Pull Ups and Chin Ups
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Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

The neutral grip pull-up – or hammer grip pull-up – is a good option as you are more likely to be able to perform more repetitions when doing them. With the neutral grip, you will make use of the parallel pull up bars.

In this grip, your hand will face each other, and your arms will be around shoulder-width apart – or closer depending on the spacing between the bars.

Neutral Grip Pull Up Benefits


One of the main benefits of neutral grip pull-ups is that it gives you a different option for performing pull-ups.

These grips recruit different muscles and is a good way of switching things up. When you continuously perform the same exercises, your muscles can get used to the movement and end up not responding as well. Giving your muscles variation is key in producing better results for strength and muscle gain.

You will also build more forearm and wrist strength along with improving your grip. This will help you in other lifts, specifically deadlifts.

How To Do A Neutral Grip Pull Up


To perform the neutral grip pull-up, you will follow similar cues from the close grip, and wide grips ones:

Here are the steps to performing a Neutral Grip Pull Up:

  1. Grabbing the parallel pull-up bar, start by hanging freely with your arms extended. This will be your starting position.
  2. Keep your head up, core tight and pull yourself upwards by flexing the elbows and make sure to keep your elbows from flailing outward
  3. Bring your chin to at least the height of the bar, pause for a second, then lower back to the starting position.

Congratulations, you have completed your first rep. Repeat as many as you can or at least two sets to build endurance and muscle to your lats, biceps, forearms, and traps.

Tip: While pulling down your elbows, tighten your glutes to avoid arching your back.

As with all the different forms of pull-ups and chin-ups, you want to make sure not to swing your body or use momentum to hoist yourself upwards. This not only can lead to injury but is preventing you from using the muscles properly.

Neutral Grip Pull Up Muscles Worked


With a neutral grip pull-up, you’re still working a majority of the muscles in the upper body. This time, there is more emphasis on certain muscles compared to close grip or wide grip pull-ups.

The biceps will take on more recruitment using this grip because of the positioning of your hands. If you ever perform hammer curls, you know what a great bicep and forearm pump they can give you. This is essentially what’s happening with a neutral grip pull-up – except you’re lifting your whole body weight this time.

Here is a list of muscles worked when performing a neutral grip pull up:

  • Lattismus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Trapezius
  • Terres major
  • Brachioradialis and brachialis
  • Deltoids/rotator cuff
  • Pectorals
  • Obliques
  • Triceps

Neutral Grip Pull Up Alternatives


For alternatives to the neutral grip pull-up, you can again perform them using a towel. This time you want to make sure the towel is looped through the bar so that both ends hang down closer together.

The neutral grip pull-up will be the most manageable of all the grips so some other alternatives include doing weighted versions to give yourself more resistance.

You can hook a dumbbell between your feet, or use weights hanging from a belt to make the exercise more challenging.

You can also perform negative reps when you have hit failure during your set. Once you can’t complete another repetition with good form, jump up, or use a box, to get you to the top of the pull-up movement then lower yourself under control. You can do a few more reps this way to get extra engagement and fully exhaust the muscle.

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.

Adnan has always been passionate about health and fitness. He comes from a sporting background playing football, badminton, rugby, and swimming at various levels from a young age.

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