The pull-up bar is primarily used for back exercises. But today, I’m going to show you how to use the pull-up bar to add lean muscle to all the different areas of your chest.
The chest is literally the foundation of your entire upper body. When you train your chest consistently, you will activate other major muscle groups such as your shoulders, triceps, and even your back.
This is key when it comes to developing lean proportioned muscle tone in your upper body.
What most people don’t realize is that there are 4 different areas of the chest:
- Upper chest
- Middle chest
- Inner chest
- Lower chest
Typically you would need some sort of gym apparatus to target each of these subsidiary muscle groups. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a fancy incline and decline bench, you can use a simple pull-up bar to target all the various regions of the chest.
The Power Of Pushups
When it comes to bodyweight exercises that build mass to your chest, look no further than pushups.
Contrary to popular belief, the “pushup” is a workout…not an exercise.
There are a variety of different pushups that you can perform to isolate each of your major muscle groups. Your hand placement will dictate which subsidiary muscle group you’ll be targeting:
- Neutral grip – middle of your chest
- Inside grip – inner chest
- Reverse grip – lower chest
The pull-up bar will allow you to exaggerate the full range of motion on each rep that you perform. This may look like a subtle movement, but it will make all the difference to your chest development going forward.
Let’s get started:
The 3 Components To Building Lean Muscle
There are 3 key factors to building lean muscle mass.
- Proper form
- Rep counts
This is also their exact order of importance, which most people seem to get completely backwards. If you want to maximize your gains in this workout, it’s absolutely imperative to incorporate proper form on each rep.
Here is a breakdown of all the exercises below:
This will add mass to the middle region of your chest. Begin by placing your hands in a neutral position on the pull-up bar. Keep your upper body completely straightened and look ahead at all times.
Push yourself up until your arms are almost fully extended, but make sure there is a slight bend in your elbows. When you fully lock your arms at the peak point of each rep, it actually alleviates the tension placed on your chest. That’s not what you want. By maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, it will force your chest to stay activated at all times. Slowly come back down until your chest makes contact with the bar and continue repeating this motion for 10-25 reps.
This exercise will add toned definition to the lower portion of the chest. This is an area that most people neglect. Typically you would need some sort of decline bench to target this area of the muscle group. But by using a reverse grip on the pull-up bar, you’ll be able to make your lower chest really pop out.
Begin by establishing a reverse grip with your hands roughly shoulder width apart and then arch your chest slightly forward. When you come down, the pull-up bar should make contact right where your upper abdominals and lower chest meet. Push yourself up until your hands are completely straightened and then continue repeating this motion for 10-20 reps.
Closed Grip Pushups
Now that we’ve hit the middle and lower chest, it’s time go target the inner chest. When performed correctly, closed grip pushups will also add lean definition to your triceps. Start by gripping the pull-up bar with your hands roughly 3-4 inches apart. If you feel that there’s too much tension in your wrist area, then establish a grip with your hands 5-6 inches apart.
Push yourself up until your arms are almost fully extended. Just like the standard pushups you’ve already performed, you’ll want to maintain a slight bend in your elbows to maximize your results. Slowly come down until the middle of your chest makes contact with the pull-up bar and then continue for 10-25 reps.
Incline Couch Pushups
I definitely decided to save the best for last with this one. Since you probably don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a fancy incline bench, you’re going to have to get creative if you want to sculpt the upper portion of your chest.
Establish a neutral grip on the pull-up bar and then stand on your couch with your legs fully extended. Begin by pushing yourself up until your arms are fully extended. Slowly descend your upper body until the pull-up bar makes contact with your upper chest/lower neck area. This is much more difficult, but I promise the pain is well worth the rewards. Continue repeating for 10-20 reps.
- Perform each exercise for 15-20 seconds and then cycle through 2 times
- If you feel like you need assistance, you can perform the pushups on your knees.
- Perform each pushup variation until FAILURE.
- Cycle through the workout 3-4 times.
- Take no more than 10 seconds of rest between each set.
I hope you enjoyed this workout! Be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how you did.