Reverse grip pull-ups

What is the best and universal exercise for the development of almost all the muscles of the body? Push ups? No! Maybe squats? Also no! Pulling back grip? Also no! There is no universal exercise that works through all muscle groups. But the most useful and effective is really the pull-ups of your own body to the vertical crossbar.

How does reverse grip affect the muscles during pull-ups
How does reverse grip affect the muscles during pull-ups

Are there any contraindications?

Before you read on, make sure that you are not part of a group of people who are counter-indicative of pull-ups with a back grip.

  • any curvature of the spine. Kyphosis, scoliosis, lordosis;
  • unevenly developed muscular corset;
  • trauma of the lumbar region;
  • stretching the muscles of the back;
  • osteoporosis;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • postoperative trauma in the back;
  • pregnancy;
  • problems with the muscles of the press;
  • herniated hernia;
  • postoperative trauma in the abdominal cavity;
  • pregnancy.

All contraindications are strict, as in this case the pull of your own body to the crossbar causes irreparable harm to the body and can even become the cause of disability!

In the rest – pull-ups on the bar with a back grip do not have strict contra-indications from the heart or vascular system.

What, why and how?

Why do pullups with a narrow back grip. Firstly, this is the basic exercise, which involves the greatest possible number of joints, and leads to an increase in testosterone, besides this:

  • Pulling on the force stretches the spine, eliminating pinching;
  • Develop the dorsal corset;
  • Are an excellent prevention of curvature of the spine;
  • They can be performed without special equipment;
  • Do not require special training;
  • Work the muscles of the biceps;
  • Develop a static grip;
  • Increase the total muscle mass.

All these factors make it indispensable in:

  • Speed-strength sports;
  • Martial arts;
  • Yoga;
  • Crossfit;
  • Bodybuilding;
  • Powerlifting.

Well, and, perhaps, it is worth noting the fact that among all the exercises that involve the top and bottom of the back, pulling up a narrow grip without weight – the only ones that are completely safe and work on the bicep. Since pulling back grip is a base that works well on the biceps, then which muscles do not work as basic ones, one should also work through isolating ones. For example, after pull-ups it is good to use:

  • Thrust of the vertical block behind the head;
  • Frontal thrust of the horizontal block;
  • Shrings with a bar behind their backs;
  • Concentrated dumbbell lifts on the biceps;
  • Work in the car “rowing”;
  • Work with a crossover on the biceps.

In this case, the benefits of pull-ups will be maximum. And do not forget for weighting. After reaching a certain threshold (for example, 30 pulls in the approach), you can hang on yourself pancakes or chains.

Muscle work during pull-ups
Muscle work during pull-ups

What muscles work?

Pulling on the bar with a back grip is the basic multi-joint exercise, due to which the muscles of the dorsal block swing.

Muscle group Load type
The widest back muscles Active
The biceps muscle flexor Active
Abdominal muscles passive
Lumbar muscles Passive
Rhomboid muscles Active
The bottom of the trapezium (more exercises for the trapezoid ) Active
Muscles of forearm Passive

Debunking myths – a narrow Vs wide grip

There is a myth that pulling up a wide reverse grip is more beneficial to the body than pulling up a narrow grip We will try to understand: is this so? If we consider the mechanics of pull-ups with a back grip, then when working in a wide grip, the amplitude of motion decreases, due to which the latitudinal strain is greater, but not so deeply worked out. In addition, with a wide grip, rhomboid muscles are almost not involved, instead of them, the bottom of the trapezium takes the load on itself. But there is also the main difference – with a fairly wide grip on pull-ups, the angle in the hands becomes unnatural for the elbow joint, which leads to its rapid wear. As for the narrow grip – then when you work:

  • The amplitude of movement is extended, which provides deeper elaboration of the muscles of the back;
  • In the upper phase of the movement, the muscles that move the arm forward (inner bundles of the pectorals) are partially involved;
  • There is no traumatic danger to the elbow joint;
  • The load is evenly distributed between the diamond-shaped and the broadest.
  • The two-headed flexor is used as much as possible.

If we consider pulling up a direct or reverse grip, then the situation is strictly opposite. On the one hand – a straight grip with the correct technique, completely disengages the double-headed flexor arm. This gives a big load on the back muscles – which makes it thicker and wider. The main load rests solely on the latissimus muscles, while the amplitude is somewhat less than in the opposite. Reverse – connects to the movement of additional muscle groups, and increases the joint load. Those. for overall progress, it is much more effective, because the body is in a more stressful situation. As for the development of the muscles of the back – then due to the “eating” of the biceps load, the back is worked out less.

The difference between a narrow and wide grip
The difference between a narrow and wide grip


Pulling up with a back grip is considered to be the simplest and most difficult exercise in sports disciplines. It’s simple – the fact is that many athletes misuse the elbow.

The correct technique of reverse pull-ups:

  1. Hang on the bar.
  2. Hvat should be on the width of the shoulders;
  3. Hands are perpendicular to each other;
  4. The first pull-up is done in a smooth mode;
  5. Should be pulled by elbows and not by wrists;
  6. Tightening is carried out before the chest touches the crossbar;
  7. At the top, stay 1-2 seconds;
  8. Then descend, not bringing your elbows to the maximum extension.

In the presence of additional weighting (in the form of chains), one should monitor breathing (inhalation in the lower phase, exhalation in the upper phase) and behind the position of the body. In particular, due to the displacement of the center of gravity, it is necessary to take into account the angle of ascent, and to force the deflection in the lower back. In the case of work without weight, the loin takes the correct position on its own.


Despite the extremely simple technique, there are a number of mistakes that most athletes allow, because of which pull-ups on the bar with a back grip, lose most of the efficiency.

Mistake # 1 – wrist traction. In this case, the load falls entirely on the biceps, with the back resting. Pulling up turns from a basic to an isolated exercise.

Mistake # 2 – bending feet or changing the position of the body. Many, when they can not pull themselves up – begin to pull the body towards themselves, changing the center of gravity, and drawing the muscles of the press to move. This can not be done, since the lumbar region is at this time in a stretched state, and it is very easy to get stretching, or jamming the ligament.

Mistake number 3 – in no case can not twitch on the bar. For reasons that are described in error number 2

Mistake # 4 – use too wide a grip. In this case, the elbow joint works in an unnatural amplitude, which can result in a dislocation and even a fracture;

Error number 5 – the full extension of the elbows. This is the most common mistake for beginners. It seems to them that in this case they get more full load. However, this is not true. In this case, most of the forces go not to contracting the muscles of the back, to overcome the ligament barrier “30 degrees”.

The main mistake: the performance of pull-ups in an explosive style. It is believed that so much muscle is loaded. This is so, and there is the ability to swing faster, get more pumping and, most importantly, use fast fibers. But at the same time there is a serious risk of spinal injury, because of its stretched state. In particular. Because of this, it is easy to get a pinch of the spinal disc.

The result

Regardless of whether you decide to use pull-ups with a straight or reverse grip, stick to the right technique, or alternate both exercises. Only in this case the load on the back muscles will be distributed evenly. In case you notice that one of the sides of the back does not develop as fast as the second one, compensate for the load by pulling up on one hand, or use one-side pulls to the dumbbell belt

The result of pull-ups with a narrow and wide reverse grip
The result of pull-ups with a narrow and wide reverse grip

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