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    dizzyorange's Avatar
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    narrow vs wide pullups

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    When doing narrow or "regular" width pullups I feel I am using my whole back and arms. But when I do wide grip pullups I only feel like I'm using my arms. I can do about 8 regular width ones and only 2 or 3 wide grip pullups. Is this normal and is there any benefit to using a wide grip?

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    Ayla2010's Avatar
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    I don't know the reason for it, but when I was doing CrossFit, we only ever did "regular" width pull ups.

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    It is mechanics.
    It is always a good idea to mix it up. Wide, narrow, pullups, chinups, uneven....all hit the muscles slightly different.
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    I start out with a set of wide pull-ups, then a set of narrow pull-ups, then I use the parallels to do a set. I max out each set (usually around 12) and then if I can't get at least 8 I get a chair and do assisted. This gives me some pretty good variation.

    Good luck!

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    If you've always done "regular" pull-ups that is was your body is conditioned to. I try to switch my grip every set, not only does it work diff muscles but allows you to perform more reps

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    When doing narrow or "regular" width pullups I feel I am using my whole back and arms. But when I do wide grip pullups I only feel like I'm using my arms. I can do about 8 regular width ones and only 2 or 3 wide grip pullups. Is this normal and is there any benefit to using a wide grip?
    I also can do fewer wide-grip pull/chin-ups. I'm pretty sure it's the mechanical resistance of the bones moving against each other, like a wire frame being twisted the wrong way. Supposed to be harder on the joints, too, but I've never entirely avoided them.
    Last edited by Knifegill; 01-15-2013 at 10:58 PM.


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    sandstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizzyorange View Post
    When doing narrow or "regular" width pullups I feel I am using my whole back and arms. But when I do wide grip pullups I only feel like I'm using my arms. I can do about 8 regular width ones and only 2 or 3 wide grip pullups. Is this normal and is there any benefit to using a wide grip?
    I'd be a bit careful with them. if you are not feeling a good Lat activation you have probably lost shoulder pack, that's also why your numbers are significantly lower. Wide grip will also make it harder for the hands to supinate as you pull up which might cause some elbow strain.

    Personally I don't really see any major benefit from using a wide grip. In reality if I ever pull myself over a wall or into a tree I'll use a regular width grip. If i want to climb hand over hand its a close grip (hands together palms toward the face). If you want to try them occasionally thats Ok but if you are currently doing a max 8 with a regular grip you probably can still reap plenty of benefit from those while strengthening the arms, back and shoulders for the future.

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    It is always a good idea to mix it up. Wide, narrow, pullups, chinups, uneven....all hit the muscles slightly different.

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    The only real-world application I can see from wide-grip pullups is rock climbing, where you have to reach for your next handhold. I'm not a rock climber, but wide-grip does work my lats more, I feel. Perhaps I need to see if Bret Contreras did any research into this...

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    I can't even do a regular pullup without a band, BUT when I'm in CrossFit and we do snatches (with the arms wide) I find it MUCH harder than lifting a weight above my head with my arms closer together. What's worse is the instructors tell me to put my hands as far apart as everyone else's, but my ARMS are much shorter LOL, I'm sure that to get my arms at the same angle as everyone else, I'd need to have them at least a little closer together?!

    But anyway, I can totally understand why wide grip pullups are harder than regular grip ones!

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