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Wide Grip or Normal Pullups?


Which is better for lat development and overall back strength, normal or wide-grip pullups? I'm actually more interested in the lat stimulation part. Thanks in advance.


I think it's wide-grip...

but if you're a beginner, I honestly don't think it matters much. In fact, as a beginner I think chin-ups would be best.

I honestly could not tell you why... but I'm going on instinct. =P And experience, I've been doing them as a newbie and I've improved my back tremendously.


It depends on your lat strength relative to your body weight. At first you may not be able to lift your body weight by trying to isolate your lats...they may not be strong enough to lift your bodyweight alone (biceps still play a part but to a lesser degree than they do during shoulder width pullups). Its a similar situation to when you started benching, think if you tried to go wide right away and hit your chest more then your triceps, and starting with really heavy weight right away, it would be hard to do the exercise properly.

I think it also depends on whether when you do a pullup you can keep your arms more in the frontal plane, if they drift really far into the sagittal plane then you probably use a good deal of biceps and you will have a fairly hard time switching straight over to a wide grip. But to answer your original question I think a little wider than shoulder width pullups are best for lat development. Your scapular ROM is near maxed out at that point and there is not much of a need to go wider...


Wide grip for lat emphasis


As far as pullups go, I'm no newbie I can do about 25 straight. I do, however, still have pretty puny lats. I'm just lookin for a better way to hit them.


Some people are arguing that wide grip pull-ups stimulate the lats more because their is less assistance from the biceps. I don't know that more bicep assistance necessarily means less lat activation.

Regardless, the counter arguement is that the narrower the grip, the greater the range of motion. So if we agree that a greater range of motion produces more stimulation, than narrow grip would be the way to go.

Why can't you do both?

25 straight pull-ups is no joke. I was wondering how someone who did that many pull-ups had "puny" lats. Then I saw what you weighed. If you gain some weight your lats will be bigger.


I would only add that you make sure you're doing your pullups with a dead hang and a pause at the bottom (to ensure a good stretch) and not
short-arming them...which you probably are. Not assuming anything, but I've seen alot of people pound out a boatload of pullups and only going down about halfway.


Sorry Doommood...meant to say which you probably "AREN'T" in reference to short-arming your pullups.


I'm not fond of the pressure that wide grip Pull-ups put on the entire shoulder girdle. Through the years I've seen many injuries from those who have chosen wide grip Pull-ups as their primary lat movement.

Granted everyone brings different mechanical advantages and disadvantages to the gym.

However, I'm also not convinced that wide grip Pull-ups builds the lats better than a medium grip.

It might be variety that you need!

Medium grip Pull-ups.

T-Bar Row (A great movement for lat development-highly underrated).

One arm dumbbell rows.

It's hard to imagine not getting the developement that you desire if you are doing three sets of each of the above three times per week.


I agree with ZEB, going super wide makes me uncomfortable. Row, row, row if you want to pound the lats.


alright now there are wide grip pullups, that are wider than shoulder width, and there are wide grip pullups that are double shoulder width, I think the excessively wide pullups may put more stress on the shoulder joint but there is a gray area there where there is more benefit to stimulate the lats than just shoulder width pullups. However, I dont think I wide pullup is necessarily better for lat development, I do think it is better for hitting the upper part of the lat which is not used as much in closer grip pulls. The part of your lat that is in contact with your upper tricep area can definitely benefit, in my opinion from a wider than normal grip. But as the last poster said it is about variety as well. The lats, for me at least seem to become bored with an unchanging routine very quickly, and its hard to get them to contribute if you are stagnant...


Gain some weight. Do sets of 8-10 weighted pullups/chins.


wow talk about micromanagement. people obsess over such small details as type of grip used when chinning.

here's a little tip: rotate your chinning grips when you feel it is appropriate. do one type of chin up on monday, another type on wednesday, and another type on friday .

persoanlly, i probably do 35-50 total reps of chins in a workout 4-6 times per week.


a pronated grip will hit the lats more intensely than a supinated grip. Not sure about the neutral grip. I bet the one arm pull up would be the most effective.


I think wide grip pull-ups may put unnatural stress on the shoulder. After my shoulder recovers, wide-grip pull-ups and behind the neck presses will b forever banished from my workouts. I find that I get just as much of a workout with a parallel grip pull up as with a wide-grip.

Combined with heavy bent rows, and you can't go wrong.