Pull Up - Core Workout Techniques

Beginner to advanced pull up workout routines you need in your home workout plan.

Pull up core workout exercises


Chin up bars are fantastically versatile, and there are literally dozens of exercises that can be performed on one. The chin up and pull up in themselves are great for building core and functional strength; but there are plenty of other abs and core exercises designed to directly work the midsection that can be performed whilst hanging from a bar.


  Beginner Exercises

  Knee raises


Source: EXRX.net

Hang from a bar, with arms extended and palms facing away from you. Squeeze the shoulder blades together slightly so that the chest is raised and pushed forward (imagine trying to squeeze a ball between your shoulder blades), and activate the core by drawing the belly button inwards and/or 'gently' contracting the abdominals.

Bend the legs at the knees, and raise the knees as high as possible moving them towards your chest. Attempt to minimise any swinging on the bar; this can be very difficult at first. Repeat this movement for 10-20 repetitions.

  Oblique Knee Raises

Similar to knee raises, but bring your knees up towards one shoulder, then the other, rather than straight towards your chest.

  Intermediate Level

  Leg Raises

Again, much like the knee raise exercise, except this time instead of bringing your knees upwards, bring your straight legs upwards. Be careful with this exercise if you have any back problems.


  Gorilla Chin

  The gorilla chin, works the biceps and back as much as it does the core; it truly is a beast of an exercise (get it?).
This time hang from the bar with palms facing towards you.

Position your feet behind you, with your knees bent at 90 degrees:

Chin Up Gorilla chin
Now perform a chin up, whilst at the same time bringing your knees up towards your chest:

Chin Up Gorilla Chin 2

Image Source

Several repetitions later and you've majorly taxed your biceps, back muscles, hip flexors and core. Truly a multi-joint compound movement, which is generally the best way to train if you're looking for functional strength for sport.

  Windscreen Wipers

  This one can be quite dangerous if you fall, so be careful.

  • > Hang from the bar, with palms facing away.
  • > Bring your feet up to the height of the bar.
  • > Under control, first take your feet to the right by rotating at your core, then bring the feet to the opposite side.
  • > Repeat for 10 - 20 reps.


  L sit - toes to bar

  This one is similar to the leg raise exercise, except the feet touch the bar.

  Example Workout Routines

Try these workout routines for more variety in your home workout plan:

  Example Intermediate Core Workout


  •     1 set of 15 reps - Knee Raises
  •     1 set of 10 reps (each side) - Oblique Knee Raises
  •     2 sets of 10 reps - Leg Raises
  •     1/2 set of 10 reps - Gorilla Chin up


  Advanced Core Workout


  •     1 set of 15 reps - Knee Raises
  •     2 sets of 10 reps - L sit - toes to bar
  •     2 sets of 10 reps - Windscreen Wipers
  •     2 sets of max reps - Gorilla Chin ups



Drew Griffiths MSc is a self-confessed fitness fanatic. He has a 1st Class Degree in Sport Science from Loughborough University, a masters in Exercise & Nutrition from the University of Liverpool and a diploma in Digital Marketing from the Oxford College of Marketing. It's safe to say, he knows what he's taking about. If you have any questions, you can contact him via his blog, Twitter or Google+.