Wide Grip Pull Up Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Bodyweight
  • Compound
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Lats Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Using a pronated grip, grasp the pull bar with a wider than shoulder width grip.
  2. Take a deep breath, squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. Depress the shoulder blades and then drive the elbows straight down to the floor while activating the lats.
  3. Pull your chin towards the bar until the lats are fully contracted, then slowly lower yourself back to the start position and repeat for the assigned number of repetitions.

Exercise Tips

  1. To decrease bicep involvement, use a false (thumbless grip).
  2. Try to keep a neutral head position (looking straight ahead or slightly up) as hyperextending the neck can lead to compensations throughout the spine.
  3. If the bar is high enough, keep the legs straight and in front of the body in a hollow body position.
  4. Avoid falling into overextension of the lumbar spine by squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs.
  5. The pullup is completed when the lats are fully flexed, don’t continue pulling and compensate with the pecs. When this occurs, the elbows will flare up behind the body, the shoulder will round forward, and you’ll begin to feel pressure in the front of your shoulders.
  6. A lifter’s segment length will determine whether or not they can actually get their chin over the bar, it’s not an absolute for everyone.
  7. Lower to almost full extension of the elbow but avoid locking out completely as this can place excessive strain on the ligamentous structures within the elbow and shoulder.
  8. If you can’t complete a single bodyweight pullup, start with slow negatives (add weight when these can be accomplished under control) or flexed arm hangs in the top position.
  9. Ditch the straps and kips, neither one is necessary or recommended.

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60 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 09/26/2016 - 17:34
Elio Espinal

I don't know why the videos are not loading on my iPhone. Is there a problem with the server?

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Posted Sat, 06/06/2015 - 00:16

There is no real dumbbell substitute for wide grip pullups but one arm dumbbell rows hit the lats well with a good stretch. Good luck.

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Posted Fri, 09/30/2016 - 06:31
John B

NONE of the videos are working!

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Posted Sat, 12/20/2014 - 05:36

dumbbell lying row

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Posted Sat, 06/07/2014 - 11:29

i love this back exercises since the first time that i saw it,
i like to do this back workout on a chin up station.

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Posted Sun, 01/12/2014 - 12:49

Too weak to pump one out:

5'5", 178lbs, 30" waist..... I can DL 3 plates and squat 2, but I can't even bench one unfortunately.

Any good substitutes til I get my strength up?

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Posted Fri, 11/22/2013 - 14:43
David Rice

what can i sub for wide pull ups

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Posted Mon, 10/21/2013 - 12:38

How much weight of dumbbell/barbell i shall increase every week ?

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Posted Wed, 05/27/2015 - 09:31

u have increas per week only 10%in dumbell.

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Posted Wed, 09/18/2013 - 23:25

Hmm I am a beginner and I tried this excercise today. Sorry but it's impossible... I can't handle 1 pull up. Notice that I did some biceps excercises and 1 back-excercise(seated cable row) before.

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Posted Tue, 08/27/2013 - 13:04

Thanks a lot

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Posted Wed, 05/01/2013 - 14:47

Is the workout a failure if i cant do 15 pull-ups? Because i am strict with my form and find that im only getting 8-10 done.

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Posted Wed, 05/15/2013 - 14:19
Project Pull-Up

Hey Henry - not at all. Pull-Ups are very taxing on the body and the cns. Dont think for a second that your 8 reps are a failure. I train pull-ups at least twice a week for both volume and strength and Im very happy for my sets to be between 8 and 10. It all depends what you are using the pull-up for - what are you training?

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Posted Mon, 04/29/2013 - 06:24

What other ways can you do this at home if you don't have a bar or barbell and rack??

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Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 12:51

I meant to ask earlier what negative pull-ups are

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 16:22

Use a bench or chair to get your chin up over the bar. Then lower yourself as slowly as possible. This way all the work is done during the "negative" portion of the pull up.

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Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 11:31

Pull-ups are my worst and most challenging excercise. Not sure how to begin

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 01/22/2013 - 12:11

Assisted pull-ups and negative pull-ups are great alternatives. Keep at them either way!

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:15

I'm 53, started the 5 day a week workout routine at home, simple 110 lbs barbell/dumbell set with a simple incline decline bench. I don't have anything to do the pullup or chin ups on ...is there an exercise that I can do to replace anything that requires such a device? thanks.

mnsjason's picture
Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 16:20

You could try doing bent-over barbell rows if you're not set up for wide-grip pullups.

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Posted Sun, 12/02/2012 - 05:24

Can I use the lat pull down in my home gym instead of the wide grip pull up? It has a wide bar as well

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Posted Thu, 11/08/2012 - 19:03

Can lat pull downs be substituted for wg pull-ups? I'm a big guy and can't do many pull ups

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Posted Sun, 10/21/2012 - 00:16


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Posted Sat, 10/13/2012 - 00:48

When doing pull-ups and other back exercises my elbow pops/cracks. I've tried resting it for long periods, but still have the problem. Is there anything I can do?

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 23:38

What is the website that makes it east to understand blog sites and also podcasts? I can't present an ipod devices, really does the fact that really make a difference?

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Posted Thu, 09/27/2012 - 03:32
max peters

awesome form dude

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Posted Tue, 09/18/2012 - 00:04

Hi Steve. Listen I bought a book for increasing pull ups and a push up book. I have to do pull ups 3 times a week and push ups 3 times a week. Can I alternate days one for pull ups the next one for push ups? or do I do both push ups and pull ups the same day 3 times a week?


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Posted Sun, 09/09/2012 - 10:23

which one is the negative pull-up that is mentioned? Is it just the traditional chin up with palms facing towards your body?

Joey's picture
Posted Tue, 09/11/2012 - 12:28

Hey Jason, "negative" pull-ups are when you use a stool to pull your chin above the bar and then slowly lower yourself, focusing on the "negative" part of the motion.

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Posted Wed, 09/05/2012 - 04:13

U can do lat pulldowns until u hv d strength to knock down pullups.

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Posted Sat, 09/01/2012 - 05:39

It is too hard to do for me, is there any tips and tricks to do easly?

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Posted Mon, 08/27/2012 - 13:17

I only have dumbbells. Is there an alternative to this exercise?

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Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 07:37

Dumbell shoulder press

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Posted Sat, 09/22/2012 - 01:39

So dumbbell shoulder press is a good alternative to the wide grip pull up?

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Posted Sat, 08/25/2012 - 13:00

I cannot do 1 pull up! Is there another exercise I can do that works the same muscle group?

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Posted Thu, 08/23/2012 - 23:32

I am able to workout with the four day schedule only problem is i can only go to the gym 3 days a week because of my work schedule. am i able to workout my biceps and shoulders together since i can do these kind of workouts at home. please let me know if its ok or not. thank you.

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Posted Wed, 08/22/2012 - 11:22

How many reps should i do to build mass? I can do 10 sets of 5 reps.

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Posted Tue, 07/17/2012 - 17:27

No Equipment for this position. Any other substitutes.

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Posted Thu, 06/21/2012 - 17:39

is there any other alternative excercise as i do not have anything to perform this exercise?

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Posted Thu, 06/14/2012 - 10:07

I don't have bar, rack or barbell. Any substitute exercise for it?

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Posted Tue, 05/29/2012 - 14:08


I don’t can’t even do one pull-up, can I use the cable machine that has the pull-up bar on it instead to build up the strength to do a pull up?

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Posted Thu, 08/30/2012 - 19:22

Two things to try if you cannot do even 1 rep. 1) Lat pull downs (cable machine) 2) Do negatives. 'hop' yourself up into position then SLOWLY lower yourself down. When I first started I could only do 1 pull up. I would do the 1, then do negatives for the rest of the set. Before long my 1 complete rep turned into 2, then 3...

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Posted Wed, 02/05/2014 - 01:16

What does "negatives" mean? I'm not even sure what the cable machine is. But I desperately need to fix this part of my back.

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Posted Mon, 05/21/2012 - 03:14
srey sovannara

hi steve, i don't know how to pull up because i have no strength to do it. i am always fail in the second or third rep.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 05/21/2012 - 09:56

If you can do one, work at 2. When you can do 2, work at 3...time and effort will over come all obstacles.

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Posted Sun, 09/02/2012 - 07:40

My advice would be to place a chair or small ladder underneath the bar and when you find too hard to lift yourself further then use minimal leg assistance to complete the rep. Try and emphasize making yourself work hard and only push with your legs when you have to. Should help build your strength.

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Posted Fri, 05/18/2012 - 21:58

Hey Steve, can i do superman as a substitude for this?

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Posted Sun, 05/06/2012 - 19:53

How much wider than shoulder width?

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Posted Sun, 05/06/2012 - 16:44

Hey Steve, by doing this exercise one day before training biceps is there any chance to overtrain the biceps?

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Posted Mon, 04/16/2012 - 10:21

Hi Steve,
I ONLY have dumbbells. Any substitute exercise for this?
Tnx :)