AAFS is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Narrow (or Close) grip pull-ups are a popular variation of the regular pull-ups on the horizontal bar. It’s a basic exercise. However, athletes use it for intense back and bicep workouts. Let’s consider how a narrow grip modifies muscle stress compared with a classic pull-up. And let’s analyze the exercise technique and hand placement options.
What muscles do work?
The name of the exercise speaks for itself. Its key feature is the narrow hand placement on the horizontal bar. Thus, the emphasis of the load is shifted from the back muscles to the arms. You can do the exercise with a straight, reverse, and parallel grip.
What muscles work primarily during exercise?
Biceps (biceps brachii)
Shoulder muscles (they are located deeper than the biceps. Their other name is “brachialis”)
Large round muscle
The reverse grip gives an excellent load on the biceps. Therefore, athletes prefer it. Include this type of pull-up when you train your biceps. Use the narrow grip pull-ups as a basic exercise. The second option is to use the exercise at the end of the training program. In this case, don’t use weights and increase the number of reps.
Narrow grip pull-ups distribute part of the load from the biceps to the brachialis muscle (brachialis). The latissimus muscles (their lower region) work with a parallel grip.
But if the primary goal is the lats, use wide grip pull-ups.
The technique of Narrow grip pull-ups
The starting position is hanging on the horizontal bar with a narrow reverse grip. Let’s consider this option as more common:
Experienced athletes recommend doing 2-3 sets of 7-12 reps without additional weights.
Don’t swing on the horizontal bar during the exercise. It reduces efficiency. In addition, try to keep your elbows in one position.
Training tips and tricks
Let’s talk about the important nuances, which will give the maximum result from the Narrow grip pull-ups. Do you want to make the exercise more effective and improve target muscle work? Then take into account the following tips:
First of all, learn the technique of classic pull-ups on the horizontal bar. Get experience and minimal training for difficult exercises. After gaining experience, experiment with the grip and add new pull-ups to the training program.