T Nation

Wide Grip Pullups / Lat Width?

I was browsing through some pullup articles on dragondoor.com and I found something that kind of surprised me:

“Worthless techniques 1) Wide grip pullups and 2) Pullups behind the neck. For some reason, boobybuilders think that a very wide grip makes for very wide lats! Ha! This is bogus for a few reasons, the first being the greatly reduced range of motion, the second being the greatly reduced leverage, and the third being the extreme stress on your rotator cuffs. Optimal leverage is extremely important in strength training.”

Source:
www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/7/

I thought wider hand position did help with wider lats (although I never knew why).

So do wide-grip pullups have any place at all? The article implies that: 1) they don’t give you wider lats, 2) they aren’t good for pullup strength training. Thus neither someone more focused on size nor someone more focused on strength should use them.

Can you all help clear this up?

Thanks.

You can do more weight/reps with shoulder-width pullups. More weight=stronger lats, stronger lats=bigger lats. Also, genetics have something to do with it.

Those are pretty accurate claims. A good amount of ever increasing load and appropriate volume of rows and pull ups will give you all the back you can have, provided enough rest, nutrition, frequency, etc.

I guess my question is really: Should I stop doing wide-grip pullups?

I try to do weighted and unweighted pullups, using a variety of grips. Should I stop doing the wide-grip variations? Are they just a waste of time? Can anyone give me a good reason to continue doing wide-grip pullups?

Does anyone still incorporate them into their training? And how have they helped you?

Thanks again.

Who uses behind the neck pull ups for lat width?? I was under the impression behind the neck pull ups were for the middle of the upper back.

“the second being the greatly reduced leverage…Optimal leverage is extremely important in strength training.”

WTF?

Anyways, I’ve never heard anyone provide a good reason for either one being better than the other, although his rotator cuff claim may hold water; I don’t know, I’ve never had rotator cuff pain from pullups.

And his claim of reduced range of motion is stupid, by the same logic we should never do board presses or pin presses.

The best thing about wide grip pull-ups is that they are harder than regular pull-ups, so if you can get good at them then regular pull-ups should be easy (similar in idea to getting good at a really wide bench makes a normal bench grip feel better). However, you are in a poor mechanical position when you do a really wide grip and it does put more stress on the rotator cuff and the wrist.

Personally I choose not to do wide pull-ups, but if you want to do continue to do them I would do them every once in a while. I also think they are a better choice for lighter people, since when you are heavy the minimum weight you are lifting is your bodyweight, that might be too much stress for that position.

Wide and behind-the-neck pullups usually stress the shoulders and ligaments more than the lats you’re trying to widen. Wide pull-ups is something you can do seldomly and after thouroughly warming up the lats to make sure they receive the load. They can also be used for high-rep partials - my favorite way to do them. It’s a toss-up but gnerally there are enough other pull-up and chin-up variations to develop your back.

When I do a chin-up…I dont get much of a pump. When I do pull-ups (not really wide…but some width)…I ALWAYS get a pump…so I’ve been doing a lot of pull-ups lately. I’d still do them to add variety.

wide grip is extremely bad on your shoulder health

[quote]windmill85 wrote:
wide grip is extremely bad on your shoulder health[/quote]

Why?

For those who have said it poorly effects your shoulder health… why?

[quote]Brain Monster wrote:
Who uses behind the neck pull ups for lat width?? I was under the impression behind the neck pull ups were for the middle of the upper back.[/quote]

Uh, they’re probably the worst choice other than single leg leg press to develop the rhomboids.

-Dan

[quote]buffalokilla wrote:
windmill85 wrote:
wide grip is extremely bad on your shoulder health

Why?

For those who have said it poorly effects your shoulder health… why?[/quote]

BTN pullups/downs and presses lock your shoulder into a position where the AC and rotator cuff are very weak. Thus, easy to injure yourself.

For wide-grip pullups, it is primarily the angle you tend to pull at. If your hands are shoulder-width or so, your arms are generally a bit forward of your midline. Really wide grips tend to make you flare out to the side, thus putting your shoulders in a position similar to the one used for BTN movements.

Still, so long as you keep an arch, wide grip pullups should not bother your shoulders at all.

Well, when I do wide grip pull ups, my lats hurt. When I do shoulder width pullups, my arms seem to do a little more of the work. So, I do chinups for arms, and wide grip pull ups for lats.

Dragon door .com? sounds kinda like a hentai porn site, or an asian carpentry club. Let me put it this way. Arnold did 50 wide grip pullups every workout for a while for lat width. I don’t know what bruce lee did, but I think arnold had a slighter wider lat width.

Have u seen the guy who wrote that article and what kind of pullup strength he has? If you can do more than him I will listen to you. But since you probably can’t why question what he says? Just because a position is harder doesn’t mean it’s better in this case you just have reduced leverage he said nothing about ROM.

[quote]daven wrote:
thus putting your shoulders in a position similar to the one used for BTN movements.

Still, so long as you keep an arch, wide grip pullups should not bother your shoulders at all. [/quote]

Yeah, that’s pretty much what I was getting at. If your shoulders aren’t already messed up, they shouldn’t bother you at all.

[quote]Makingains wrote:
Have u seen the guy who wrote that article and what kind of pullup strength he has? If you can do more than him I will listen to you. But since you probably can’t why question what he says? [/quote]

Candidate for stupidest post of the year?

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Makingains wrote:
Have u seen the guy who wrote that article and what kind of pullup strength he has? If you can do more than him I will listen to you. But since you probably can’t why question what he says?

Candidate for stupidest post of the year?[/quote]

There’s some pretty stiff competition for that. I dunno if this is even in the running. Good find though.

I throw them in every now for a couple reps just for shits and giggles…but they’ve never done much for me.

for me the best exercise for lat width is weighted pullups, with a couple second dead hang at the end of every rep…

Using a wide grip leads to a shorter range of motion of the lats. Anyway, I prefer to do pullups on rings. More stabilizing muscles are involved and you can easily change your hand position, even during the exercise.