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Neutral Grip Pull-Ups – Powerful Workout For Upper Body

Let’s look at a popular pull-up option, which will diversify your workouts with a horizontal bar. The exercise corrects the load and effectively targets the upper muscle groups. The exercise is a Neutral (or Parallel) grip pull-up. In fact, it’s one of the types of pull-ups with a narrow grip, which we’ll talk about in another article.

Neutral/Parallel grip involves placing the palms so that they are facing each other. To do the exercise, you’ll need a horizontal bar, which has special handles for such a grip (parallel bars). You find such equipment in the gym. In addition, you may install it at home. Sporting stores offer a wide selection of goods.

What muscles do neutral grip pull-ups?

Neutral grip pull-ups create the load on the lower lats and arms. Thus, the exercise loads the following main groups:

  • The broadest back muscle (emphasis on the lower sections)

  • Biceps (biceps brachii)

  • Brachial muscle (brachialis)

Yes, girls do neutral grip pull-ups too

The deltas, dentate and large round muscles receive additional stress. What’s the conclusion? Neutral grip pull-ups are great for working out your latissimus dorsi. Athletes most often use such pull-up as an isolation exercise.

Exercise technique

Do Neutral grip pull-ups on a suitable horizontal bar. Starting position – hanging on straight arms:

  1. Hang on the horizontal bar by grasping the parallel bar. This grip is narrow. Because the distance between the bars usually varies and is 30-60 cm (depending on the simulator model). Take a deep breath

  2. Pull yourself up to the top point while exhaling. Try to imagine that you want to touch the bar with your upper chest. In other words, try to maximize the amplitude

  3. Reaching the top point, you can linger for a while. Take a short break. Then, taking a breath, gently and slowly lower to the starting position. Do the required reps


You can use the exercise after the upper grip pull-ups. Does your workout program have a bent-over row (dumbbells or barbells) or an overhead row? Then do these exercises after the Parallel pull-ups.

Do approximately 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. The reps can be unlimited. Try to Parallel grip pull-ups before muscle failure.


Tips for better results

Let’s take a look at some practical recommendations and tips. They will help you get better results and make Neutral grip pull-ups more effective. In addition, you’ll avoid unpleasant consequences for the body. These recommendations overlap with classic pull-ups. However, repetition is never surplus.

  • Avoid swinging on the horizontal bar and sudden movements. Because it will nullify some of the efforts. And you’re just wasting your time. Move slowly and in a controlled manner, so you’ll achieve maximum results

  • Try to exclude biceps from work. Concentrate more on the tension of lower lats. Move with maximum amplitude, focusing on the target muscles

  • Remember that the narrow grip on the parallel bars makes the exercise more isolated. Is your primary goal of horizontal bar training to build a powerful back? First of all, you need classic wide grip chin-ups

  • Reach up for the horizontal bar just to the level of the chest (upper part), and not your chin. Then the target muscles (lower lats) will receive a more effective load

  • After the end of the movement, don’t jump off abruptly the bar, especially from the top point. It will create unwanted traumatic stress on the spine

  • Experienced athletes can use additional weights. Usually, It’s a barbell disc, which is attached to a special belt. Three sets of 5-8 reps with weights will accelerate muscle growth. In this case, the Parallel grip pull-ups will become the basic exercise in the training program for the lats on the horizontal bar. Do you want to use Neutral grip pull-ups as an isolation exercise? Then don’t use additional weights. Better focus on the maximum reps before muscle failure

I'm a professional fitness instructor and nutritionist, runner, husband and father. I do my best in providing the right guidance when it comes to the grounds of sexual health, nutrition and common fitness.

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