20 Door Pull-Up Bar Exercises for Great Results

A Door Pull-Up Bar offers many exercises and a broad range of possibilities for extended workouts. A Pull-Up Bar is the one thing you absolutely need for your Calisthenics and the Door Pull-Up Bar is the perfect tool. Versatile, affordable and dependable, you can get a lot of work done on these bars. I’ll take you on a short, guided tour of 20 Door Pull-Up Bar exercises that you can do.

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Before You Start Your Door Pull-Up Bar Exercises 

I know you’re eager to start doing these Door Pull-Up Bar exercises immediately, but keep in mind the following:

  • Always make sure you do a proper warm up for Calisthenics to avoid injury and to prime your muscles for optimal growth.
  • Practice perfect form, again to avoid injury but also to make the most efficient gains. Only perfect practice makes perfect.
  • Choose a good rep range and don’t overcompensate. You should also determine your rest periods between sets and between workouts to avoid overtraining in Calisthenics.
  • Use Resistance Bands where needed and work on gradually reducing the aid you get from these until you can do the exercise without any assistance.

Looking through a list of Door Pull-Up Bar exercises gives you a good idea of what is possible. But which exercises are you planning to do? Make a list of these exercises based on your current capabilities and your future vision. Find out exactly how to perform them.

With all that in mind, there are plenty of Door Pull-Up Bar exercises that get you in terrific shape.

20 Door Pull-Up Bar Exercises

Here are 20 great Door Pull-up Bar exercises that you can do. I have included links to more in-depth tutorials for these exercises where appropriate. If you really want to delve into the nitty and gritty and get the maximum out of your Door Pull-Up Bar’s exercises, they are worth a read as well.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #1: Pull-Ups

What other reason for a Pull-Up Bar than for doing Pull-Ups? This quintessential exercise lies at the core of Calisthenics, and you need a good Pull-Up Bar for it. The Pull-Up builds up the back muscles, which is important for many other exercises to be performed well. It also builds up that diamond-shaped upper body. Among your Door Pull-Up Bar exercises, learning how to do your first Pull-Up is the most pivotal. Here is a brief explanation of how you do perfect form Pull-Ups:

  • Starting from a Dead Hang with a Pronated Grip (knuckles facing toward you), bend your arms and lift your body while aiming your upper chest at the top bar. Keep your torso and legs perfectly still.
  • Keep your elbows pointing sideways and keep your face looking straight ahead, do not lift your head or chin until your chest (barely) touches the top bar.
  • Descend to a near Dead Hang at the same speed as the ascent.

Keep your scapula activated throughout the exercise, avoid kipping, limiting your range of motion or any of the other common Pull-Up mistakes.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #2: Chin Up

It’s still a marvel to me that something as simple as flipping your hands around can have such a dramatic effect on the body. Chin-ups may look like Pull-Ups but instead of your knuckles pointing toward you, they face the other direction. This changes the dynamic of the exercise, now with much more focus on your forearms and biceps while still engaging your back muscles as well. This makes it a great Door Pull-Up Bar exercise to learn and master.

Here is how you do Chin-Ups in a nutshell:

  1. Starting from a Dead Hang with a Supinated Grip (knuckles facing away from you), bend your arms and lift your body while aiming the center of your chest at the top bar. Keep your torso and legs perfectly still.
  2. Keep your elbows pointing down and keep your face looking straight ahead, do not lift your head or chin unless you need it to clear the top bar until the center of your chest (barely) touches the top bar.
  3. Descend to a near Dead Hang at the same speed as the ascent.

Keep your scapula and shoulders activated throughout the exercise.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #3: Scapula Pull-Up

Scapula Pull-Ups are the missing link in your Pull-Up progression. They are essential for building up that initial back and shoulder muscle needed for the full Pull-Up. The Scapula Pull-Up itself is part of the full Pull-Up and every Pull-Up starts with the same motions as the Scapula Pull-Up. That makes this an equally if not arguably more important Door Pull-Up Bar exercise since Calisthenics is all about foundations.

Here is how you do the Scapula Pull-Up:

  1. Starting from a Dead Hang with a Pronated Grip (knuckles facing toward you), tense your back, shoulders and neck. Press your shoulders back, activating your lats (sides) and then pull your shoulders down causing your body to come up into a “shrugging” position.
  2. Hold this shrug for 2 seconds and descend slowly into the original hang.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #4: Muscle-Up

Skip the whole Push-Pull split with Muscle-Ups, which are also a possible Door Pull-Up Bar exercise. Mastering the Muscle-Up gives you a dynamic exercise where you need to combine a pulling action with a pushing action, exercising your entire upper body and arms. Since you need room above the bar for your upper body, only the Doorway Pull-Up Bar is suitable for this exercise (see the picture above). First, here’s how to perform a proper Muscle-Up:

  1. Starting from a Dead Hang with a Pronated Grip (knuckles facing toward you), perform the Pull-Up (as described above) but with enough explosive momentum so you travel above the bar up to your hips.
  2. Allow your hands to rotate on the bar during your ascent. Push up until your hands are straight (a Dip).
  3. Reverse the process at the same speed until you’re back in a Dead Hang.

This technique means you need room above the bar, which isn’t possible if you hang your Door Pull-Up Bar too high. You also need room below the bar to clear the ground. One solution to this is to tuck your legs in for the Pull-Up and straightening them for the Dip. This is a slight concession, but it is still a workable one.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #5: Ring Muscle-Up

You can easily add Gymnastic Rings to your Door Pull-Up Bar exercises to further diversify its use. One new technique you can then do is the Ring Muscle-Up. These are largely the same in technique as the normal Muscle-Up, but with some key differences. These differences make the Ring Muscle-Up slightly more effective at building muscle by the instability factor brought by the rings. 

This is how you perform the Ring Muscle-Up flawlessly:

Ring Muscle-Up Tutorial: Ultimate Progressions and Exercises

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #6: Australian Pull-Up

Just like the Scapula Pull-Up, the hyper versatile Australian Pull-Up is an essential step toward the full Pull-Up. Your Door Pull-Up Bar is perfect for this exercise. For this technique to work, which works out all the same major muscles as a regular Pull-Up but to a lesser extent, you need to place your Door Pull-Up Bar lower so that your feet still touch the floor. The steeper the incline, the harder the Australian Pull-up. This is how you perform a standard, perfect form Australian Pull-Up:

  1. Lay beneath the top bar, with your body held straight and diagonal and with only your feet touching the ground. 
  2. Pull-Up like you do with a regular Pull-Up until your chest barely touches the bar. Return to the original position.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #7: Ring Row

Ring Rows use the Gymnastic Rings to do Australian Pull-Ups. This adds another level of difficulty to your Door Pull-Up Bar exercise, which makes gains more efficient. The rings also make the same benefits of the Australian Pull-Up accessible to Door Pull-Up Bars that can only be mounted higher, around the door header. This is how you perform Ring Rows:

  1. Hang beneath the rings with your body held straight and diagonal and with only your feet touching the ground.
  2. Pull-Up like you do with a regular Australian Pull-Up and until your chest comes up between the rings. Return to the original position.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #8: Straight Bar Dip

A Straight Bar Dip is not only a great Door Pull-Up Bar exercise for your shoulders and triceps but focuses a lot on the chest and upper back area, too. The Straight Bar Dip is also part of the Muscle-Up and a must-have Door Pull-Up Bar exercise that gives you great results in the short to medium term. You exercise Straight Bar Dips parallel to your regular Dips (or Parallel Bar Dips) to even out your upper-body muscle growth in the aforementioned areas. Here is how you do a normal, Straight Bar Dip:

  1. Get on top of the top bar, holding it with both hands in a Pronated Grip (knuckles facing away from you) and with your arms straight. The top bar should be around waist height. Your feet should not be touching the ground or any other support.
  2. Lower by bending your elbows until your ribcage barely touches the bar. As you descend, lean slightly forward to maintain balance. You may also point your legs forward to assist with balance and to avoid them touching the ground.
  3. Push back up to the original position, straightening your body again as much as the bar height allows.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #9: Bench Dip

If you’re not ready for the full Straight Bar Dip, this Door Pull-Up Bar exercise is the perfect alternative for you. The Bench Dip is an easy Calisthenics exercise that prepares you for more advanced exercises like the regular Dip and the Straight Bar Dip. It is also a great workout for your triceps and shoulders. Here is how you do the Bench Dip on your Door Pull-Up Bar:

  1. Face the top bar with your back with the bar resting at hip height so you could sit on it if you wanted to. Lower your upper body by bending your knees and moving them away from the top bar, like you’re sitting on an invisible chair. 
  2. Hold the bar on either side of your hips with your knuckles facing forward. Next, lower yourself slightly by bending your knees and elbows. Come back up the same way.

This dip is a lot shallower than a regular dip and easier to do. You can increase the difficulty by moving your feet farther away from the bar.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #10: Triceps Extension/Skull Crushers

Triceps Extensions or Skull Crushers are performed on a low bar. This Door Pull-Up Bar exercise is one of the most effective for seeing triceps gains. Don’t be misled by the simple appearance of the technique, you will feel it in your triceps the day after. Here is how you do Skull Crushers or Triceps Extensions:

  1. Assume a Straight Arm Plank position (Push-Up Position) but with your hands placed around two hand lengths above your head. Your knuckles are facing forward.
  2. While keeping your hands still and your body straight and stiff, bend your elbows and lower your body until your head is at or just below the level of the bar. 
  3. Come back up to the original position.

It is important that your hands do not rotate while you’re making the movements. Keep your wrists as unengaged as possible as well. Allow your wrists to pivot to allow for the movement, but they shouldn’t add any of the strength required for the move itself. That way, your triceps do all the work.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #11: Incline Push-Up

Another great way to get more versatility from your Door Pull-Up Bar exercises by mounting it low are Incline Push-Ups. Not everyone can do regular Push-Ups, yet, and Incline Push-Ups are a great way to learn. Incline Push-Ups can be practiced against a wall or with the use of a staircase. But your Door Pull-Up Bar can also be used for the same exercise, giving you a much better way of regulating the exact incline. The top bar itself is also a more comfortable holding point than the steps of a stair or the rungs of a ladder.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #12: Decline Push-Up

Place your feet on a low top bar instead of your hands and you’re doing Decline Push-Ups instead of Incline Push-Ups. Being at a decline makes even the standard Push-Up a lot harder. The steeper the incline, the more focus is put on the shoulder as well in a similar way that Pike Push-Ups do.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #13: Pelican Curls

Pelican Curls are a powerful technique that grows big biceps. You need your Gymnastic Rings for this exercise and with the Door Pull-Up Bar mounted high. Once you’ve done this exercise a couple of times, you’ll start seeing some amazing results. You won’t ever look back at any weights rack again once you master Pelican Curls. The beauty of this technique is that you can vary the incline, making the exercise progressively harder. Adding weight to your body also pushes this exercise past a level that most weightlifters can handle. 

Here is how you do Pelican Curls:

  1. Hang into your Gymnastic Rings at a 45-degree incline (the steeper the incline, the harder the exercise) with your elbows bent and your hands at your sides. The stance resembles the lower position of an Incline Push-Up closely. 
  2. Lean forward slowly toward the ground while keeping your whole body straight (keep tension on your glutes and abdomen) and your hands in place. You straighten your arms out behind you as you move forward until you achieve maximum extension.
  3. Step forward to release the tension on your arms, there is no return motion for this exercise.

The trick is to achieve full triceps extension (practice #10) for this exercise to be maximally effective for your biceps. You can also do this exercise with just the bar and foregoing the Gymnastic Rings; however, this is one of the rare exercises that are easier with the rings than without the rings.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #14: Front Lever

I like Front Levers because they take care of a whole lot at once. They’re a great upper body and back exercise, but also a compound exercise for the abdomen and core. Even your legs need to do a little bit of work to stay nice and straight. It is one of the more advanced Calisthenics exercises and one for which your Door Pull-Up Bar is perfectly suitable. Here is the basic Front Lever:

  1. Hang underneath the top bar with your body held straight and horizontal. You achieve this by modifying the regular Pull-Up grip and moving it in front of your belly button instead. This will keep your body balanced. Hold for 10 seconds or longer.
  2. If you feel advanced enough, pull up until your chest barely touches the top bar and descend.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #15: Back Lever

I like Back Levers for the same reason I like Front Levers. They are wonderful compound exercises that target nearly the whole body, with a strong emphasis on the lats, lower back muscles, core, hips, glutes and for your arms the biceps. I would argue that Back Levers are ever so slightly easier than Front Levers because you make use of the larger biceps to pull up instead of the triceps-dominant Front Lever. Here is how you do a Back Lever as a Door Pull-Up Bar exercise:

  1. Position yourself holding the Door Pull-Up Bar as you would starting a Bench Dip (#9). Hang forward and allow your hands to rotate on the bar until you hang horizontal with your face facing the ground.
  2. Allow your feet to come off the ground. Protract your shoulders by pushing them forward and rounding your back. Keep your body as straight as you can by depressing or tucking in your belly and midriff as far as they will go.
  3. Pull up by bending your elbows until your backside barely touches the bar. Descend at the same speed.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #16: Skin The Cat

Something slightly more gymnastic would be Skin the Cat, also called the German Hang, for which you can also use the Gymnastic Rings but just the Door Pull-Up Bar is fine as well. I like this exercise because it dramatically improves your flexibility.

  1. From a dead hang, do a Scapula Pull-up and hold the top position.
  2. Bring your knees up and rotate your upper body around backwards, letting the shifting gravity of your body do most of the rotation but limiting the speed of the rotation with your shoulders.
  3. You finish the exercise with your scapula fully engaged.
  4. You can rotate back the other way as well.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #17: Sit-Up

When done properly, Sit Ups are still a great beginner Calisthenics exercise provided you are not too heavy for Calisthenics. Your Door Pull-Up Bar can help with this exercise by fixing your feet in place. Do the exercise as follows:

  1. Hang your Pull-Up Bar close the to the floor but where you can still stick your feet under it. 
  2. Take up the Sit Up position by lying flat on the floor with your knees up and bent at 35 degrees. Place your feet under the Pull-Up Bar. Keep your hands loosely at each side of your head.
  3. Tense your abdomen and raise up into a sitting position until the angle of your back matches the angle of your legs (~35 degrees). Lower back down at the same speed until your back and shoulders touch the floor.

With Sit Ups it is important that your abdomen do most of the pulling and your back almost none of the pushing. The rate of ascent and descend is controlled, taking 2 seconds each.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #18: Hanging Knee Raises

For even more abdomen goodness, Hanging Knee Raises are the perfect Door Pull-Up Bar exercise. This is one of the simplest workouts that you can learn relatively soon in your Calisthenics journey, but one that will always remain effective. They can also be incorporated into an upper body routine quite easily as they only require a Dead Hang. I like to do Dead Hangs as a warmup for my Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups anyway, so doing Hanging Knee Raises just makes more efficient use of my training time.

Here is how you do Hanging Knees Raises:

  1. From a normal Dead Hang position, raise your knees gradually until they are at upper-chest height.
  2. Lower your legs back to a normal Dead Hang.

This technique is easy, but works amazingly for getting well-defined abs.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #19: Toes To Bar/ Leg Raise

After mastering the basic Hanging Knee Raise, you can take it one step further with a Leg Raise or “Toes to Bar” Raise. This technique starts from the same Dead Hang, but instead of just raising your knees, you keep your legs straight and you aim to touch the top bar with your legs or toes. Where exactly the point of contact is will depend on the proportions of your limbs, so “Toes to Bar” can be a little misleading. It could be “Shins to the Bar”.

The main difference between a full Leg Raise and a Knee Raise is the Range of Motion. Leg Raises require a longer length of travel and incorporate your glutes as well in the motion. Combining regular Squats with Hanging Knee Raises (#18) can help you progress to full Leg Raises.

Door Pull-Up Bar Exercise #20: Hanging Windshield Wipers

Another great Door Pull-Up Bar exercise for your abdomen is Windshield Wipers. This exercise is about abdominal stamina as it is a continues motion. It also activates different parts of your abs as you make the move that simple up and down motions can’t.  Finish off your repertoire of effective Door Pull-Up exercises with Windshield Wipers as follows:

  1. From a normal Dead Hang, raise your knees to the left, making a circular rotation clockwise from 6 o’clock to 6 o’clock. 
  2. Repeat the move counterclockwise.

Easy enough, but very effective for toning those abs. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by keeping your legs straight instead of bending your knees.

Conclusions About Door Pull-Up Bar Exercises & Variety

Door Pull-Up Bar exercises are varied and many. From Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups to gymnastic and abdomen work, it’s all possible with a relatively inexpensive and (perhaps more importantly) unintrusive Pull-Up Bar that will fit in almost any doorway. I hope you found the inspiration from this list of Door Pull-up Bar exercises to go and get the most of your purchase. After all, that initial investment will pay massive dividends in the future, when you apply it correctly. You’ll be fitter, stronger and better looking and your Door Pull-Up Bar will play a major role in that transformation.

Get fit and get strong with these Door Pull-Up Bar exercises, starting today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Door Pull-Up Bar Exercises

A few more questions about Door Pull-Up Bar exercises and what you can do with them.

Are door pull-up bars effective?

Door Pull-Up Bar exercises are effective at gaining muscles. The latest generations Pull-Up Bars are mounted on the door frame or in the door opening are safe, stable platforms to perform a wide range of exercises on.

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