Pull your torso upward until your chin crosses the bar while hanging from a bar. This exercise, also known as a pull-up, is one you’ve probably done before. Pull-ups are an upper-body pulling exercise that work your biceps, latissimus dorsi in your back, and other upper-body muscles to a lesser extent.
The fact that pull-ups target so many different muscle groups and have so many variations makes them one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do. Your level of fitness will determine which variation is the best fit for you. We’ll go over all the main types of pull-ups here and assist you in selecting the one that’s right for you.
10 Types of Pull Up for Muscles Increase
Strengthening the lats and rhomboids, as well as to a lesser extent the forearms, shoulders, and biceps, can be accomplished using the conventional pronated pull-up grip. This means that using a pronated grip can help someone whose tendency is to favor using their biceps during a pull-up over their lats ensure that their lats are being targeted over their biceps.
Tip: Start the pull by concentrating on driving the elbows straight down while maintaining a downward pull on the shoulders. Then, focus on depressing the scapula and engaging the lats. Without keeping the shoulder blades depressed, the movement will rely too heavily on the upper traps.
The traditional supinated chin-up grip will still help you develop lat strength, but it also works your biceps and chest, so it can be a great tool for people who already have strong lats but want to build biceps.
As a result of their bicep bias, chin-ups, and more specifically chest-to-bar chin-ups, are an efficient tool that can translate into muscle-up proficiency, as a strict muscle-up typically requires a false grip and utilizes some biceps.
Tip: Similar to the pronated grip pull-up, keep your shoulder from shrugging up while maintaining tension in your lats throughout the pull. The difference is that now your biceps will also naturally assist you. Throughout the pull, keep your abs and glutes engaged as well.
To engage the lats even more during a pull-up than a narrower grip can, take a wider grip. Wide grip pull-ups are excellent for someone who has trouble firing their lats because they almost force the muscles to contract.
Tip: Many people have a tendency to stick their chins out during these because they feel more difficult, but doing so will prevent you from maintaining a hollow body position and will instead cause you to end up in spinal extension. To avoid this, keep your chin tucked throughout the movement.
Similar to a regular pull-up, but with your hands placed closer together, is the narrow-grip pull-up. Your middle and outer back muscles will benefit greatly from this exercise. With your hands clasped together and palms facing forward, hang from a pull-up bar to perform this exercise. Pull yourself up to the bar while extending your elbows by squeezing your shoulder blades together. You should pause before lowering yourself to the starting position. The desired number of times should be repeated. This exercise is a great way to widen your lats because it concentrates on the back and shoulder muscles.
As opposed to the wide-grip pull-up, which excludes your biceps from the mix, many people find that using a neutral grip, where your palms face each other on two pull-up handles parallel to each other, is the easiest form of the pull-up. Also, strengthening your forearms with the neutral grip is a great idea.
Tip: You can perform more repetitions of neutral grip pull-ups than pronated or wide grip pull-ups because they’re typically a little easier, making them a great way to train a little more pull-up volume.
The mixed grip pull-up entails holding the bar with a pronated pull-up grip in one hand and a supinated chin-up grip in the other, as the name suggests. As a result, you will naturally be working your biceps and lats at the same time, giving each side of your body a slightly different stimulus.
Tip: The mixed grip is a great option because it is gentler on the grip if you want to add more volume to your pull-up set by working under tension for longer periods of time, especially if grip strength is a weakness. Due to how difficult weighted pull-ups can be on the grip, this also makes it a useful grip for those exercises.
Grenade grip pull-ups entail hanging fist-sized grenade balls, such as Grenade Cannonball Grips, over the pull-up bar and raising yourself up while clinging to them with both hands. Grenade ball pull-ups are especially beneficial for developing grip and hand strength, forearm strength, and forearm power, though they will still require significant amounts of lat and bicep strength.
Tip: In some cases, using grenade grips during pull-ups can help people with wrist or elbow pain lessen or completely disappear.
A more difficult pull-up variation is the hammer grip pull-up, which requires you to hold the bar with your hands in the hammer grip position. Your pull-up performance will greatly improve thanks to this exercise, which tones your back and biceps muscles.
To perform a towel grip pull-up, you simply hang on to the ends of the towel as you pull yourself up the bar, as the name suggests. Towel pull-ups, which are similar to the grenade grip, work your forearms, grip, and hand strength, which can translate into grip strength for other movements like rope climbs while still taxing your other pulling muscles.
Tip: Focus on keeping the ribcage and chin down to maintain a hollow body position throughout the towel pull-up exercise because it’s easy to let the spine extend.
Australian Pull Up
The Australian pull-up, also called an overhand pull-up because it is done with an overhand grip, is a type of pull-up. The back, shoulders, and arms can all benefit from this exercise by becoming stronger and larger. You must hold an overhand grip on a pull-up bar that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in order to perform the Australian pull-up. Your feet should be touching as you dangle from the bar with your arms fully extended. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar by tightening the muscles in your shoulder blades. Reverse the motion, then sluggishly reposition yourself to the starting position.
Muscles Worked Doing a Pull-up
One of the reasons the pull-up is such an incredible exercise is because of the many muscles used to perform the move:
- Latissimus dorsi-The “lats” are the largest muscle of the upper back, and they run from the mid back up to under the armpit and shoulder blade. According to Conrad, this muscle drives the shoulder’s internal rotation, extension, and adduction.
- Trapezius-The “traps” are located from your neck to both shoulders. They extend downward in the shape of a V toward your mid-thoracic spine, connecting the neck, shoulder, and back regions. Conrad claims that this muscle helps to raise the shoulder.
- Thoracic erector spinae-Along your thoracic spine in your back, these three muscles run. According to Conrad, these muscles help with back extension.
- Rhomboids-Between the thoracic spine and the shoulders are these tiny muscles. They tighten as the shoulder pull moves downward, causing the shoulder to adduct.
- Infraspinatus-This section of the rotator cuff, according to Conrad, is situated on the shoulder blade and aids in shoulder extension.
- Teres minor-Conrad notes that this rotator cuff muscle aids in shoulder flexion and external rotation and is situated beneath your armpit and behind your shoulder blade.
- External oblique-The external obliques are a group of abdominal muscles that run along the sides of your abdominal wall. In Conrad’s opinion, this muscle aids the abdominal region during shoulder flexion and stabilizes the midsection.
Today, there are so many different types of pull-ups that making a decision can be overwhelming. However, with a little knowledge of your options, you can decide which type is best for you or even try new things to find the ideal one. Because they work your entire back and core, pull-ups are among the best upper body exercises you can do. Finding out the advantages of each type of pull-up is essential, and depending on your training objectives, you should concentrate on those advantages. Make use of this guide to learn how to choose the one that will serve you the most effectively.