Why Do Pull-ups Make You Stronger?

How To Get Stronger At Pull-Ups?

Are you looking to get stronger fast? Are you at a stand still with your gains? Do you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall and need to change things up with your workouts? Let me show you why do pull-ups make you stronger? and are hands down one of the best exercises to build upper body strength. Whether you’re a cyclist, fitness model, bodybuilder. Pull-ups will give you the results that you’re after.

Let’s talk about three important factors to consider when it comes to this exercise.

Pull-ups Target Multiple Muscle Groups to Get You Strong

Pull-ups give you solid gains in strength because they don’t just target one or two muscle groups, they target multiple ones. Pull-ups target the upper and middle back muscles, neck, biceps, forearms, abdominals, and hands. Not to mention the muscles that you’re indirectly working as well, which just adds to their greatness. Talk about an all around exercise!

You’re hitting six different muscle groups with just one exercise, that’s reason enough to include them in your training!

Unlike lat pulldowns and machine-type pulldowns, pull-ups give your body a free range of motion. Why is this important you might ask? Lat pulldowns force you to sit down in a machine, restricting your range of motion.

Pull-ups allow your body to move freely, making you use multiple muscle groups and stabilizer muscles. The more muscle groups you can target in an exercise, the stronger you’ll become

By targeting multiple muscle groups your muscles are forced to work together. Every muscle fiber, ligament, tendon, and bone in your body has to work together – and work hard - in order to achieve that one single pull-up. The harder your body has to work, the stronger it will grow. Seems like common sense right?

Bodybuilding.com explains why there’s no question that the pull-up builds overall pound-for-pound strength better than the pulldown. Pulldowns are great for beginners and heavy-set individuals, but pull-ups will keep you honest about real-world functional strength. No matter your size, the pull-up provides an objective assessment of your strength-to-weight ratio.

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Once you start including pull-ups in your workouts - and do them right - you’ll see the gains that you’re looking for in no time.

Change Up Your Pull-up Hand Grip to Increase Strength

As you may know, there are multiple hand grips that you can use when doing pull-ups. Palms facing inwards, wide-grip, close-grip, underhand grip, etc., you get the picture. By using these different variations you’ll be able to focus more on certain muscle groups while still getting the same benefits of the standard pull-up.

Change Up Your Pull-up Hand Grip to Increase Strength

To make sure we’re on the same page, the standard pull-up is performed by placing your hands shoulder-width apart, your palms facing forward, and raising your body up by pulling yourself towards a horizontal bar fixed above your head. Moving on now, let’s talk about these different hand grips.

Wide-grip pull-ups

This version of the pull-up is performed with your hands placed outside of your shoulder-width and your palms facing forward (also known as “overhand-grip”). This focuses more on working your latissimus dorsi muscles.

Close-grip pull-ups

This variation can be performed with either your palms facing towards you (also known as “underhand-grip”) or forward. Keep in mind, there are many different styles of straight and angled bars out there, so take advantage of this and always add variety into your workouts.

Inward-grip pull-ups

This version of the pull up is performed with your palms facing each other. With this grip you’re focusing more specifically on your forearms, biceps, and back muscles as well.

One-arm pull-ups

As you can imagine, this one’s pretty self-explanatory and the name says it all. Using an underhand grip, perform a pull up with just one arm while using your free hand to assist you.

You’ll want to take advantage of every grip out there in order to continue growing stronger and see the awesome results that you’re after.

Keep Getting Stronger By Using Pull-up Variations In Your Workouts

Above all, adding pull-ups to your training is critical to getting stronger, but don’t forget to change things up. If you don’t, you may find yourself plateauing in the near future – hitting a brick wall – and that’s definitely not what you want.

Keep your workouts fresh and new, always changing things up with different variations and techniques. Using different hand grips does the trick. Sure, the standard pull-up is great and all, but if you want to continue seeing those awesome results, you’ve got to mix things up a bit.

T-nation.com notes that the pull-up and its variations are awesome for building strength and developing the upper and mid back, lats, biceps, and forearms. It’s great for the lifter wanting improved aesthetics, and it carries over into lifts such as the deadlift, bent-over row, Olympic lifts, and even the bench press.

Your muscles do their best to adapt to new things that you throw at them. So if you only do close-grip pull-ups it makes sense that you’re going to plateau. Fight this head on. Here’s an example workout to get you started.

  • Week 1: Inward-grip pull-ups: 4 sets x (15-20 reps).
  • Week 2: Wide-grip pull-ups: 4 sets x (8 – 12 reps).
  • Week 3: Inward-grip pull-ups: 4 sets x (10-13 reps)

I’m sure you noticed what happened there. We’re doing inward-grip pull-ups in Week 3 as well, but why? This takes us into another important factor that can add variety to your training.

Rep Range

In the third week, we find ourselves doing four sets of inward-grip pull-ups with a rep range of 10-13 reps. Yes, this is the same exercise that we did in Week 1, but keep in mind that we changed the rep range and are throwing something new at our muscles

That being said, you can also change how many sets you do. Do you see the trend that we’ve got going here? Change is good!

Extra tip - If your bodyweight isn’t enough, add what is called a “dip belt” into the mix. This allows you to add additional weight to your body and challenges your muscles even more.

Altering the rep range allows you to change the intensity of your workouts. A higher rep range challenges your endurance while a lower one challenges your strength and explosiveness.

Any rep range that you choose will benefit you, just remember to always add some variety in there. If you keep in mind that no two workouts should be the same, you’ll be on the right track to getting freaky strong in no time.

Why Do Pull-Ups Make You Stronger In Review

So what have we learned from all of this? Pull-ups make you stronger if you consistently change up your workouts. Try all kinds of different hand grip variations, rep ranges, change your rest times in between sets, alter an exercise’s range of motion (safely of course), and don’t stop being creative. Without variety that brick wall that we mentioned earlier is what you’ll be running into.

Whether you’re a marathon runner, rock climber, or just trying to get back in shape, pull-ups are the king of strength building exercises. Don’t forget to add them to your workout routine! If you enjoyed reading this article feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments section and share this with your friends.

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