Pull-ups are one of the best, all-around upper body exercises you can do. They target a broad range of muscles and help the overall development of your body. They are one of the most challenging forms of exercise and a killer multi-joint, a compound move that works most of the muscle groups throughout your upper body, including your back, shoulders, arms, and even your abs.
If you like a hardworking, multi-tasking exercise move, a pull-up checks all those boxes.
The concept of doing a pull-up is easy – the name says it all – however, the execution of said pull-up can be a challenge. The up-down movement of the pull-up is a great way for all your muscles to engage and work together.
To understand why a pull-up is so active, let’s take a quick look at the muscles involved when performing this move.
- The latissimus dorsi, commonly known in gym-speak as the “lats.” These are the largest, broadest muscles of the back. This muscle is used when your body rises to the bar.
- The brachialis, brachioradialis, and biceps brachii muscles in your arms. These three muscles help during both the ascent and descent of the pull-up.
- Teres major, rhomboid, trapezius, and levator scapulae in your shoulders. These muscles work during the rising and lowering movements.
- The external and internal obliques and transverse abdominal muscles. These muscles get a workout preventing movement and maintaining a neutral position.
- Muscles of the forearms get a workout by holding the body weight, and finger strength are improved when gripping the bar.
That’s a whole lot going on in one move. If doing a pull-up and reaping the rewards of this excellent exercise seems out of the realm of possibility for you, check out our perfect pull-up progression guide. Follow these steps, and you’ll be doing pull-ups in no time.