Pull Up Question

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    Pull Up Question

    So, slightly odd question with this, but is there a mechanical difference between doing pull ups with your hands wrapped around a bar versus having your fingers gripping a flat surface, like a step on a staircase? I can see it engaging your fingers and forearms more, but does that really effect the main muscle drivers, like the lats and biceps? And if I start doing pull ups on one or the other, will it affect me badly if I switch later on?

    #2
    Hello LongSlowBurn,

    When I started doing pull-ups somewhat regularly, about 20 years ago, I didn't have a pull-up bar, and used a method not unlike the one you describe. It still made me better at pull-ups, and when I started using a bar, I'd already built a decent foundation and didn't feel hindered by the way I'd been training so far.
    So, will it affect you badly? Speaking from personal experience, I'd say that's very unlikely.

    The main downside is, depending on how good your grip is, your forearms (and fingers) may feel fatigue before your lats and biceps do. Even though, to be honest, that's not really a downside if you want to improve your grip strength and grow the muscles in your forearms.

    Does that answer your question?

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      #3
      Coming from the climbing community, where the style is a form of training, to train the "let's say armchain", I wouldn't say it is a downside, either. But it is not the best form to max out your reps...

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        #4
        If I remember correctly from anatomy, there are a variety of muscles which control your grip, and they are located all the way to the top of your arm. That said I don't think that most people have the problem of grip when doing pullups versus muscle strength. In other words, the lifting muscles typically give out long before grip does. So you are likely to build your muscles in a specific way if you are not grabbing a bar, but I would imagine that it is something that could easily be fixed if you are already doing the harder part of the work. Probably less than a week of flex hangs and dead hangs would make up the difference if you were training for it.

        Personally before I got my pullup bar I was using one of the beams in my basement, and I could do maybe half of what I can now, partly because of training, but also partly because the grip was so hard to maintain. Probably better for functional training if you are looking to do climbing, as you almost never get a hold which is like a pullup bar, but probably not the best if you are just doing it for fitness.

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          #5
          Yeah, that's answers the question! It's not perfect, but it's not really damaging, either. Thank you all!

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            #6
            Gripping something flat vs. wrapping around a bar uses different muscles in your forearms. There's not a huge different between the two, though, as the majority of the work is being done by your back. You won't see much of an impact.

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