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Close Grip Pull ups: The Elusive Bicep Building Exercise

If you ask alot of fitness experts what the No.1 Bicep Builder is they will say pull-ups.

More specifically the Close Grip Pull-ups or Close grip chin-ups may hands down be one of the biggest bicep builders.

In this blog post we will explain why close grip is superior for the biceps.

In addition we will go over a super beneficial routine to really hit your biceps.

Why Close Grip?

Why are close grip pull-ups are superior for bicep and overall arm development?

It is because your lats are in a mechanically awkward and disadvantaged position when your arm are close and in front of you.

Due to this awkward position, your arm has to do all the work to perform the pull-up.

  • If you want to target the forearms try it in a close grip pull-up.
  • If you want to target your brachialis do a close grip neutral pull-up.
  • f you want to target your biceps do a close grip chin-up.

How Close Should I Grip?

We recommend your hands to be anywhere from directly next to each other to a maximum of 6 inches apart.

Everyone has different arm lengths, ratios and mobility. Therefore grip width should be based on what feels most comfortable and effective for you.

The Best Close Grip Pull Up Routine

The 21s is commonly used in bicep curls but can also be used in the close grip pullup or chin-up.


This is how the 21s (7-7-7) work.

  1. Perform 7 half reps performing only the bottom half of the pull-up.
  2. Perform 7 half reps performing only the top half of the pull-up.
  3. Perform 7 full reps.

Do all 21 reps consecutively. And perform it for 3 sets.

It 7-7-7 is too much you can do 6-6-6 or 5-5-5. Any lower than 5-5-5 we recommend to try using assistance to make it easier.

If a close grip pullup or chin-up is uncomfortable for your wist we recommend performing a close grip neutral grip, semi-supuniated or semi-pronated grip using something like the swissies shown below.

About the Author

Remy started calisthenics in 2014 and has mastered advanced movements such as the one arm pull-up, front-lever, one arm muscle-up and more.

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