What muscles work when pulling up in various techniques on a horizontal bar or horizontal bar

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Pulling up means lifting your own body by bending your arms, counteracting the force of gravity. Exercises are performed on the horizontal bar, which is considered a universal simulator that works out a large number of muscles. Knowing what the exercise is called is one thing, but it’s more important to know which muscles work when pulling up on the horizontal bar, how to pull yourself up correctly using different types of grips: the load on different muscle groups is regulated, so you can quickly make the body bold and beautiful.

What is pullup

This is one of the best universal exercises that can build muscle, increase body endurance, improve health. During this exercise, a person grabs the horizontal bar and hangs on straight arms, after which, bending his elbows, raises his body up until his arms are bent completely at the elbows (the chin should go above the crossbar, and the bar itself should be at shoulder level). At the same time, all the spinal and brachial muscles are fully engaged when pulling up and develop harmoniously.

Such movements are natural for man; he is created with this skill. Their life depended on the strength of the back and arms of primitive hunters, the ability to lift their body and throw over an obstacle. Now this exercise is the safest from the point of view of natural biomechanics, since it does not injure the spine, but rather stretches it, strengthens cartilage and stimulates the production of synovial fluid in intervertebral capsules. With systematic training using various types of grip, the muscle corset is strengthened..

Per head

Athletes recommend using a pull-up for the head along with traditional methods for pumping the back. It is much more difficult to pull up behind the head, as more muscles are involved in the process:

  • the widest;
  • trapezoidal;
  • rhomboid;
  • round dorsal;
  • neck muscles
  • biceps
  • back deltas;
  • brachialis.

Typically, a wide grip on the head is used. This method works great latitudinal and upper back. You can use a narrow and medium grip, but there are opinions that they are ineffective for the development of the back. In addition, you need to follow the sensations – these types of training are traumatic. If you don’t feel any discomfort, then continue the classes, taking into account that people with an injured neck and injuries of the shoulder girdle cannot be pulled up behind the head with any grip..

A man performs a pull-up with a bar behind his head

To chest

One of the effective exercises for developing the back relief is pulling on the horizontal bar to the chest. In this exercise, two anatomically convenient movements for the back are made: bringing the elbow joint to the body with the elbows retracting back and bringing the shoulder blades down. Thanks to these movements, all the muscle groups of the back are involved, which affects the rapid development of strength characteristics and appearance. Activated:

  • the widest;
  • rhomboid;
  • trapeze
  • round big and small;
  • front and rear gear;
  • biceps
  • forearm
  • press.

Introduction to the work of all these groups simultaneously leads the body to extreme stress, to which the latter responds with adaptation, which is expressed by the rapid growth of muscle mass and an increase in strength. When pulling to the chest, the work of muscles is controlled to exclude jerking and inertial movement when performing the traditional rise to the chin. The main thing in this exercise is the execution technique..

What muscles are involved in pulling up on the horizontal bar

To perform this complex exercise, several muscle groups are included in the work at a time, and movement occurs in the shoulder and elbow joints. The work of muscles when pulling up on the horizontal bar begins with the activation of the hands, fingers, forearms to make a reliable grip on the crossbar. After that, paired large shoulder, dorsal, and shoulder girdles are included in the work.

A man pulls himself up on a horizontal bar

Back muscles

  • An important role in physical development is played by pull-ups on the latissimus dorsi muscles. They are responsible for the ability to rotate the arms in the shoulder joints to the center and in the body, and bring the hands in motion behind the back, back and to the center of the body. Athletes called them “wings”.
  • The next muscle group is the trapezium or trapezius muscle. They are located at the base of the skull, stretching down to the middle of the back and to the sides diagonally to the shoulder joints from the thoracic spine. Trapeziums move the shoulder blades, support the arms. Well-pumped trapezius muscles form on the back a beautiful pattern in the form of an inverted Christmas tree.
  • Deltas are responsible for the beauty, strength and contour of the shoulders. They consist of anterior middle (lateral), posterior bundle. Exercises on the horizontal bar develop only the back beams, the rest are not fundamentally affected, but they have a strengthening effect.

Abdominal muscles

The main group of muscles of the abdominal wall is the press, these are the squares desired by everyone on the abdomen, and in addition, the oblique, transverse and straightening torso muscles. This muscle group is functionally important for the human body and is responsible for movement, stabilization during exercise, maintaining posture in a standing and sitting position. Strong abdominal muscles with pull-ups are a reliable foundation for the development of the body and a guarantee of successful completion of exercises on the crossbar.

Arm muscles

As effectively as the dorsal muscle groups, pull-ups are applied to the muscles of the arms. The forearm consists of flexors / extensors of the fingers, brachioradial for bending the arms at the elbows, pronators for turning the palms down, arch support (turning the palms up). These muscles help to make a reliable grip on the bar with the hands. Biceps are auxiliary, due to which there is a rotational movement of the forearms and flexion at the elbows.

Pumped up man

What muscle groups work when lifting

Depending on what type and with what grip it is practiced, different muscle groups work. In general, the following muscle groups are activated when pulling up:

  • dorsal;
  • thoracic;
  • humeral;
  • arm muscles.

However, it is not enough to know about the muscle groups involved in the exercise. If the execution technique is incorrect, then training will not only not be beneficial, but will become dangerous:

  • According to observations, beginners, when performing the exercise, throw their head back, lift their chin, reach for the crossbar, tugging their legs, as if trying to climb an invisible ladder. Many more amateur athletes instinctively toss the body on inspiration, while lowering their shoulders. You can’t do this categorically, otherwise you can damage the cervical vertebrae and earn an intervertebral hernia.
  • It is necessary to monitor breathing. Before going up, take a deep breath, hold your breath and rise, exhaling the air above. This will facilitate the work of the broadest, and they themselves will push your body up. In addition, holding your breath will help keep the small back muscles intact.

Direct grip

In the traditional way, they are tightened even during physical education classes in schools, without thinking about which muscles work when pulling up with a direct grip. Only after a while with regular training, reliefs on the body become noticeable. A direct grip on the horizontal bar is the fixation of the hands on the bar with the palms away from you. This exercise works on the muscles on the back, forearm flexors, biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles.

Reverse pull-ups

Exercises that use reverse grip on the horizontal bar are easier to perform. Beginners are easier to learn this type of exercise, because their shoulders and back are not sufficiently developed, and their arms (biceps) are stronger. Therefore, a reverse grip is recommended, in which the biceps mainly work. Gradually, in this exercise, you can pump up the broad spinal muscles. For the correct exercise, you need to turn your palms towards yourself and grab the crossbar, shoulders slightly bent back.

A man performs reverse pull-ups on loops

Parallel grip

Pulling up with a parallel grip or, in another way, neutral, when one palm is turned toward itself, the other from itself, are called upon to develop the lower sections of the latissimus muscles. To do this, during the execution, the amplitude of movements should be short, and touching the crossbar should occur with the breast. If with a narrow grip, do the maximum amplitude and touch the crossbar with the chin, then it’s not the widest ones that work, but the biceps. Parallel grip is used as a final exercise after working out the widest.

Types of pull-ups for different muscle groups

There are many types of pull-ups, where the emphasis is on specific muscle groups. From the width of the grip of the crossbar, the method of setting the arms, the vector and the amplitude of the movements it depends which muscles work on the horizontal bar to a greater extent. In fact, all species are divided according to the following criteria:

  1. Grip width. A narrow grip if the athlete’s hands are fixed on the crossbar of the shoulders already. Medium grip – arms are shoulder width or slightly wider. Wide grip – the distance between the hands is much greater than the width of the shoulders.
  2. Grasp method – forward and reverse.
  3. Upper body position – pulling to the chin, to the chest, behind the head.

The methods described above are basic, the pull-up technique of different types varies only slightly. The main thing is to train hard on the horizontal bar, learn how to breathe correctly when doing the exercise, then your muscles will quickly get stronger and you can give your body more heavy loads: lifting, flipping, rolling, dead, going two or one, with cotton and other elements.

Wide grip

If you pull yourself with a direct wide grip, then you can successfully swing the trapezoid, the widest (upper part), round. When pulling up the head with a wide grip, the trapezium, the widest (lower part) and round paired ones work. Wide grip pull-up technique:

  1. Make a wide, direct grip on the bar.
  2. When bending the arms, it is necessary to ensure that the forearms form a right angle with the horizontal bar and the shoulders are held parallel to it, with the thumb to be next to the palm, and not wrap the ring around the horizontal bar.
  3. Raise the body with the help of the information of the shoulder blades until the chest is touching the bar.

A man performs a pull with a wide grip to the chest

Narrow grip

When pulling in a straight narrow grip method, brachialis, lower back (latissimus), dentate anterior muscles are pumped. The technique of tightening tight grip:

  1. Direct grip on the crossbar.
  2. Palms practically touch each other
  3. Hang and bend your back slightly.
  4. Keep your legs crossed so as not to sway or burden the exercise..
  5. Bending your arms, trying to reach the crossbar with your chin.
  6. Start a negative (reverse) movement. Slow down without jerking smoothly, fully extending your arms.

With the reverse narrow grip, emphasis is placed on other muscle groups – the lower latissimus and biceps. With reverse pull-ups, the athlete must touch the lower chest to the crossbar. Technique of execution:

  1. Re-capture of the crossbar – palm to yourself, thumb closes the horizontal bar in the ring.
  2. The lifting of the body is carried out with the help of the shoulder blades – you need to feel how the shoulder blades work when mixing, and try to reach with your chest to the top of the horizontal bar.
  3. Slow return to starting position.

Medium grip

Classical mid-grip exercises pump shoulders, forearm flexors, triceps, biceps, and back. A neutral grip pull-up is performed similarly to the direct grip technique described above, but the arms are shoulder width apart. Touching the crossbar occurs with the upper part of the chest, below the smooth smooth extension of the arms. With the classic reverse grip, the widest biceps are pumped.

A man pulls himself up on a horizontal bar

What muscles work when pulling on the uneven bars

Do not confuse push-ups and pull-ups on the uneven bars – this is not the same thing. When pulling up on the bars with your hands, the bars are grabbed, the legs are above the head: they are brought to the chest (baby’s posture) or are straightened vertically upwards, the back is parallel to the floor. It turns out that you will perform pull-ups to the stomach. Trained athletes can do weighted approaches, which will serve as a backpack with a load. When working on the bars, the main load falls on the biceps. Some training is received by the deltas, the widest and the press to keep the legs above the head.

Video about pull-ups on the horizontal bar

What to do if you can’t pull up? No matter how many repetitions you do, everything is in vain, this exercise does not lend itself … But you want to look disappointed in your own photo and not hit the face in front of friends who have already submitted to the horizontal bar! Your training program will help you in compliance with the execution technique, which can be found in the following videos.


The correct pull-up technique on the horizontal bar

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