You want to pull-up, but you don’t have a bar.
Maybe you don’t have the strength to lift yourself up yet.
No problem at all!
Our Online Coaching Program has been teaching people how do pull-up alternatives with “no bar pull-ups.” Today, we will show you these tried-and-trued workarounds.
Here are the topics we will cover:
All of these pull-up options can be performed in our app. You can learn how to lift yourself up, even without equipment, while creating your own superhero.
It’s free to test drive (no credit card required) right here
Okay, let’s get on with it.
Pull-ups without a bar (5 Pull-up Alternatives).
The video you see above is from our Chin Up Challenge, which you can complete in our app.
Coach Jim will guide you through five levels of pull-up options, depending on how experienced you are and what you have around the house.
Option #1: Doorway Rows
The first option is to use your doorway to hold bodyweight rows.
To do a doorway row
Stand in front your doorway, grab both sides.
* Move your feet closer to the doorway so that you are leaning back.
* Sit back and put weight on your arms.
* Keep moving forward
That’s it. This will be more difficult if you are not willing to lean back.
You can also simply wait to build some “pull”, strength.
Option #2: Towel Doorway Rows
The next option is to do doorway row but with a towel.
You might find that the towel can help you to lean back further, making it more difficult.
Fold a towel twice in length. Take your folded towel and tie it around the door.
You should ensure that the door does not open towards you. It is possible for the door to accidentally open, which could lead to an unintentional fall.
After you’ve secured your towel around the doorknob and are done, start to use each side.
Pull-up Alternative #3 : Inverted Rows With Chairs
You will need two sturdy chairs, a broomstick or dowel, to make this pull-up option.
They will be combined, Voltron-style, to create our own row station.
It is all about the setup. To ensure that the station is stable, give it a few gentle pushes. Inverted bodyweight rows should only be performed when you feel confident.
Option #4: Towel pull-ups
We’re going to start pulling up with towels.
Either use a few sturdy handtowels, or washcloths.
You will use your anchor by tying an overhand knot at the corner of each towel.
Place these knots on a door, and then close it. Before you begin your pull-ups, make sure that the knots are secured.
You’ll want to ensure that the door does not open towards you.
Towel pull-ups are a great way of increasing grip strength. However, if they seem too difficult for you, you can always use a stool to support you feet while you lift. This will assist you in building strength.
Pull-up Alternative #5 – Strap Pullups
There may be Forearm Forklifts lying around. If so, they’ll be the perfect equipment to make a pull-up alternative.
Forearm Forklifts can be used to lift heavy furniture and equipment with a friend, but Coach Jim discovered that they are also very useful for pulling up.
These towels have loops that hold your arms. They are easier to grasp than a towel.
You can tie a knot in the towels just as you would with a towel for hand and anchor it against your door.
You can find more ideas for how to train using items around your home in How to Build a Gym (When All Equipment Is Sold Out).
These are the 6 Best Pull-up Options (How to Get Your First Pull Up)
This section is taken directly from our guide, “Get Your First Pull Up.”
If you can’t quite hoist yourself up yet, don’t fret!
Through a series pull-up options, we’ll work to increase your “pull”, or muscle strength.
Let’s start with…
Bent-over dumbbell rows:
* 8 reps per arm, or as many as possible
* Take a 2-minute rest
* Perform another set
* Repeat until you hit 3 sets
Which weight should you begin with?
Anything that allows you to do at least five reps per set
After you’ve completed 3 sets of 8 reps for each arm, it’s time for you to move on to a heavier dumbbell.
This will help you become stronger.
Consider moving up to the next level if you are able to lift a dumbbell that is 25 pounds (10kg) or more.
Level 2 Pull-up Alternative: Inverted Bodyweight Rows
The perfect precursor to pull-ups is bodyweight rows. They work the same muscles and will have you lifting your own weight, but at a different angle.
We will try to get to a lower angle. This will increase the difficulty of the movement.
We’ll start by doing rows, but we’ll raise the bar later.
We’ll then move on to lower the bar:
Once you are able to do bodyweight rows at a 45-degree angle, or lower, you can move on to the next level.
Level 3 Pull-up Alternative: Assist Pull-ups
You will now be able to pull-ups with a little assistance.
There are a few options available.
#1) Assisted Pull Ups with Chair
Depending on your needs, you can place one or two feet on the chair. Your feet are only there to support you. Use your upper body as much possible.
#2) Assisted Pull Ups with an Exercise Band
There are many options for exercise bands, each with different strength levels. You can also get a variety pack to make it easier.
Place your foot on the exercise band, and lift yourself up.
#3) Partner assisted pull-ups
A friend can be your support and hold your feet while you do each rep.
You can start to move up to the next level once you feel comfortable with assisted pull-ups and have done about 10 repetitions.
This is the most difficult level before you can do your pull-ups. You’re not the only one who gets stuck with “assisted pullups” or “assisted neck-ups”. This is where most people end up.
Our Online Coaching Program works hand-in-hand to help people just like you get their first pull-up. We can help you if you are unsure how to incorporate these movements into your workouts or just want to know the right workout to do every day.
There is no guesswork. No confusion. No confusion. Just a customized workout program.
Level 4 Pull-Up Exercise: Negative Pull Ups
The next step on our path to a pull-up, we call them “negative pull ups.”
1. Grab the bar by holding your hand out with one hand.
2. So that your chest touches the ground, jump!
3. Slowly reduce your control to the point where you can no longer maintain control.
You’ll eventually build strength and muscle as you lower yourself.
For more information on these movements or levels, see our guide “Get Your First Pull Up” for detailed instructions.
What is the easiest type of pull-up? Start with Chin-Ups
The chin-up is the easiest pull-up variant.
We have included a Chin Up Challenge in our app because we believe Rebels will find it easier to lift themselves up with this variation than a pull-up.
Here are some suggestions:
A CHIN-UP means that your hands face towards you.
A PULL-UP occurs when your hands face away from you.
Pull-ups are more difficult than chin-ups. The wider grip of a pull up isolates your lats. This means that you receive less support from your biceps.
Start with chin-ups. You can move on to more difficult variations once you feel comfortable with them. Check out our guide, How to Pull-up.
What is the best time to do my pull-up alternatives? (Next Steps)
You should allow 48 to 72 hours for rest before you return to training the same muscle group.
Take at least one day off before you start working on your “pull”, or pull, muscles again.
This allows the area heal properly, allowing you to grow stronger.