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11 Pull Up Variations Every Athlete Needs to Know

5. Narrow Grip and Wide Grip

Once you’ve mastered the basics, kick it up a notch. Whether you’re doing chin-ups or true pull-ups, change how far apart your arms are placed on the pull-up bar.



If you want to activate your chest muscles and build your pecs, move your hands closer together. The narrower your grip, the more you use your chest muscles. Fitness enthusiasts who like to do weighted pull-ups (where you attach weights to yourself with a belt) also tend to use narrow-grip hand positions because your chest is stronger and allows you to lift a heavier load.

If you want to work your back more, move your hands further apart. A wider grip moves the focus off of your pecs and burns more of your back muscles. Pros love this move. “Wide-grip pull-ups coax the upper lats to come out,” Arnold Schwarzenegger once said.

6. Mixed Grip Pull Up

With a mixed grip pull-up, one hand faces outward and one hand faces inward. This creative mix allows more of your different muscle groups to kick in, reducing fatigue and allowing you to add even more weight if you’re using a weight belt. If you do this variation, switch your hands every other set to avoid creating a muscle imbalance.

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