Muscles Used • Exercise Type • Form Instruction • Tips and Techniques • Recommended Reps • Common Variations • Substitutions • Equipment Needed
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Weight Training Exercises Database
– Wide-Grip Pull-Ups –
Compound Exercise, Pull Movement
Grasp overhead bar with palms out and a wide grip (see pictures), pull body up until chin is over bar, then lower body back down until arms are fully extended.
Tips and Techniques:
Fully stretch arms at the bottom of the exercise, do not swing the body. Only the upper arms are moving in the exercise, the rest of the body should be relatively motionless.
When your thumbs move an inch or so wider than your shoulders on your grip, you are entering the “world of wide-grip.” Wider grips can help target the lats and limit the involvement of the secondary muscles.
The wider the grip, the greater the difficulty most people have doing pull-ups.
The benefits of a wide-grip are much debated. “The wider the grip the wider the back” is a commonly repeated training rule in bodybuilding circles. However, there are a lot of smart people who argue the validity of this rule. As you widen your grip you necessarily lessen the exercise’s range of motion. This can limit the compound nature of the exercise (limiting the assistance of the secondary muscle groups and effectively turning it into an isolated exercise).
Whether or not you subscribe to “wider grip, wider back” argument, it is always a truth that simple grip variations can greatly effect an exercise. The pull-up is an exercise that allows for many interesting variations, many of which can help you best target your muscles for strength and size.
How wide is too wide? The widest grip you should have is to your elbows when your arms are to your sides and parallel to the floor (see image to the right). However, remember that we are all built a little differently… Wide-grips are sometimes associated with shoulder problems and pain is never a positive – never lift through structural pain.
Adding resistance can be accomplished by holding weights between the legs, the use of a dip belt or creativity.
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- Standard Pull-Ups
- Chin-ups – Palms facing in, puts more emphasis on the biceps
- Narrow-Grip Pull-Ups – Same motion with grip less than shoulder-width, thought to work lower lats harder
- Mixed-Grip Pull-Ups – Same motion with one hand grasping bar underhanded and the other overhanded
- Hammer-Grip Pull-Ups – Parallel overhead bars are used allowing a hammer-grip
- Towel Pull-Ups – A towel is put over bar and both ends of the towel are grasped
- Kipping Pull-Ups – Swinging to use momentum to help you over the bar
The Standard Pull-Up with a grip closer to the shoulders should prove easier to do and effective. Lat-Bar Pulldowns will work the lats but shouldn’t be confused as a quality substitute – there just isn’t one.
Overhead Bar, Dip Belt (optional)
Couple more articles you may like…
Choosing The Right Program (to Catapult Yourself To Big Muscle Gain)
Find out how to pick the right program for you based on your training level.
Tracking Your Bodybuilding Training Program
(Main Page) An overview of how to track and the things you need to track – from body composition to your diet and training journals.