Pullup & Knee Raise


You’ll never get the body you want by doing the easy exercises. Pulldowns and crunches may work your back and abs, but they don’t work those areas hard enough to net you great gains in a short time. To really widen your lats and improve your pullup strength, you need to do pullups. And as tough as crunches are, a better way to work your abs is when you’re upright, forcing them to stabilize your whole body. Fuse these two moves together and you get a killer combo lift that’s well worth the added effort.

Grab the bar overhand, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and hang [1]. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar, and hold [2]. From the up position, contract your abs and raise your knees to your chest (let your back round as your spine curls upward) [3]. Now lower your knees, then lower your body back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform three sets of eight to 10 reps, resting 60 seconds between each set.

Holding the contracted position of the pullup while you do the knee raise builds strength in the up position, which is usually a sticking point for guys who have trouble with pullups. Keeping the tension on your muscles for a few extra seconds while you do the knee raise can also spur more growth in your lats. At the same time, your abs work harder than they ever could on the floor, because they have nothing but their own strength to support them-allowing you to build a big back and ripped midsection in just three moves. See? It’s easier than you thought, after all.