How To Do Close Grip Pullups

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How To Do Close Grip Pullups

Lats can be a hard muscle group to target, with most people resorting to push ups, various sit ups, and of course, simple pull ups and chin ups. A lot of people don’t know there are variations on pull ups that can target these muscles better, though you really shouldn’t attempt these until you can lift at least one third more than your own body weight. Exercises like these are cliched as “weakling tests”, and that’s just not accurate. 

The close grip pull up is a very effective variation on classic pull ups that can provide a more intense, but safe, lat work out in less time than a traditional pull up routine. However, it’s more difficult to pull off by way of strain on the body. 

What You Need 

You need a pull up stand with a pronated grip, a mat in case you fall, and to reduce impact when you “land”, and a good set of gloves for safer, firmer grip. 

Close Grip Pullups Muscles Worked

Latissimus dorsi muscle animation


  • Grasp the pull bar, with your hands about shoulder width apart. 
  • Be sure to take a deep breath first, and then squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs. Lifting with the shoulders and arms, pull your chin up and toward the bar. 
  • Hold this position for a second, depressing your shoulder blades as you do. 
  • Lower yourself, though not completely to the ground (cross your legs at the ankles if this helps). 
  • Repeat, being sure that when you lower yourself, it’s under your muscle power and not gravity.


This is a beginner exercise, but only if you’ve built up enough muscle mass to lift your body weight sufficiently. Don’t overdo it. When your grip feels numb or strained, stop. Consult your doctor if you have any arthritic conditions, shoulder or spinal problems. 

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