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Pull-Ups Exercises using 3 Different Grips - Wide, Medium and Close-Grip

Pull-ups are one of the best types of full-body exercises to do for strength training and bodybuilding and here are 15 great reasons to do pull-ups! They can be done in a relatively short period of time while still working out most of the body’s muscle groups and still giving you a pumped and a ripped look. It's a great exercise to get you ready for summer. Generally, pull-ups will primarily work the back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps but they will also work the glutes, abs and legs which are used as support in doing this exercise. Plus, when pull-ups are done to exhaustion, this exercise will provide you with a good cardio workout.

Depending on the handle bar grip (hand grips) that you use and the angle at which you perform this exercise, you can work various muscle groups differently and provide yourself with constant variation in your workout.

In the following video, I will keep my hands and arms a little in front of me so that when I do this exercise I will be focusing a little more on working out my chest. Of course, the back, shoulders and particularly the biceps will also continue to be worked out a lot.  Therefore depending on how and where you grip the handle bars for your pull-ups you can hit primary muscle groups in different ways and angles allowing for a much more varied and effective pull-up workout.

I like using this HammerStrength workstation because it offers a variety of different angles of handles. I do these pull-ups using a wide grip, a medium grip and a narrow (close) grip. Each grip works the lats, shoulders and chest and the other muscle groups that I have previously mentioned from a slightly different angle. With each handle bar you can also change the proximity of your hands on each bar i.e., closer or further apart thus offering even more variation. Basically, the wider the grip, the more difficult this exercise becomes.

Method of Performance

Wide Grip Pull-Up
  • Find a convenient way to reach the handles. I like to use the removable side bars of this workstation to stand on and then I can reach for the handles very easily and safely.
  • Grab the widest handles for the wide grip with your palms facing away from you as well as keep your hands on the handles and your arms slightly in front of you.
  • Pull yourself up as far up as you can go then lower yourself as far down as you can while still maintaining a slight bend in your elbow. The lower and the higher up you go it becomes a little more difficult and provides you with a greater range of motion.
  • Use your core for stability and support - to keep your body from swinging.
  • Repeat for desired number of sets. I like to do 4-5 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. For the later sets 8 -10 are fine. Say 1 wide, 1 medium, 1 close-grip, 1 wide and 1 medium.
  • Remember to breathe properly as it is very important in this exercise because if you don’t, you will be quickly tired and out of breath. Breathe out as you pull up and breathe in as you lower yourself.
Medium Grip Pull-Up

Same way to do this exercise as the wide grip pull-up except that the palms of the hands will face at an angle towards each other or more inwards.

Narrow (Close) Grip Pull-Up

Same way to do this exercise as the wide grip pull-up except that the palms of the hands will face inwards or directly towards each other depending on the angle of the handle.

  • Stretch the lats and chest in between sets to maintain flexibility and prevent “Next Day Muscle Soreness”.
  • The close-grip pull-up is the easiest to do, so if this is the first time that you are doing this exercise, I suggest that you start with it. Wide grip is the hardest and you may want to try it at a later time.
  • It is also a good idea to build up some muscle strength using exercise machines or dumbbells before attempting pull-ups so as to avoid injury or undue muscle soreness. Pull-ups require you to be able to pull up your own body weight which may be difficult if you don’t strength train or work out on a regular basis.
  • By slowing down your pull-ups you can add in increased resistance.

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