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Wide grip pull-ups – Ultimate exercise for upper-body mass and strength

Wide grip pull-up is a basic exercise for developing your lats. It’s a favorite exercise for experienced and novice athletes. The latissimus muscles form a wide back and a beautiful V-shaped body. What benefits will you get by doing the exercise? The article answers all your questions.

Let’s take a look at the classic version of the exercise – pull up on the horizontal bar to the chest. You’ll find other variations and complications in separate articles on the site.

What muscles work during wide grip pull-ups?

Pull-ups are one of the most effective back workouts. A wide grip allows you to load the upper part of the broadest muscle, which forms the wide back.

So, the following muscles work first:

In addition, the exercise affects the following muscle groups:

  • Major and minor pectoralis

  • Shoulder muscles

  • Biceps


Exercise technique

Do wide grip pull-ups correctly:

1The starting position is hanging on the horizontal bar. Wide grip (about 20 centimeters wider than shoulder-width). The palms are directed away from you. The arms are straight and relaxed. Only the forearms are tense. How do you catch the correct sensation? Imagine that your arms are just bindings, hooks, or ropes, thanks to which your body hangs on the bar. Take a deep breath

2Pull your chest to the bar while exhaling. Feel the tension of the lats. Don’t bring your elbows to the body during exercise. Try to lock their position

3Keep the horizontal bar at the level of your upper chest. It’s the top point of the exercise. Simply put, the chin should be above the bar. In this case, the forearms should be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor

4Lower yourself gently to the starting position while inhaling. Control the movement. Feel the lats working. Don’t throw your body abruptly down. Do the next rep

Keep in mind that the elbows should not be brought to the body. Their position should be fixed as much as possible. Otherwise, you’ll decrease the contraction amplitude of the target muscles and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

Maybe, you’ll want to help yourself by swinging on the bar. Don’t do that. Wide grip pull-ups are only effective with the correct technique. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.


Useful tips and tricks

What tricks will make the wide grip pull-ups more effective? Use the following tips:

1Try to do the exercise only thanks to the lats. The biceps and forearms will reduce the effectiveness of working your back

2You need to maximize the work of the upper part of the broadest muscles to form a powerful back. Athletes use a wide grip for this purpose. But don’t overdo it to avoid injury. Find the optimal position gradually. If you feel uncomfortable and pinched, stop training and adjust your technique

3Are you a newbie? Do you find it difficult to do pull-ups on the horizontal bar? First, you must strengthen the target muscles. Vertical rows in a block machine or the help of a partner are the best solutions. Your partner can push you towards the bar. Your task is to feel how your back muscles work

4If you are an experienced athlete, add additional weights. Take a belt to use weights. In addition, wrist straps are popular for a more fix on the horizontal bar

Do you have experience and physical training? Then alternate the exercise with other types of pull-ups. What variations should you choose? It depends on your training goals.

The wide grip chin-up is a basic exercise that requires serious effort. Therefore, do the exercise at the beginning of your workout. Do 3-4 to sets of 10-12 reps.


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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