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Hit your Back AND Your Abs With Alternating Reps of Pull-Ups and Hanging Knee Raises

This is a really cool and unexpected back and ab exercise…BOTH exercises that you’ll be alternating actually work both the abs and the back in different ways.

This makes for a very challenging movement and a very effective one.

Your first exercise is the simple pull-up…set your hands with a palms-forward grip a little bit outside shoulder width. I find this hand placement to be important…too wide and you’ll compromise your grip when you do the leg raise. Too close and you won’t be able to get full range on that leg raise either (you’ll see).

I’m doing this exercise on the cross-beam of my cable crossover machine (I like the thicker, more awkward surface for grip training), but you can do it on a regular pull-up bar, too.


Then pull up.


Come back down to the hang position then begin the knee raise.


Here’s the kicker…instead of keeping your torso vertical and focusing on just bringing the knees to your chest, you’re going to come ALL the way up until you’re almost upside down.

Your feet should come up until they almost touch the bar.


Then lower your knees down and do another rep of the pull-up. Then another rep of the knee raise/cannonball-looking exercise.

Here’s why it works…

When you’re doing a pull-up, your abs are contracting isometrically…they’re holding your legs up in front of you and contracting to stabilize the pull in the lats.

When you’re doing the knee raise exercise to the top like this, in order to GET your legs up and around, you have use LAT power, similar to a stiff-arm pushdown type of movement. As your knees come up, you’re engaging your lats to push against the bar.

You’ll feel it the first time you try this combo…when you basically pre-exhaust the lats with the pull-up it’ll jump right out at you.

Keep going until your form starts to break down on either exercise.

This is an excellent way to get some ab training in while working your back. Very effective stuff.

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