Neutral Grip Pull Up: What It Is and How To Do It

The pull-up and what you know about the pull-up exercise. Pull-ups exercise is one of the exercises that can not be neglected or abandoned in any training program.

You might ask what the reason is, and the answer is because it is very effective and important.

This post will discuss everything about the neutral grip pull-up and list its best alternatives, too.

Remember when we were children and jump on the parallel bars or regular bars to do some pull-ups?

This is why when we mention pull-ups, nearly everybody recognizes it. It is a popular exercise as it was easy to follow and you could do it anywhere.

As the pull-up exercise has many variations, ranging from regular pull-up, underhand grip pull-up, and neutral grip pull-up.

What differs from one variation to another is the grip, either supinated, pronated, or just neutral like you would grip a dumbbell for hammer curls. Each one of them targets the same muscle groups but with different concentrations.

neutral grip pull up

What muscles do neutral grip pull-ups work?

What is generally known for pull-ups is that it is a back exercise. While it is true, there is more than that to it.

The back is not a single muscle. Instead, it is a group of big muscles. Because we need to simplify things, we say back muscles instead of trapezius, lats, and rhomboids.

The Neutral grip pull-up works mainly your lats, which are the muscles that give you the V-shape, also called the back wings, as they are the muscles that are on the side of your back. After the lats, there are the trapezius muscles.

The trapezius muscles are shortened for “traps.” The traps consist of lower, middle, and upper traps. The upper traps are the muscles that are around your neck above your shoulder.

The Neutral grip pull-up targets the lower and middle traps as stabilizing muscles to keep your shoulder blades down. Without getting into anatomy, the neutral grip pull-ups nearly work all of your back muscles.

Talking about other muscles, the neutral grip pull-ups exercise works up the biceps and forearms to a great degree.

Researchers found out that you could build your biceps doing only pull-ups, imagine a pull-up variation that focuses the most on the biceps. As it works the biceps greatly, it is easier than other pull-up variations, and you would be able to do more reps with it.

How to do neutral grip pull ups

To do the neutral grip pull-ups exercise, you should have a pull-up bar with parallel bars that are stable enough.

To start, grab the parallel bars firmly to make sure it does not slip down, keep hanging while your arms are straight and your chest up. Bend your knees and have your ankles crossed together for more stability.

Without swinging, bend your elbows while pulling yourself and keeping your chest up until your chin reaches the bar height. Lower back to the starting position slowly, and when you reach the starting position, pull yourself up again and repeat.

Benefits of neutral grip pull ups

Builds your back

The neutral grip pull-ups exercise is no joke when it comes to building your back. Nearly every pro bodybuilder does it, and it is quite effective for some reasons. It has a wide range of motion that will let you stretch your back but also squeeze it.

Builds your biceps

The neutral grip pull-up is the best pull-up variation when it comes to building the arms. It targets the biceps and the forearms greatly, and it would definitely help you build them.

With a few isolation movements, you will be able to improve and build your biceps. Not to mention that you will have a great pump in your biceps after a couple of sets of the neutral grip pull-up.

Assistance exercise

The neutral grip pull-ups could be a great assistance exercise for the deadlifts, barbell rows, and any pulling exercise.

The reason behind that is that it helps build the lats as well as improving your grip. Many people fail the deadlift because of weak gripping.

When you do the neutral grip pull-up, you will strengthen your grip, forearms, and wrists, assisting many other movements.


Alternatives to neutral grip pull ups

Neutral grip Lat pulldown

The neutral grip lat pulldown uses the same mechanism, just like the neutral grip pull-up. The only difference is that it uses external resistance, not your body weight.

It targets the same muscles with the same focus as our main exercise, and it is a great alternative if you don’t want to perform this variation of the pull-ups.

Kneeling cable lat pulldown

The kneeling cable lat pulldown is a great alternative to the neutral grip pull-up because it targets the lats and biceps to a great degree.

It is an easy to follow exercise, yet it is very effective. If you have a pulley system, you could use this exercise to build your back just as good as doing pull-ups.

Underhanded grip barbell row

The underhanded grip barbell row is another great alternative as it targets your back and biceps heavily, and it would strengthen your grip too.

If you have a barbell and weight plates, this exercise is for you.


In conclusion, the neutral grip pull-up is an effective and popular exercise that should be on most lifters’ workout programs. It has many benefits, such as building the back muscles, biceps, forearms, and strengthening our grip.

It is an easy to follow exercise, and it requires minimal equipment.

If you would like not to do it, we have listed the best three alternatives to this exercise so you could get the same results.

Leave a Comment