Different people will tell you there are different signs of strength. For some, it all comes down to the size of your biceps, while for others, it’s determined by “how much you can bench bro?“. We’d argue, however, that a true sign of strength and athletic ability, is how well – and how many – pull-ups you can perform.
Pull-ups may look simple, they just rely on your pulling yourself up to a bar, but in practice, they’re an exercise that can really separate the men from the boys (mainly because boys, who are typically much lighter and fitter, can do more of them).
But, while the standard variation of the humble pull-up is enough to give you boulder shoulders, fitness trainer and former world ranked pro duathlete Paul Sklar has revealed a subtle change you can make to your pull-ups, that could help your six-pack shine. Taking to Instagram to share a Reel of himself performing said variation, he reveals all you need to do to get those washboard abs is lift a knee up as you’re pulling yourself up to the bar. Simple, right?
“Looking for a great exercise to develop your six pack and then some? Here’s one of my all-time favourite ways to get it done. The alternating knee raise pull-up”, he says in the video.
“The key here is to make sure that you keep your hips slightly forward the entire time to keep the abdominals engaged. And make sure that you only use your abs when lifting the knees.”
“Best part? You still get all the back and biceps gains you get from a [regular] pull-up.”
Watch Paul demonstrate the pull-up hack to shred your abs in the video below
For a little extra help with the technique, one user asks if you “engage and contract when you pull-up, or when you release?” The answer? “Mainly on the pull-up.”
He added: “Most people have no idea how much abdominal engagement occurs during a pullup, which is why it’s one of my favorite ways of all time to strengthen and develop my abs.”
A quick look at Paul’s torso and we’re inclined to take his advice. And when you consider he’s 49-years-old, we’re confident he knows what he’s talking about.
Of course, you should probably try and nail the perfect pull-up before attempting Paul’s alternate knee raise variation, and for help with that, look no further than Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor, who has previously provided some surprisingly helpful advice.
With that complete, give Paul’s tweak a try and see the results for yourself.