Chest Pull Ups

In this article you will learn about chest pull ups – what they are, how to perform them and why you should consider adding them to your exercise regime.

Chest Pull Ups Explained

Chest pull ups, also known as chest to bar pull ups, go a step further than the standard and best known pull up, which involves pulling the chin of the individual above the bar.

In this form of the pull up the aim is for the individual to pull themselves up a few inches further so that their chest is level with the bar on which they are performing the exercise.

For the chest pull up to be counted as successful the collar bone or below must contact the bar.

4 Chest Pull Up Benefits

There are four key benefits in performing the chest pull up over the standard pull up as part of your exercise regime. These are:

1. Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength

As a step up from the standard pull up, the chest pull up is an excellent way of building muscle strength and hypertrophy through the increased range of movement it demands.

It does this by increasing muscle contractions and muscle damage – the combination of these factors leads to increased muscle growth (known as hypertrophy), increased strength and endurance.

2. Cardiovascular Endurance

Performing a chest pull up requires more cardiovascular effort than a standard pull up.

As such, performing repeated reps of this exercise will increase the heart rate more than a set of reps of the standard pull up and so promote increased cardiovascular endurance.

3. Improved Grip Endurance

Chest pull ups are more reliant on grip than the standard variant in order to provide the increased strength and endurance required for success.

This form of pull up demands a lot of the forearms and grip.

As a result practising this variant will improve the grip strength and endurance of those performing the variant, something which is particularly important both for the success of higher intensity workouts and if the individual aspires to competitive sports.

4. Increased Body Control and Awareness

Performing chest pull ups at a slow tempo can help the individual develop increased control over, and awareness of, their body.

Precision is required from the individual in the timing of their movements in order to complete the chest pull up successfully.

This helps them develop fluidity of movement and improved mobility which can then benefit other aspects of their exercise regime.

Chest Pull Up FAQs

What is a Chest to Bar Pull Up?

A chest to bar pull up involves the individual going a step further than when performing the standard pull up.

A standard pull up will see the chin pulled up above the bar on which the pull up is performed but no more of the lower body will pass above this bar.

However, in the chest to bar pull up the aim is for the individual to pull themselves up a few inches further.

In doing so their chest must be level with the bar on which they are performing the exercise.

For the chest pull up to be counted as successful the collar bone or below must be in contact with the bar.

This video shows you how to perform the chest to bar pull up:

Can You Get Ripped By Just Doing Pull Ups?

You can definitely get ripped by doing pull ups but these alone will not be enough for you to achieve an all over ripped look.

Pull ups are a great form of exercise for building strength and tone in the upper body muscles – notably the chest, arms, shoulders and back.

However, if you are to maximise your muscle development then you will need to undertake a balanced and full body exercise programme.

This full body exercise programme should include some resistance training with heavy weights as well as the lighter, high repetition type exercises which include pull ups if you are to achieve a truly ripped body.

Do Wide Grip Pull Ups Work the Chest?

The wide grip pull up is a great exercise because it works a number of different muscles, including:

  • the latissimus dorsi
  • the trapezius
  • the thoracic erector spinae
  • the rhomboids
  • the infraspinatus
  • the teres minor
  • the external oblique.

Whilst the chest muscles are worked to some degree with the wide grip it is not the most effective pull up grip to use if you wish to work your chest muscles.

If you wish to work the chest the best grip to use when doing a pull up is the close grip. Using this grip employs the chest and bicep muscles to a much greater degree than the wide grip and is as such the better option.


Hopefully by now you know more about the chest pull up.

In this article we have learned that:

  • The chest pull up involves the individual raising themselves further above the bar than the standard pull up, so that the chest touches the bar
  • The chest pull up is also known as the chest to bar pull up
  • There are four key benefits to the chest pull up – increased muscle hypertrophy and strength, cardiovascular endurance, improved grip endurance and increased body control/awareness
  • That a close grip is better if you wish to work the chest muscles
  • You can get ripped performing pull ups but these are more effective as part of a whole body exercise regime