Build Your Upper Body With Close-Grip Pull-Ups

build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups
build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups

Build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups.

If one of your fitness goals is to build an amazing upper body or physique and avoid pull-ups, you should rethink and change your workout routine.

One of the most popular compound exercises that helps to target important and multiple muscle groups at a go, is pull-ups. A pull-up is a strength training exercise for your upper body. These muscle groups include the shoulders, triceps, rhomboids, back, biceps, etc.

For any exercise to be regarded as important in bodybuilding, it should be able to target the above muscle groups- and pull-ups are just the perfect exercise.

Just like the chin-up exercise, Pull-ups are versatile. You do not have to worry about workout location (gym or home) or equipment required. After becoming a pro in the regular pull-up exercise, you can advance to other complex pull-ups variations to achieve better results.

Versions of the pull-up exercise

There are two versions of pull-up exercise: wide-grip pull-ups and close-grip pull-ups. The difference between these two versions is that for wide-grip, your hands are more than shoulder-width apart.

And with close-grip pull-ups, your hands are close to each other which affects the shoulder joints movement while performing the exercise. This version of pull-ups makes it easier to recruit various muscles including your chest and biceps. As a result, you can complete more repetitions.

Nevertheless, the main target of both the wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups is the latissimus dorsi, commonly known as the lats. The latissimus dorsi found on the back of your body flows along the side of your torso down to your spine.

If your hands are closer together, your outer lats will feel the severe impact and become stronger.

And because of this impact, close-grip pull-ups are regarded as one of the best ways to work your lats.

The close-grip pull-up helps to target and work intrinsic muscles of the forearm, the hands, and the upper arm which are directly responsible for supporting the pull.

Also, the upper back muscles and deltoids are not left out as they work together to maintain the pull.

While pulling, the humerus bone is extended and activates the latissimi dorsi, trapezius muscles, pectoral muscles, and even teres major.

build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups
build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups

Building your upper body with close-grip pulls-up is necessary if you want a stronger and bigger upper body.

This article seeks to disclose to you the important and greatest targets of the close-grip pulls-up, including their anatomy.

What muscles do close-grip pull-ups work

The Lats

The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in the upper back. They connect the vertebrae in the thorax and the lumbar region down to the humerus bone located in the upper arm.

The lats help you perform pull-ups and other exercises like swimming and even breathing. The lats also work together with the upper arm muscles for extension, adduction, and medial rotation of the arm at the glenohumeral bone.

While performing the close-grip pull-ups, the latissimus dorsi ensures that the arm is brought towards the center of the body(adduction).

During the exercise, the upper fibers of the lats become actively maximized when both hands are extended towards the axilla from their original starting position which is just above the shoulders.

The trapezius

The “traps” as they are commonly called are located on the neck down to both shoulders. The upper fibers of the trapezius of the upper back connect the neck, shoulders, back regions and form a V-shape pattern that runs to meet the mid-thoracic spine.

And the middle fibers of the trapezius are located on the upper thoracic vertebrae and run down to the mid-thoracic spine.

The upper fibers of the trapezius help in the elevation of your shoulders during the pull-up exercise while the mid fibers of the trapezius help in pulling the spine of the scapula towards the direction of the vertebrae.

The pecs

The pecs are also known as the pectoralis major take up all of your upper chest muscles. The pec muscles also play a role in working your upper back muscles just as the lats do.

The clavicular head and sternal costal of the pecs major are responsible for adduction, transverse flexion, and medial rotation of the upper arm. to work your pectoralis major, then, build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups.

While beginning the close-grip pull-up exercise, the pectoralis major becomes activated to adduct the humerus.

Benefits of the close-grip pull-up exercise

The close-grip pull-up exercise for beginners or advanced delivers numerous benefits. The benefits of the pull-up exercise include:

  1. Strengthens the arm and shoulder muscles.
  2. Improves grip strength especially if you are a weight lifter. People who engage in sports activities like rock climbing, bowling, tennis, and golf will benefit greatly from doing the pull-up.
  3. Challenges your muscles which will help to improve general fitness level.
  4. Improving physical health. The risk of illnesses such as back pain, arthritis, visceral fat, and even type 2 diabetes will be reduced after performing a challenging exercise like the close-grip pull-up.
  5. Improves and strengthens back muscles like the lats, trapezius, thoracic erector spinae, and the pectoralis major.
  6. The close-grip pull-up is a versatile exercise that saves time, it is easy on the joints, benefits your body quickly, and also requires minimal equipment.

How to Perform the Close-Grip Pull-Up Exercise?

build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups
build your upper body with close-grip pull-ups
  • Step on a box directly in front of you so you can easily grab the pull-up bar. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart when the bar is held firmly. The palms should be placed in a direction away from your face.
  • Start by pulling yourself up by applying weight to your body.  Your elbow should be flexed and your arms should be extended till the bar is close to your upper chest.
  • Your body should be as high as possible. Once you get to the peak position, gradually, lower your body back to its original starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise.


The close-grip pull-up is a version of the pull-up exercise that offers great stability and support while gripping the bar. This version reduces the risk of injury, activates major upper body muscles like the latissimi dorsi, the pectoralis major, the trapezius, etc.

If you want to build your upper body with pull-ups, the close-grip is one the best version.