Which Muscles Are Worked On A Neutral Grip Pull Up Workout?

If you want to chisel your entire upper body, you should try a neutral grip pull up. The article discusses this exercise in detail; giving a list of muscles worked. In addition to that, there are instructions on how to do the exercise in the discussion. Besides that, you also get a number of different exercises that you can do as an alternative to neutral grip pull up.

If you are not sure of the number of reps that you can do, this article gives you a guideline of the standards that you can subscribe to.

What Is A Neutral Grip Pull Up?

A neutral grip pull up is a bodyweight exercise that strengthens various muscles. Some muscles that you engage when doing the exercise include lats, biceps, forearms, brachialis, and many others. It is a pull-up alternative. Pull-ups are well known for using body resistance. To do the exercise follow the steps below;

  1. Grasp the pull parallel bar and hang making sure that your arms are fully extended.
  2. Pull your body up until the face is at the bar level and cross your legs. Pause at the height of the movement.
  3. Lower your body to a starting position.
  4. Repeat as much as you can.

Muscles Worked By Neutral Grip Pulldown.

1. Lattismus Dorsi.

The lattismus dorsi is also known as the lats. This is the primary muscle that gets worked by the neutral grip exercise. Strengthening your lats makes your shoulders perform the extensions and adduction moves easy. The lats is a big ‘V’ muscle located on your back.

2. Brachialis.

These muscles are found in the biceps and make your arm look bigger and stronger. These muscles are responsible when you are lifting objects and curling weights. Therefore, stronger brachialis makes it easy to do your day to day activities.

3. Brachioradialis.

The brachioradialis muscle helps when bending, flexing, or rotating the arm.

4. Rhomboids.

Strong rhomboids make your shoulders stable. These muscles are also responsible for pulling the shoulder blades.

5. Biceps.

As you hang your body and pull it up above the bar, you engage the arm muscles. As such, this exercise is good at building stronger arm muscles.

6. Triceps.

Neutral Grip Pull Up - Triceps workout

The triceps also get strengthened as you pull your body up.

Neutral Grip Pull-Ups Benefits.

One of the key advantages of neutral grip pull-ups is that they provide a different way to execute pull-ups. These grips engage a variety of muscles and are a fun way to mix things up. When you do the same workouts over and again, your muscles become accustomed to the movement and stop responding as well.

And, the neutral grip has its benefits to trainers. It is well known as the strongest grip in comparison to other grips. However, as much as it is the strongest; it is also regarded as the easiest grip that can also be done by beginners. It is also safest to do if you are a beginner.

You also recruit more muscles when doing this workout. Therefore, this workout is good for strengthening upper body muscles. In addition, the workout also improves total body composition.

Along with enhancing your grip, you’ll get increased forearm and wrist strength. Other lifts, like as deadlifts and barbell rows, will benefit from this.

Neutral Grip Pull-Up Vs Pull-Up.

The two exercises target similar muscles such as lats, rhomboids, traps, arm muscles, and others. However, the two exercises in terms of grip. To do a neutral grip, you need parallel bars, so that you can grip with your palms facing each other.

Then with pull-up you need a straight bar then your hands or palms would be facing away from your body. Therefore, due to different grips, it makes the two exercises hit the same muscles differently. The neutral grip is good for growing your arms as it put more pressure on brachialis muscle.

On the other hand, the pull-up is not ideal for arm growth but it puts more emphasis on the lats. Therefore, these two might work similar muscles, but they have their strongholds as mentioned above.

Neutral Grip Pull Up Standards.

The number of pull-ups that can be done by individuals differ. The difference is largely driven by various factors such as gender, experience in training, and body weight. Generally, men and women can perform neutral grip pull ups but their number of reps differs.

This is due to their physique. Men have more muscle mass compared to women. If you compare the upper body of men and women, the men have more muscles than women. As such, the neutral grip pull up relies on upper body muscles. Therefore, this makes it more difficult for women to do more muscles than men. However, there are women who can do more reps as men. Below is a table of the standards that can be done by different trainers depending on their experience.

According to a coach, John Sifferman, below are the generalized standards;

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Expert
  • Men
    • 2- 5 reps
    • 6-10 reps
    • 11-15 reps
    • 16-20 reps
  • Women
    • 2- 3 reps
    • 4- 6 reps
    • 4-6 reps
    • 7- 9 reps

Note that the above standard did not consider weight.

Neutral Grip Pull Up Bar.

The neutral grip bar is a pull up bar but it is different from the traditional pull up bar. The bars for a neutral grip are parallel so that you can grip them neutrally.

Neutral Grip Chin Up.

Neutral Grip Pull Up - Chin Up

The neutral grip works the lats, teres major, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, and traps. To do the exercise, follow the instructions below;

  1. If you have an adjustable neutral grip pull bar; adjust it to a shoulder width apart distance.
  2. Then grasp the bar and hang with your arms fully extended.
  3. Then pull up your body until your chin is above the bar. You can cross your legs for balance. Pause for a second at the top of the movement.
  4. Lower your boy to a starting position.
  5. Repeat.

 Neutral Grip Pulldown.

This exercise is similar to lat pulldown. The neutral grip pulldown targets the lats, shoulders, and biceps. You will need a lat pulldown machine to do the exercise. To do the exercise; follow the instructions below;

  1. Start by setting the lat pull down machine and make sure that the handles are properly attached.
  2. Grasp the bar with a neutral grip and hands facing each other.
  3. Sit down and secure your thighs with the pads.
  4. Extend your arms upward until you feel your lats being stretched.
  5. Then pull the weight to your chest and contract your lats muscles.
  6. Pinch your shoulder blades before returning the hands to the starting position.
  7. Return the bar up in slow motion.
  8. Repeat the move as much as you can.

Neutral Grip Pull Up Alternative.

There are so many exercises that you can do as an alternative to the natural grip. The following exercises work the lats, traps, rhomboids, biceps, and many other muscles that get worked by the neutral grip pull up.

Low Bar Pull Up.

This is an intense exercise that hits your upper body muscles. Follow the instructions below to do the exercise.

  1. Set the bar lower to your waist height or thigh height.
  2. Slide yourself under the bar and grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Make sure that your hands are a bit wider than the shoulder width apart.
  3. Make sure that your feet are straight in front of you balancing on the floor with the back of your heels.
  4. Position your upper body by keeping your elbows bent forming a 90 degree angle. That can be your starting position.
  5. Lower your upper body towards the ground.
  6. Return your body to the starting position before fully stretching your arms.
  7. Repeat as much as you can.

Dumbbell Rows.

The dumbbell row exercise is another workout that you can take advantage of and strengthen your lats, arms and other upper body muscles without difficulties. Follow the instructions below;

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, stand with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your waist and keep your back straight. Your arms should be fully stretched towards the ground.
  3. Pull the dumbbells to your rib cage position.
  4. Pause in that position for a second and return the weight to the starting position.
  5. Repeat as much as you can.
Neutral Grip Pull Up - Dumbbell Rows workout

Door Band Pulldown.

If you don’t have the machine or the bars to perform the pulldown, you can use a resistance band and your door at home. You can perfectly work your lats, rhomboids, and traps. Follow the instructions below to do the exercise;

  1. Put the anchor on top of the door and close the door. You can lock the door to make it secure.
  2. Take your resistance band and thread it through the door anchor.
  3. Grasp the resistance band handles and take a few steps from the door and kneel down facing the door. Keep your back straight and the chest up. Your arms should be stretched in front of you and parallel to the ground.
  4. Then use your wrist to balance the resistance handles instead of grasping it with your hand.
  5. Pull the resistance bend down to your hips. Keep your arms straight and don’t bend them when you are pulling the resistance bend.
  6. Lowly return the arms up until they are parallel to the floor.
  7. Repeat as much as you can.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you want to make your arms bigger and stronger, the neutral grip pull up is the ideal exercise for that. It targets the brachialis, lats, biceps, triceps, traps, rhomboids, and many other upper body muscles. The exercise uses your body weight to put more pressure on your upper body.

In addition, the exercise is the strongest grip but also the easiest one in comparison to other pull-ups exercises. If for some reason, you cannot do the neutral grip pull up, you can try other alternatives such as chip up, pull up, dumbbell row, and many other exercises mentioned above.

How many reps do you do when doing the neutral grip pull down workout? Share your experiences below.

5 thoughts on “Which Muscles Are Worked On A Neutral Grip Pull Up Workout?”

  1. Hey there Sam. Thank you for this educational post. I think within the Covid measures all around the world, many people are seeking advice and inspiration on how to be more effective during exercising. I like your insights because they are about arms, which I always look forward to finding new exercises. I have a question though, what is the difference between Neutral Grip Chin Up and Pulldown? Which one is more effective? Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks for your comment and according to my point of view, better exercise is Neutral Grip Chin Up. There should be release more power with Neutral Grip Chin up exercises as well as it is more effective exercise than pulldown exercise. But, If you want more details, please comment on, I will publish a new post.

  2. To be honest, I never really do pull ups when I am at the gym. I can never pull myself up no matter what I try so I skip to other workouts.

    However, you have listed some great variations that I would love to try instead.. one such exercise is the low bar pull up. I am interested to see how I fare with that one. I would love to give the others a try as well. Thank you for explaining with great instructions as to how to perform each workout!

    If only it wasn’t the pandemic and gyms were all open…

  3. Hi there!

    I definitely cannot do pull ups but am very jealous of people that can. If I ever get back into a gym membership I would definitely need the machine that has the assistance to push me up with the pull up haha!

    I do, however, do weights at home. Nothing crazy, just 3lb weights after a 3mi walk. I wonder if doing dumbbell rows with my weights could be beneficial? I am wanting to work on my upper arms especially to help me tone them and slim them up a bit and strengthen my shoulders.

    Let me know your thoughts!

    • Rally it is great your trial, but, if you want more strength and a powerful body with muscles, you have to do more exercises by combining dumbbell, kettlebell, and barbell exercises. I suggest you support the coach to get better help your body building.
      Thanks your comment


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