Skip to content

Get 10% on Your First Order claim now

  1. DMoose
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. Training

8 Toes-To-Bar Alternatives to Build A Powerful Core And Stronger WODs

Master your WODs by building a powerful core and abs with 8 toe-to-bar alternatives! Get ready to up your pull-up game & challenge yourself like never before.

Jayden Peters
8 Toes-To-Bar Alternatives to Build A Powerful Core And Stronger WODs
Table Of Contents

Although toes to bar is a perfect strength-training routine and a great way of adding some functional fitness fun, it improves grip, shoulder and back strength, and cardiopulmonary fitness.

Don't tell me that you like all these benefits but are tired of hanging on a bar. But do you still want to take advantage of the toe bar without doing the toe bar? If yes, then this article can answer all your queries. 

No need to despair if you're not quite ready for your toes-to-bar debut. Look at eight ingenious alternatives that can hone in on those abs and grant you the power of mastery before long! 

Exercise pros know WODs (workouts of the day) require vigorous intensity - so when necessary, you can swap these tips into your routine and be well on your way toward toe-touching greatness.

Toes to Bar Alternatives

Looking to add some spice to your fitness routine? You can take your fitness routine to new heights with 8 toes-to-bar alternatives! Get creative and challenge core workouts by introducing different bodyweight exercises for a workout that provides great variety and exciting results.

Get ready to spark your imagination. Let's take an adventure into the creative unknown and explore new possibilities! So, what are you waiting for? Dive in now!

  1. Russian Chain Straight Leg Raise
  2. L-Sit
  3. Lying Body Hollow
  4. Ab Wheel Rollout
  5. Front Lever
  6. Hanging Straight Leg Raise
  7. Cable Crunch
  8. Curl-Up

1. Russian Chair Straight Leg Raise

Prepping for the highly sought-after toes-to-bar? The russian chair is your perfect core training partner, allowing you to condition your upper body while forcing full-body tension. You can take it a step ahead with a straight leg raise - this move can set you up nicely for all those upcoming toes in the sky!

Are you unable to manage a leg-straightening exercise? No problem. You can swap in some knee raises instead. The russian chair is a perfect toe bar substitute that can keep your core engaged. And if you want to achieve the best results, bend your knees to 90 degrees.


The benefits of the russian chair straight leg raise are:

  • It has direct carry-over potential into your toes-to-bar performance since the leg-raising component simulates the toes-to-bar ascent.
  • It can strengthen and tone your hip flexors and abdominal muscles. 
  • You can scale this move per your goals by making it more or less difficult.
  • It can help you in glute gains.

How to Do It

  • Lay your back against the back pad and rest your arms on the armrests. 
  • Before allowing your lower body to hang free, brace your upper body through your shoulders and core. 
  • Make a full-body tension brace similar to the body hollow, then lock your legs in full extension.
  • Elevate your legs as high as you can while keeping your legs straight. Control each repetition, avoiding any body sway that could cause you to slip out of a proper brace. 
  • Perform a minimum of 8-12 repetitions. However, you can vary the number of reps as per your goals.

2. L-Sit

Looking to give your entire body a challenge and add some pressure? Are you tired of the same old dynamic exercises? Then why unleash your inner strength with an excellent old-fashioned isometric? The L-sit exercise doesn't require movement, but don't be fooled. It is a perfect toes-to-bar alternative.

It can amp up what you already know about muscle tension so that you can strengthen those pesky problem areas. It can lay down some serious core power to give you an extra boost in all those other workouts!


The benefits of L-sit are:

  • Help to increase core strength and stability while adding another dimension of fun. 
  • L-sit generally requires massive full-body isometric stability, which you need throughout your core during the toes-to-bar.
  • It emphasizes shoulder stability and endurance.
  • It helps to improve hip flexor mobility, strength, and endurance.

How to Do It

  • Place your feet straight ahead of you on the yoga mat
  • Place your hands flat on the ground on either side of your hips. If your body dimensions (torso length versus arm length) prevent you from reaching the ground, grabbing some yoga blocks or a platform to make up the distance is highly beneficial.
  • Brace your entire body and press your hands into the ground, locking your elbows out and elevating your lower body.
  • Lock your legs before you and flex your quads as hard as possible. Maintain the position as long as you can as a timed isometric hold.
  • Repeat it for a minimum of 8-12 reps; you can vary the number of reps per your goals.

3. Lying Hollow Body

Learning the hollow body technique can be a game-changer if you want to do some hanging ab exercises. If mastering this skill is what stands between you and conquering any challenge from regular old pull-ups up to toes touching bars - there's no time like now!

The lying hollow body can help you develop the strength and coordination for an excellent airborne adventure. What better way to prepare your core than taking advantage of a firm foundation that supports most of your weight?


The benefits of lying hollow body are:

  • The lying hollow body teaches you to keep your core tight while supporting your body weight on the ground.
  • It can help you to improve your coordination.
  • This exercise has a high carry-over potential to the toes-to-bar starting position.
  • It is far easier to perform as compared to toes to bar.

How to Do It

  • Lie down on a mat with your back to the ground. 
  • Keep your legs straight and reach for your arms overhead while resting on the mat. 
  • Elevate your arms and legs off the ground simultaneously to about 45 degrees. 
  • Brace the core and maintain full-body tension like an upside down plank
  • Maintain this position for 30 seconds and progress gradually to as long as you can tolerate it. 

4. Ab Wheel Rollout

Ready to challenge your core like never before? The ab wheel is here for you. Rollouts with the wheel offer an intense workout to ensure the stability of muscles, including hips and shoulders. So, prepare yourself for one of the most challenging exercises because it's time to take control of your body with this great device.

If you are tired of feeling drained and lacking strength, this exercise proves you are stronger than your fatigue, as it builds muscular endurance in the core and upper body. Trust us; you can make it.


  • You can start this exercise from any starting point based on your difficulty level.
  • It reinforces the eccentric control required for proper toes-to-bar technique.
  • The ab wheel rollout is a dynamic exercise that helps you to maintain whole-body tension.
  • It focuses on the abs and core at the same time.

How to Do It

  • Set a mat on the ground as a starting point for your knees. Tightly grip the ab wheel with both hands on either handle. 
  • Place the ab wheel at a comfortable distance from your legs.
  • Before you start, squeeze your glutes, move your ribcage over your pelvis, and form the hardest core brace.
  • Tighten your lats and slowly start moving the wheel away from your body. Control the eccentric portion of the exercise and stop before your lats or shoulder blades lose tension. 
  • Return to your starting position by keeping your core tight.

5. Front Lever

Want to test your strength and endurance? Look no further than the front lever for a full-body workout that can push you to your limits. This powerful exercise combines multiple muscle groups in one intense move, making it an ideal alternative when regular toes-to-bar just won't cut it.

Ready to level up? This move has all the makings of a stunt-worthy challenge for even the most experienced fitness fanatics. Do you remember L-sit? Well, it's like an L-sit but at hyper-speed.


  • This maneuver necessitates a high level of total-body strength and coordination.
  • It also improves core strength and stability.
  • You can do it almost anywhere since it requires body weight and a pull-up bar.
  • It is one of the most advanced exercises that target your whole body making it a perfect alternative to toes-to-bar.

How to Do It

  • Begin by grabbing a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. 
  • Avoid as much unnecessary body sway as possible during your setup by using boxes to assist in assuming the starting position.
  • Make as much full-body tension as you can. 
  • Lock out your lats, upper back, core, and legs to tighten them. To finish your starting posture, adopt an open-body position.
  • Draw your body from a hanging position to parallel with the floor by engaging your core and lats (facing the ceiling). 
  • Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and progress gradually to as long as you can or perform with tight eccentric control for repetitions.

6. Hanging Straight Leg Raise

You can get the best of toes-to-bar with a hanging straight-leg raise. This move combines hip flexor strengthening from russian chair raises and shoulder stability from toes-to-bar, giving you maximum gains.

So, are you ready to challenge your upper body and overall strength? This modified toes-to-bar move can do the trick. It can test all those muscles, requiring grip and shoulder stability. Get set with some prepped power and get ready; this one can be tough but worth it.


  • It can improve your grip, overhead strength, and stability.
  • You must maintain an open body position throughout this movement, significantly increasing core strength and stability.
  • It can tone and sculpt your body.
  • If you want to exercise with less post-muscle workout soreness, it is a go.

How to Do It

  • Begin by grabbing a pull-up bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Avoid as much unnecessary body sway as possible during your setup by using boxes or a platform to assist in assuming the starting position. 
  • Establish a full-body brace (body hollow) while hanging still by flexing your glutes and hip flexors, core, and engaging your lats.
  • Raise your legs to full extension while maintaining control. 
  • Attempt to achieve 90 degrees of flexion or slightly more with each repetition. 
  • To avoid losing the position, control each eccentric portion of your repetitions. 
  • You can vary the repetitions as per your goals.

7. Cable Crunch

The cable crunch is a great place to start if you want to get beach-ready abs and rock your next toes-to-bar. This challenging core exercise can build up that midsection strength in no time!

As you progress in your cable crunch, perfect the challenge to suit your needs, whether at the start of each repetition or more toward its end. Just be sure that every exercise fits like a glove.


  • The cable crunch is simple and easy to perform.
  • You can quickly progress this move even with more weight.
  • This move can assist you in integrating abdominal contractions with full-body bracing.
  • It helps to tone up your Abs and strengthen the obliques of your lower back. Thus helping with flattening your tummy.

How to Do It

  • Begin by securing a rope handle to a cable stacking station. Place a mat at the machine's base to rest your knees on. 
  • Grip the ropes that are wrapped around the back of your neck. 
  • Drop to your knees and brace your core, legs, and upper body while facing the machine. It is the point where you can begin.
  • By contracting your abdominals, slowly curl your face towards your knees. With each repetition, exhale completely. While breathing in, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 
  • You can set the reps according to your fitness level and goals.

8. Curl-Up

Looking for the perfect move to both strengthen and test your core? Say hello to the curl-up! Flex those muscles you built up with cable crunches, then take it one step further by trying out a toes-to-bar alternative from home. Let's talk about taking fitness goals into overdrive.

The curl-up is an intelligent supplement to the cable crunch. The curl-up works by building your core and directing your abdominal strength. But it can help if you also control your body weight through proprioception and coordination.


  • It is a relatively simple but challenging abdominal flexion calisthenic exercise that can help you to improve digestion. 
  • The ground can support your body as you improve your strength and coordination.
  • You don't need special equipment to perform the curl-up, so that you can do it anywhere.
  • It can reduce stress and promote mental wellness.

How to Do It

  • Place a mat on the ground and lie down with your back to the ceiling. 
  • Draw your feet close to your body and bend your knees while your hands face down on the mat. 
  • Begin each repetition with an exhale and expel all your air as you move.
  • Draw your chest towards your knees while flexing your abdominal muscles. 
  • Lower down to the starting position while controlling your breathing. Repeat it as much as possible.

Muscles to Target for Improving These Toes-to-Bar Alternatives

You can unleash your inner athlete with exercises like toes-to-bar and their alternatives. These healthy alternatives can not only test all the essential muscle groups throughout your body, including core muscles to smaller joints around the shoulders but can also improve your balance.

And since minimal impact is involved, they are a great go-to when coming off an injury or dealing with any post-workout recovery needs. Another catch is that they require no equipment, so that anyone can perform these alternatives anywhere!

But you can only achieve all these benefits if your to-do muscles are more robust. So let's explore the muscles you need to build before incorporating these alternatives into your routine.


If you want to power through your next WOD and avoid premature drops, it all boils down to grip strength. Unfortunately, the fatigue factor can quickly take over if you don't plan adequately by incorporating plenty of free-weight exercises (with ab-straps) that will supercharge your grasp control. Hence, no breaks or slips are necessary!


Ensure you pay attention to the importance of shoulder mobility and scapular stability. These two elements are necessary for simple exercises like toes-to-bar to stay within reach - so take some time to build up your overhead strength! By investing in this area now, you'll be on your way toward achieving ultimate success.


Sure, sit-ups and crunches are great for your abs. But do you want a solid core that can get you ready to tackle overhanging toes-to-bar alternatives confidently? Strengthening the 360 degrees around your torso - not just those ab muscles but also pelvic and shoulder stability can take you to your dream cores. So, focusing on these muscles can give you rock-solid inner strength.

Hip Flexors

Forget six-pack abs: toes-to-bar and other exercises require the help of their secret weapon, your hip flexors! Your hips are always ready to lend a hand (literally), kickstarting each repetition with ease. And remember leg raises and any hip flexion training as part of your rise to greatness - literally.

The Bottom Line

No need to panic about those dreaded toes-to-bar exercises. You can now break out of the box with this list of progressive alternatives to quickly get you a strong core. Each alternative builds your coordination, stability, and mobility, like toes-to-bar.

So why practice the same old-fashioned, monotonous way to build abs, cores, and shoulders when you can have these fun but healthy alternatives? And it's not mission impossible; ensure each step gives that full body workout so WODs can never feel the same again. 

We are sure that with this helpful guide, your exercise routine can reach new heights. You can feel fitter and have a ton of fun in no time!

Reading List

Healthier and Happier Life is One Step Away.

Get information on health, fitness and wellness with our weekly newsletter.

Jayden Peters

Mr. Peters is a US based health and lifestyle content writer. He thinks healthy living is about flexibility, balance and discovering what works for your body. He is has notable experience in topics including health and wellness, yoga, fitness equipments etc.

Start your fitness journey today!

Take an extra 10% off your order.

reach out

Toll Free: (833) 366-6733

5700 Crooks Road, Troy, Michigan 48098

*By submitting this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time.