Wide grip pull-ups - swing the back

Pull-ups are often used as a way to diversify the usual pull-ups on the horizontal bar and further work out the back. Of course, to include this exercise in the training program is only if you have already mastered the classic version and are ready for further complication and experimentation.

It is also important to consider that if the technique is not followed (especially if there are contraindications), the exercise can be traumatic. But first things first.

What muscles work

Pull-ups work over the entire upper back (however, like the usual pull-ups on the horizontal bar), namely:

  • the broadest back muscles ;
  • rhomboid muscles;
  • large circular muscle.

Some athletes say that pulling up the head is a good load on the round muscle of the back, which in other conditions is not so easy to work out. Additionally, pectoral muscles, biceps, shoulders are included in the work.

Wide grip pull-ups - swing the back

Wide or narrow grip?

By default, we mean pull-ups wide grip on the head. In general, there is an opinion that the wider the grip, the higher the effectiveness of the exercise. This is only partially true.

It is important to maintain balance, since an excessively wide grip can lead to injury to the shoulder joints.

Choose the optimal grip width carefully. The main indicator is a feeling of tension in the working muscles and the absence of discomfort, a feeling of "pinching" of the shoulders or back.

Narrowing the grip, as a rule, leads to a shift in the emphasis of the load from the upper latissimus dorsi to the lower, and also involves the pectoral muscles and arms. In other words, the back is less loaded, so most often a narrow grip when performing this type of pull-ups is not recommended because of its specificity and increased risk of injury (for example, stretching).

Use tight grip only if you have extensive experience in horizontal bar training and individual training goals.

Proper execution technique

Pulling the head is performed as follows:

  1. Starting position - hanging with a wide grip on the crossbar. The selection of the optimal grip width was mentioned above. Initially, you can try the grip a little more than the width of the shoulders (about 20 centimeters). Hang on the horizontal bar with relaxed straight arms so that only the forearms remain tense, take a deep breath.

  2. While exhaling, gently pull yourself up, straining the widest ones, so that the middle of the head is at the highest point at the level of the crossbar. At the same time, the elbows are not pressed against the body so as not to reduce the amplitude of contraction and not to reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
  3. Just as smoothly, while breathing in, lower yourself to the starting position. Do the right number of reps.

Some athletes recommend lingering at the top point, taking an additional breath, and then exhaling to lower to their original position.

But more often pull-ups on the horizontal bar still suggest a more common option - inhale in the starting position, exhale during the ascent, inhale when we go down (without interrupting breathing).

The number of repetitions depends on your training. Start optimally with 2 sets of 5-6 reps, gradually increasing their number.


The presence of injuries of the cervical spine or shoulder girdle is one hundred percent reason to refuse to perform the exercise, as these areas receive a serious load.

Also recall that the widest grip is not an end in itself.

Moreover, this point is directly related to the likelihood of injury. As mentioned above, initially try to grip a little wider than the shoulders, then follow your own feelings and adjust if necessary.

What else is important to consider?

When you are pulling your head on the horizontal bar, be careful not to allow excessive “hunching”. At the top point, there is a desire to unload the widest and hunch, loosening the load. Keep your head as straight as possible, the shoulder blades are brought together.

Try to lower yourself to the starting position smoothly and not to throw the body down sharply. Get down, controlling movement and feeling the work of muscles. Thus, in addition to increasing the effectiveness of the exercise, you will protect yourself from injuries to the shoulder joints.

It is important to observe the full range of motion. Lower yourself to the end when the arms are straight, rise on the horizontal bar to the top point until the crossbar is at the back of the head.

Take your hands just like the “fasteners” on which you hold on the horizontal bar, do not include biceps in our work, because our goal is to work out the back.

As a result, we can say that pulling up the head is a very specific exercise, which makes sense to include athletes who are not the first time on the horizontal bar and have certain experience. It is advisable for beginners to first master the technique of classical pull-ups.



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