: Inverted Row

For this, we use a bar set at waist-height.

To perform an inverted row:

  • Lie on your back, well under the bar.
  • Grip the bar with full strength with both hands.
  • Keep your body upright, and pull up towards the bar. Pull your elbows back, try joining the bar with your chest.
  • Step by step lower yourself to the start.
  • Repeat if needed.

Pull Up Alternative # 13: Assisted Pull Ups

For this, we use pull up bar, resistance band.

To perform assisted pull ups:

  • Cover the band around itself on the bar and pull it down, designing a loop for your feet. You may acquire a little force to pull it down to ground level.
  • Step by step, put one foot into the loop (be cautious here!)
  • Grab onto the bar. Make sure the palms face you.
  • Hang with your arms full extended.
  • Pull yourself up, all the way until your chin approaches the bar.
  • Lower down, repeat if needed.

Pull-Up Workout: Negative Pull-Ups

Our next step on our path for a pull-up is what we call “Negative pull-ups.”

  • Grab onto the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Jump so your chest is touching.
  • Step by step lower yourself under control until you’re at the bottom of the movement.
  • As you keep continuing to lower yourself down, you’ll build strength. At last making enough muscle so you can pull yourself up.

What Is the Easiest Type of Pull-Up? (Start With Chin-Ups)

The easiest pull-up alternative for you to perform will likely be the chin-up.

For reference:

A CHIN-UP is when your hands are directing towards you.

A PULL-UP is when your hands are directing away from you.

Chin-ups are generally easier to perform than pull-ups. Because the wider grip of a pull-up isolates your lats, which means you get less help from your biceps.

Start with chin-ups. Once you get cozy doing them, you can then work on more advanced alternatives.

When Should I Do My Pull-Up Alternatives?

Generally, you need a 48 to 72-hour resting phase before returning to train the same muscle group. So take at least one day gap before working on your “pull” muscles again. This allows the area to heal well so you can grow stronger. If you’re putting effort to get your first pull-up or chin-up, this would be the best goal.

So for example, you could do:

Monday: Bodyweight Rows.

Wednesday: Chin-up Negatives.

Friday: Dumbbell Rows.

You could also do Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Even working out Monday and Thursday would allow you to see some great progress.

I Am Ready to Get a Pull-up Bar. What are My Options?

When it comes to garage gym pull up bars, there are many choices. Here are a few of the many styles accessible.


The in-door pull-up bar is the commonest option accessible in most cases.


  • It is cheap.
  • It can install in most doorways.
  • Portable, movable can put it away.


  • It can damage the paint or the frame.
  • Can fail or fall – not cool.

Wall Mount:

Wall mount pull-up bars, like this one here, mounted to the wall. Provided they installed in a right way, they are secure and don’t take up much space.


  • Do not take up a lot of space.
  • They are sturdy if installed well.


  • Cause some minor damage to the wall, where the screws installed.
  • They are a more or less permanent fixtures.

Stand Alone Pull Up Bars or Power Towers:

Stand-alone pull-up bars are a good option. If you for sure cannot have any property damage, holes in the wall, etc.


  • They cause no structural damage.


  • They can wobble, unlike fixed pull-up bars.


So, these straightforward exercises are ideal. They don’t need much equipment or technique to execute. As long as you pay more heed to your form you can stay away from injury and sneak in a bit of exercise throughout your day. The pull up and its variations and alternatives are all very functional exercises. This should be a part of any gym goers workout regime.

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