Pull Ups
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Close Grip Pull-Ups

The Close-grip pull-ups is a great upper body exercise that will strengthen the back, arms, and builds muscle. Close grip pull-ups include engaging your biceps and chest more making for better upper body development.

The exercise will be better for those newer to pull ups as it is slightly easier to do than a standard pull up or other variations of the pull up.

Close grip pull-ups also build functional strength as it takes athleticism, and coordination to execute the exercise. These pull-ups will help you in other strength training exercises, will improve your posture, and build more muscle coordination in your body.

Close Grip Pull Ups Muscles Worked

Close-grip pull-ups are the ultimate upper body exercise. Most people think of them as just being a back exercise, but we should look at them as a full-body movement.

Pull-ups are key to developing true functional strength the back and arms do a majority of the work, but they need many other upper body muscles to perform the movement.

Here are the muscles used when performing a close grip pull up:

  • Lattismus dorsi (Primary)
  • Teres major
  • Biceps
  • Brachioradialis
  • Brachialis
  • Triceps
  • Trapezius
  • Pectorals
  • Levator scapulae
  • Rotator cuff
  • Erector spinae
  • Obliques

How To Do A close Grip Pull Up

To perform a close grip pull-up, the hand position is the most important thing. You want your hands positioned INSIDE your shoulder-width. With that in mind, you want to jump up to the bar grabbing hold with your palms facing forward. Ideally, you want only around 6 to 8 inches between your hands.

Keeping your core tight and your back straight, pull your body upward until your chin is at the height of the bar. Pause for a second, then lower down under control to complete one rep.

Here are the steps to perform a close grip pull up:

  1. Using an overhand grip, firmly grasp the pull up bar with hands side to side about 6-8 inches away from each other. The close grip ensures you emphasise your lower latissimus dorsi or lats.
  2. Once you get into starting position, take a deep breath in, squeeze your glutes and pull your abs in tightly. Really concentrate on the midsection when completing the motion.
  3. Hanging from the bar, feet off the floor, pull yourself upward by depressing your shoulder blades and pushing your elbows down to the floor. Avoid leaning and swinging your body.
  4. Keep lifting yourself up until your chin meets the bar and your lats contract fully. Once your chin reaches over the bar, you can begin to lower your body back down to starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise.

Close Grip Pull Up Alternatives

To give some alternatives to the close grip pull-up you can position your hands so your palms are facing towards you making it a chin-up. This will engage the biceps to a higher degree.

Another option – and to really make them more challenging – is to use a towel to perform close grip pull-ups. Loop a towel over the bar so that the ends are hanging down on each side and between shoulder-width apart.

You will grip each end of the towel with your hands and perform a pull-up while holding on. This will engage all the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms along with the back. This exercise will build immense back, arm, wrist, and grip strength.

Adnan Munye

A certified personal trainer, Adnan specialises in weight loss, muscle building, body conditioning, core strengthening and injury rehabilitation. Adnan comes from a sporting background, where he has played football, badminton, rugby, and swimming all at various levels.

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