Wide-Grip vs. Close-Grip Pull-Ups: Hand Position and Muscle Development

Wide-Grip vs. Close-Grip Pull-Ups: Hand Position and Muscle Development


Wide-Grip vs. Close-Grip Pull-Ups: Hand Position and Muscle Development

Pull-ups are hardcore. This classic (but challenging!) compound exercise works everything from your biceps and triceps to your obliques and traps. But, it’s important to note that your hand position not only affects the difficulty of your workout, it also affects your muscle development. We've put together our top tips on how to achieve the best wide-grip & close-grip pull-ups possible, as well as how to get the best hand position for muscle development.


Wide-Grip Hand Position

When performing a wide-grip pull-up, you’ll have to grasp the bar overhand (palms facing forward) with your shoulders slightly more than shoulders-width apart. We recommend that your hands be five or more inches wider than your shoulder-width. Not sure if you’re doing it right? When hanging from the bar, your body will form a Y-shape.

Close-Grip Hand Position

You might have guessed that when performing a close grip pull-up, your hands will be closer together than when performing a wide grip pull-up. Put simply, your hands should be INSIDE your shoulder-width. We recommend having only 6-8 inches between your hands. But, like a wide-grip pull-up, your palms should be facing forward.

How Does Hand Position Affect Muscle Development?

Wide-grip, close-grip and standard pull-ups are all effective in building muscle and in helping you create a strong, powerful physique. But, a slight difference in hand placement changes how your shoulder joints move as you lift your body weight. Of course, if your shoulder joints are moving differently, you’ll be activating different muscles. A close-grip pull-up is most effective in building inner lats, lower traps and pectorals. If you’re looking for added thickness and a ‘3D-look’, this is the hand position for you. Because wide-grip pull-ups take some of the strain off your shoulders, they engage the lower lats and the teres minor. If you’re looking for a V-taper, this is the hand position for you.

The Key: Varied Grips

Instead of choosing one or the other, mix-up your strength training regimen with both wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups! This way, you’ll get the most out of the workout and develop several muscles, creating both thickness and an attractive (and highly coveted) V-taper. We’ve put a workout routine together which utilises a varied approach to maximise muscle stimulation. Try This! Pre-workout: Try mixing 2 scoops of X-PLODE PRE-WORKOUT with cold water. This will help you power through our workout and help you perform your best.

  1. Deadlifts 5 sets x 5-6 reps
  2. Wide grip pull-ups 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Intra-workout: Sip BCAA INTRA between all your sets to help you replenish depleted amino acids that are burned during intense workouts.

  1. Narrow grip pull-ups 3 sets x 8-12 reps
  2. Seated cable rows (narrow grip) 2 sets x 10-12 reps
  3. Seated cable rows (wide grip) 2 sets x 10-12 reps

Post-workout: Try our all-in-one powder OMNI-MX for serious gains in muscle mass.


Top Tips for Maximum Muscle Development

  1. Focus on the muscle that you want to activate using ‘mind-muscle connection’.
  2. Squeeze the muscles at the peak of each rep to maximise fibre stimulation.
  3. Vary your workouts using other compound exercises and isolation moves.

Wide-Grip vs. Close-Grip Pull-Ups: Hand Position and Muscle Development

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