Which Muscles are Used in Pull Ups

Pull-up Muscles Worked

Different muscles are used and trained as well, because it is a multi joint exercise. Pull ups are performed with different styles and which muscles you want to worked during pull-ups also depends on type of the grip.

With pull-ups you train the back, shoulders, arms and core. Besides, they also help you burn fat and calories. That's why pull ups are very effective exercise for your upper body.

While doing pull-ups your body uses significantly higher energy compared to isolation exercises. Therefore they are ideal for achieving a great body whether you are man or woman.

Also read: 10 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises at Home

Pull-up Muscles Worked

As pull up is compound exercise they target different muscle groups at same time. Following are the list of all muscle groups that are used during pull-ups.

  • Back muscle (latissimus dorsi) - The widest back muscle latissimus dorsi plays an important role which helps with posture and strengthens the mobility of the spine.
  • Trapezius - The trapezius muscle located in upper back and plays an important role while doing pull ups. It is also support the shoulder and arm movements.
  • Rhomboid muscles - They are located under the trapazius muscles, they are effectively targeted while doing pull ups.
  • Deltoids - It plays a major role in stabilizing the shoulder. The more you activate or tense your lats, the more shoulder can be stabilized.
  • Biceps - When done with underhand grip, it target biceps muscle.

Although, there are many secondary muscles used such as forearm. This muscle is responsible for hand rotation or elbow flexion.

Pull up exercise also uses the chest and the core muscles which help to stabilize your whole body.

There are small muscles involves such as fingers. When you hold the pole it not only strengthens in your forearm but also improve your grip strength.

Also read: How to Build Bigger Chest Muscles (pecs) Fast

Different pull up works different muscles

Pull-ups are versatile and can be done in many ways. If you want to target your forearms then you can switch to close grip, wider grip have great impact on your lats.

When done with underhand grip, it trains your biceps better than any other exercise, most importantly when you perform them with narrow grip.

Shoulder width grip also train your overall upper body. It is important that never perform them with too wide grip, because they can increases the chances of injury. Always do them with the grip that you feel comfortable.

You can increase the effectiveness of this exercise; advanced athletes combine the different variations of pull-ups.

How to Train Right Muscles While doing Pull-up

As i said above it's completely depends on your grip variations and form.

  • Hang on a pull-up bar with extended arms. The back is fully stretched, and legs are hanging straight down.
  • While pulling up, breathe out evenly. Pull yourself up until your chest reaches to bar or your chin gets above the bar, in slow and controlled form.
  • Now, lower slowly and breathe in, and make sure don't extend your arm fully.
  • Avoid swinging or momentum while doing pull-up to train right muscles.

Also read: 9 Reasons You Must Do Plank Daily

How many pull-ups should i do a day?

Many people are not sure about how many pull ups they should do to get ripped or improve their upper body strength. However, it is difficult to figure out exact number of pull-ups per day. If you do 3-5 pull ups easily then it is quite good for beginners, but if you want to see good result then 30-50 pull ups a day is enough.

Why pull-ups are harder for women and men

Actually when you do pull ups you pull your whole body, overweight or high fat percentage also increases the pull up difficulty. Women naturally have a higher body fat percentage and less muscle mass than men. But with training you can improve your muscle mass and strength which can help to make pull-up easier. With time and practice everyone gets better at pull-up.

Do pull ups work your biceps?

Yes, in fact they are better than any other isolation exercises. They help you get stronger as well as bigger biceps but, if you really want to target your biceps with pull ups, then you should do them with underhand close grip (chin ups). They not only good for your biceps but also improve your grip and forearm strength.

Things you need to know about pull-up

  • Pull ups are difficult for beginners, as it required more strength and coordination.
  • It takes some time and practice to achieve your first clean pull-up. Practice them regularly with right progression exercises
  • There are many pull-up variations such as archer pull ups, one arm pull up and many more.
  • Make sure you do proper warm up before doing pull-up.
  • Fuel yourself with protein and carbs after doing pull-ups because they help in muscle recovery and improve your performance.


Pull ups are one of the best back exercise that you can do them anywhere and anytime. They are great for your overall upper body development such as back, arms, shoulder and core. So take advantage of this exercise if you really care about your fitness.

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