By Nora Tobin for Shape.com
Pull-ups are an excellent exercise for working multiple muscles at the same time while also increasing your heart rate -- which is why so many top trainers include them in their training plans. But like most exercises that have great potential to improve your fitness, they're also one of the most difficult to perform. That doesn't mean you should avoid them. Instead, trade the iconic exercise for less difficult moves that target the same muscle groups -- lats, deltoids and rhomboids -- until you're strong enough for the real thing.
How It Works: Two or three days a week, add some of these exercises into your existing strength routine or do all eight as a separate workout, complete with a proper warm-up and cool-down.
You'll Need: A pair of three- to five-pound dumbbells, a pair of 10- to 20-pound dumbbells and a squat bar.