When it comes to pull-ups, we’ve all had the same experience of wondering which grip is best. Hands facing the body? Hands facing away? One hand each way? Even the amount of different bars can be confusing! The problem is, if we’re unsure exactly what to do, we might be getting it wrong. This could cause ineffective workouts and even damage to the muscles, so it’s always best to trust the experts.
At Strength Ambassadors, we know the ins and outs of building strength and for pull-ups, we know it can sometimes be hard to navigate which grip is the right one. Though other grips come with different benefits in areas like functional strength, could the neutral grip be right as a starting point? We’ve put together this handy guide explaining the ins and outs of neutral grip pull-ups and why they can make a great addition to your workout.
What Are Neutral Grip Pull-Ups?
There are three different types of grip when it comes to pull-ups. Each grip will slightly change the muscles worked in the exercise, so it’s important to do your research and pay close attention to which grip works best for your goals! The three main pull-up-grips are:
- Pronated (Overhand) Grip where the palms face away from the body. Pictured below. This is great for functional strength and carryover to activities such as climbing, gymnastics and olympic weightlifting.
- Supinated (Underhand) Grip where the palms face the body — also known as a chin-up. This works the biceps and chest more than the pronated grip.
- Semi-supinated (Neutral) Grip where the palms face each other. This is a good all-rounder and can be great for when you are starting out, as it can be easier than pronated grip.
What Muscles Do Neutral Grip Pull-Ups Work?
Neutral grip pull-ups work both primary and secondary groups of muscles. Furthermore, when you use a neutral grip for pull-ups, you work the majority of the muscles in the upper body. This includes the latissimus dorsi or lats, the biceps, pectorals, triceps, obliques and many other muscles! Building these muscles is great for everyday strength, plus can help with athletic performance and coordination!
What Are the Benefits of a Close Neutral Grip Pull-Up?
Sometimes, especially for beginners, pronated grip pull-ups can lead to using bad form: people will arch the lower back excessively due to the hands being in front of the body’s centre of mass. Using a close neutral grip for pull-ups tends to feel much more natural as the hands are closer to the body’s centre of mass. It’s also easier on the shoulders, so it’s a great place to start or to work your upper body to its full potential.
Another benefit of using neutral close-grip pull-ups in your strength-building routine is that it offers some variety to your workout. Muscles need variation to keep building strength and growing, so combining neutral grip pull-ups with pronated or supinated pull-ups too could be the ideal way to keep things varied!
How To Do Neutral Grip Pull-Ups Correctly
It’s great to learn how these exercises work, but without the proper form, they will not help and could even cause some serious damage. As experts in the strength-building industry, we know good form like the back of our hands. Here’s how to do a proper neutral grip pull-up:
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grab the parallel pull-up bars so that your palms are facing each other. Hang freely with your arms extended to start.
- Brace your core and keep your head straight, then pull yourself upwards by bending at the elbows but keeping them tucked into the sides of the body.
- Pull up until your chin is just higher than the bars, then lower back to the starting position in control.
- Breathe out at the top and breathe in at the bottom.
Thing to Avoid When Doing a Neutral Grip Pull-Up
If you have followed our step-by-step guide to close neutral pull-ups above, then you should have no problems, but if you want to deepen your understanding of neutral grip pull-ups a little further, here are some things to avoid when doing a neutral grip pull-up:
- Avoid leaving pull-ups to the end of your workout as your strength will be limited.
- Avoid losing form as this can ruin the effectiveness of your workout and cause potential damage. Keep the elbows tucked into your sides, don’t let them ‘chicken wing’ outwards.
- Avoid overdoing it! We recommend a 5×5 method when it comes to pull-ups, so 5 sets of 5 reps. (Try this with all of the big 5 lifts for a full-body workout!)
If you’re still not confident in your neutral grip pull-ups and are looking for some extra support to build strength, why not Book an Expert Strength Building Class at Strength Ambassadors?
At Strength Ambassadors, we pride ourselves on our expert knowledge of how to build strength. With a range of services available, from powerlifting to strength-building, there’s something for anyone — at any level — that wants to level up their workouts with strength training. Contact us today for more information.