Medically the evaluation by Daniel Bubnis, M.S., NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS, Fitness — written by Sara Lindberg on may 23, 2019

The wide-grip pullup is one upper-body strength motion that targets her back, chest, shoulders, and arms. It also gives your main point muscles a pretty an excellent workout.

Including wide-grip pullups in your overall fitness regime can aid increase your toughness in various other movements, such as the lat pulldown and shoulder press.

Read on come learn more about the benefits of wide-grip pullups and also how to do them.

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“The wide-grip pullup is an effective exercise to combine the ago and shoulders, due to the fact that the activity contracts the latissimus dorsi, the largest muscle that the upper body.” — Allen Conrad, DC, Certified Strength and also Conditioning Specialist

How to execute a wide-grip pullup

Start through standing underneath a pullup bar, v your ago and spine straight.

Reach up and also grab the bar v each hand. Her thumbs need to be pointing towards each other, and your grip need to be broader than her body. As soon as positioned correctly, her arms and torso should type a ‘Y.’ come be more specific, every arm need to be 30 come 45 levels from her body, however no an ext than a 45-degree angle. Look directly ahead and also pull your body upwards in the direction of the bar.Pause, then reduced yourself earlier down come the original position.

“If performing a wide-grip pullup is as well difficult, you have the right to start practicing through a weight-assisted pullup machine,” proposal Allen Conrad, DC, Certified Strength and also Conditioning specialist (CSCS). “These machines have a platform you kneel on while performing a pullup, and the counterbalance of decreased weight can help you construct arm toughness to carry out a standard wide-grip pullup,” the explains.

The an essential to making use of a weight-assisted pullup device is to begin with a weight you’re comfortable v and change the counterbalanced weight as the practice becomes less complicated for you come perform. When you can lift her body weight, Conrad says you have the right to progress come a traditional wide-grip pullup on the hanging bar.

If you want to make the wide-grip pullup much more challenging, Conrad suggests including weight. There are three methods you deserve to do this:

Wear a belt the you can attach a weight to.Wear a weighted vest.Hold a dumbbell by cradling it between your feet.

Each that these changes will challenge the stamin of the latissimus dorsi muscle during wide-grip pullups.

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One of the reasons the wide-grip pullup is together an tremendous exercise is due to the fact that of the numerous muscles supplied to do the move:

Latissimus dorsi

The “lats” space the largest muscle that the upper back, and also they run from the mid ago up come under the armpit and also shoulder blade. Conrad claims this muscle is the element mover for adduction, extension, and internal rotation that the shoulder.


The “traps” are located from her neck to both shoulders. They connect the neck, shoulder, and earlier regions, and run downward in a V-shape pattern toward your mid-thoracic spine. Conrad claims this muscle assists in shoulder elevation.

Thoracic erector spinae

These 3 muscles run along your thoracic spine in her back. Conrad claims these muscles help in back extension.


These tiny muscles are located between the thoracic spine and shoulders. They contract throughout the downward movement of the shoulder pull to cause shoulder adduction.


Located on the shoulder blade, Conrad states this part of the rotator cuff assists in shoulder extension.

Teres minor

Located under her armpit and also behind the shoulder blade, Conrad notes this rotator cuff muscle assists in shoulder flexion and also external rotation.

External oblique

Part the your ab muscles, the outside obliques are situated along the political parties of your ab wall. Conrad states this muscle help stabilize the core and also assist the abdominal section throughout shoulder flexion.

The good thing about pullups is the you can readjust your grip to recruit different muscles. One method to carry out this is v the close-grip pullup. The close-grip variation of the pullup alters the width of your hands.

With broad grip, her hands are more than shoulder-width apart. In nearby grip, you relocate your hand closer together, which results how your shoulder joints relocate as you do the exercise.

The closer fixed also allows you to recruit your biceps and also chest muscles much more than the vast grip, which method you may be able to complete an ext repetitions.

Performing the same exercise repeatedly deserve to lead come boredom, overuse, and also a decrease in performance and also gains. If she looking to train the same muscles forced in the wide-grip pullup, you could want similar movements you can add to her fitness routine. Here are some alternate exercises you can try:

Lat pulldown

Sit facing a lat pulldown machine. Take the bar v your palms facing away from your body, more comprehensive than shoulder-width apart. Lean your torso ago and pull down on the bar until it hovers over your top chest. Pause. Return the bar progressively to the starting position.

TRX horizontal row

While standing, begin with the TRX handles at the side of your chest. Lean earlier and progressively lower your body, keeping your back flat. Once your arms are extended, pause. Pull her body earlier up toward your chest.

Band-assisted pullup

Using a thick exercise band to assist in the pullup enables you come target the exact same muscles with sufficient support to have the ability to do the move with an excellent form. A good rule of thumb is the thicker the band, the an ext support you’ll get.

Stand in former of a pullup or chin-up bar. Loop a band roughly the bar. Bending one leg and put the band under her knee, bust above the shin bone. Through both hands, seize the bar and pull yourself up.

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Barbell or dumbbell row

Load a barbell with the ideal weight. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and also knees slightly bent. Transition your hips back, so your torso is parallel come the floor. Seize the bar through a tight slightly wider than shoulder-width, bending elbows, and also bring the bar in the direction of your chest. Pause and also lower down to beginning position.