Narrow Grip Pullups

Narrow Grip Pullups

Home Pullup Lat Workout

Narrow grip pullups are an awesome exercise that work lats, biceps, shoulders and forearms. You can do them at home or at the gym.   For most people, narrow grip pullups are much easier than the classic overhand pullup.  If you still have trouble doing these, please see my How To Do Your First Pullup page.  For you really strong advanced folks, we will get to your techniques in a bit but first, lets talk basics.

Form of the Narrow Grip Pullup

Good form elements of the narrow grip pullup

  1. Elbows as close together as possible, dont let them flail outward
  2. Go up until your nose is even with your hands then down till your arms are straight but not locked.
  3. Slow, steady motion.  No kipping, swinging, or kicking.
  4. Keep the shoulders packed the entire time, no going into a dead hang.


Pullup form, no dead hang

No dead hang! Dont let your shoulders come up to your ears!

Bad Form, Kung-Fu Pullup

No kipping

Bad Form, Kipping Pullup

No swinging or kicking.


Advanced Versions of Narrow Grip Pullup

Weighted narrow grip pullup

Use dumbbell held between thighs for additional resistance

If you find these narrow grip pullups too easy, here are two awesome variations.  No matter how strong you are, you can be humbled by the basic pullup if you hold a dumbbell between your legs for additional resistance as shown here.  Its somewhat of a trick to get into position.  If you are using lifting straps, put those on.  Put the handle somewhere within reach.  Now pick up the dumbbell and put it between your thighs and give it a death squeeze to hold it in position, you will be able to relax in a second.  Now put the narrow grip handle over the pullup bar and fasten your wrist straps.  Pull yourself up and bend your knees 90 degrees.  Now loosen the grip on the dumbbell and let it slide down until it touches your calves.  It is now in a stable and easy to hold position.

Lat And Ab Narrow Grip Pullup

Hold legs horizontal for a killer ab and lat workout!

Another killer variation of the narrow grip pullup is done with the legs held perfectly straight and horizontal with the toes pointed.  This not only works the abs intensely but makes the pullup much more difficult as well. Give it a try!




11 thoughts on “Narrow Grip Pullups”

  1. I find pullups antagonize my tennis elbow, but I love pullups. Scooby, suffering from this yourself, do you have any tips on getting around or working through this tendonitis situation? I’ve continued working out and my theory is that hopefully as my muscles get stronger they will override tendonitis. Can you tell me what has worked for you? Thanks.

    1. Yoko Joséphine Matsui

      I would more of guess you have worked your way out not to hurt your tendonitis while doing pullups. In other word, you have learned to do pullup in correct form. But it’s wonderful you’ve acquired a good form. A lot of people will rather give up…

      1. Hi Yoko, Thanks for your comment. Actually, I’ve had to abandon doing pull-ups. I can do most everything else but all with reduced weight until I can get tendonitis under control. My theory on what started it is overuse of my mouse believe it nor not. My attack on correcting it is to eat even more and more often, good foods and keeping my weights reduced, and to switch arms when using my mouse!

    2. The same thing happened to me. Then I purchased gymnast rings, which allows for a more natural body motion. Eventually the pain subsided. With pullups and chins on a fixed bar, the fixed range of motion in an unnatural position can cause epicondilitis over time.

  2. I still have some issues keeping my shoulders packed with some exercises. Assuming it’s just because I haven’t done the exercise enough times to let it become more natural than deliberate.

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