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Why You Should Train Neutral Grip Pull Ups

When it comes to pull-ups we often think of two variations, the pull-up and the chin-up.

However there is a 3rd variation called the neutral grip pull up.

The neutral grip also called a Swiss grip or hammer grip pull-up is where your hands are in a neutral position and are neither supinated (like in a chin-up) or pronated (like in a pull-up).

What are the Benefits of Neutral Grip Pullups?

Benefit #1: More Exercise Selection

Our bodies are amazing at adapting! That’s why if you want to continue to get stronger, it is very important to keep switching up your exercise variation so you don’t plateau.

Most people just flip back and forth between chin-ups and pull-ups for their back workouts. However by adding the neutral grip, you add a third variation to the mix increasing your pulling exercise selection by 50%!

Benefit #2: More Fun

The best part about this variation is that it is the strongest variation for most people. Since you will be able to lift more weight in the case of weighted pull-ups it is a great way to get an ego boost and get motivated.

Benefit #3: Safer

A lot of people don’t have the full shoulder mobility to perform a full ROM chin-up, which can cause shoulder or wrist problems. The neutral grip pull-up is a much more natural position for the joints and is great for those people with shoulder and wrist pain.

Benefit #4: The Squeeze

When performing a pull-up or chin-up often times the bar can get in the way of you performing the nice squeeze and the top of the movement.

However in the neutral grip pull-up you can keep your chest up high and perform a nice squeeze since you don’t have this issue.

Benefit #5

As mentioned earlier, the neutral grip pull-up is the strongest variation for most people and is the easiest pull-up to perform. Therefore it is great for beginners just starting out.

What Is the Ideal Grip Width?

Often for neutral grip pullups you don't really have a choice in the grip width since the bars are fixed.

However, if you do have some option, we recommend shoulder width for the neutral grip pull-ups.

If you want to focus on your arms and forearms instead of your back you can make the grip closer.

No neutral grip bar? No problem!

If you have a doorway pullup bar or like to train at an outdoor pullup bar.

It may just be a straight bar without the option for neutral pullups. Don't worry we got you covered!

Check out the swissies, a hook-on device you can quickly and easily place on a pullup bar to transform it into a neutral grip pullup bar!

How To Progress On Neutral Grip Pullups

Progressing on the Neutral Grip Pullup is essentially the same as progressing on pullups and chinups. We recommend training it 2-3x per week. Focussing on alternating between a high repetition day where you focus on the 10-20 rep range and a low repetition day where you focus on 5-10 reps.

To make the exercise easier, use a resistance band or perform australian neutral grip pullups. A nother option if you don't have the equipment required to perform these are to perform negatives.

To make them harder, add weight using a weightvest or dip belt.

What To Avoid When Training Neutral Grip Pullups

Here are some of the common mistakes we see in neutral grip pullups. Generally they are the same mistakes we see in the regular pullups

  • Not coming down to a dead hang
  • Not pulling yourself up high enough
  • Letting your elbows flare out
  • Not Controlling the Eccentrics
  • Goose necking


Neutral Grip Pull ups are an often overlooked exercise variation. However, they are extremely powerful and perhaps the most superior variation. Anyone serious about improving their pulling strength and developing a strong back should incoopertate this movement into their training regime.

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