different pull up grips and which muscles they work

Different Pull Up Grips and Which Muscles They Work

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If you’re looking to target different muscles with your pull-ups, you’ll want to try out different grips. There are a few different types of pull-up grips that you can use, and each one will work a different set of muscles.

In this article, we’ll discuss the six most popular types of pull-up grips and what muscles they work. We’ll also give you some tips on how to choose the best grip for you!

Difference In Pull Up Grips

There are a few different types of pull-up grips that you can use, and each one will work a different set of muscles.

Below is a table listing the most popular different pull-up grips and the muscles they work.

Pull Up GripMuscles Targeted
Classic Pull-UpsLats, biceps
Chin-UpsBiceps, lats
Hammer Grip Rear deltoid, upper back, biceps
Narrow Grip Pull-UpsBiceps, upper back
Mixed Grip Pull-UpsBiceps, lats
Muscle upsLats, biceps, triceps, chest (pecs)

1. Classic Pull Up Position

image of a man using the classic pull up grip

The first type of pull-up grip is the pronated grip. This is the most common grip that people use when they do pull-ups.

To do the classic pull-up, place your hands shoulder or wider width apart and grip the bar with your wrists facing away from you.

The pronated grip works the muscles in your back, specifically the latissimus dorsi (lats). This is the muscle that gives you that “V-shape” look. As with any pulling motion, your biceps are also involved in a more minor way.

If you’re looking to build up your lats, then the pronated grip is the way to go. However, if you’re looking to target other muscles, you’ll want to try a different grip.

RELATED: Assisted Pull-Up Resistance Bands for Cross Training and Power-Lifting

2. Classic Chin Up Position

man doing classic chin up pull up position and which muscles they work

The second type of pull-up grip is the supinated grip or the chin-up. This is also a very common grip, and it works the biceps muscles. You perform a chin-up by placing your hands roughly shoulder width apart and have your wrists pointed towards you.

If you’re looking to build up your biceps, then the supinated grip is the way to go. Like the pronated grip, the supinated grip also works the latissimus dorsi (lats). However, it puts more emphasis on the biceps than the traditional pull-up grip does.

If you’re looking to build up your biceps and your lats, then the supinated grip is a good choice.

3. Hammer Grip Pull Up

image of a woman using the hammer grip or neutral grip pull ups and which muscles they work

The third type of pull-up grip is the hammer grip, also known as the neutral grip. The hammer grip is similar to the chin up, but the grip is wider apart and your wrists should be facing each other. It’s not as common as the more classical grips, but it’s a great grip for targeting the muscles in your rear shoulders. The hammer grip is a great pull-up variant for targeting the rear deltoid muscles more so than other pull-up grips.

If you’re looking to build up your shoulders, then the hammer grip is the way to go.

Related: The Best Pull-Up Bars On Amazon

4. Narrow Grip Pull Ups

image example of a man using narrow grip pull ups and which muscles they work

The fourth type of pull-up grip is the narrow grip. The narrow grip is a slightly more advanced exercise and you can do it pronated or supinated.

The narrow grip will put even greater stress on the biceps and upper back compared to the more classic pull-up and chin-up grips.

Related Reading: Strengthen Your Forearms, The Best Equipment And Tools

5. Mixed Grip Pull-Ups

The fifth type of pull-up grip is the mixed grip. The mixed grip is a combination of the pronated and supinated grips. In other words, one hand will be facing you and the other turned away as you grip the bar.

It’s a great grip for targeting the muscles in your back and your biceps.

6. Muscle Ups

man doing muscle up with explanation of which muscles they work

Not really a pull-up specifically, but we thought we’d include it anyway, the muscle-up. Muscle-ups are a combination of a pull-up and the push-up part of a dip, pushing yourself above the bar. It’s a great exercise for building up your general upper body strength, but the exercise is far more difficult than pull-ups as you incorporate upper body strength movement into the exercise as well.

Performing a muscle-up is an acquired skill to master and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you don’t think you’re up to the task of lifting yourself up and above the bar, sticking to pull-ups is fine!

Tips for Performing the Perfect Pull-Up

Like any exercise, using proper form and technique will determine your long-term results. If you want to gain the maximum benefit, here’s a video to help you perfect your form:

Summary

It’s surprising how just a small variation of a pull-up grip can effectively work completely different muscle groups. For overall power and strength improvements, we suggest you alternate your grip to identify muscle weaknesses.

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