What Muscles Do Hammer Grip Pull Ups Work?

Hammer Grip Pull Ups

Are you tired of the same old pull-ups with a standard overhand grip? Spice up your workout routine by trying hammer grip pull-ups.

This exercise puts a fresh spin on the traditional pull-up, working your back and shoulders in a new way.

Not only do they work different muscles, but they also allow for a deeper range of motion, leading to increased strength and muscle definition.

It has been scientifically proven that pulling pull-ups strengthens the forearm muscles and the biceps, pecs, and lats. Let’s discuss this exercise further to get the most out of it.

What Are Hammer Pull-Ups?

Have you ever seen someone do a pull-up while holding onto the handles of a hammer?

No, they’re not just showing off their tool collection – they’re performing a hammer pull-up.

These unique variations on traditional pull-ups involve gripping the handles of a hammer (or similar object with handles) and pulling oneself up.

The added width of the hammer forces additional engagement from the muscles in your arms and back, leading to increased strength and improved grip.

Not only does it work for different muscle groups, but it also helps prevent overuse injuries by keeping your joints in a more natural position.

Do Hammer Pull-ups Work?

This unique exercise is utilizing both your biceps and back muscles to hoist your body weight on an angled bar.

But don’t let its deceptively simple appearance fool you – hammer pull-ups work. Not only do they effectively target those bicep and back muscles, but they also engage stabilizing muscles in your core and shoulders for a full-body workout.

If regular pull-ups leave you feeling like there’s room for improvement, hammer pull-ups provide the added challenge to take your upper body strength to the next level.

The Hammer Pull-Up: The Primary Muscles in Action

What Muscles Do Hammer Grip Pull Ups Work

Fitness coaches often recommend neutral grip pull-ups because their emphasis targets certain areas (biceps), and neutral posture during rowing helps develop core torsional mobility while targeting individual muscle groups at once.

This exercise is excellent for those looking to increase the size and strength of their arms, but it’s also an excellent way to work on shoulder stability! During this workout, the primary muscle groups used are:

Posterior Deltoid

The posterior deltoid originates from the shoulder blade and intersects the upper arm, mainly involved in the abduction and extension of the shoulder.

Hammer pull-ups help to strengthen the posterior deltoid muscle as it is the main target of this exercise.

Teres Major

The location of teres major is the somewhere in-between neck, stretching towards your shoulder muscle, which can also be called the upper back muscle which is involved in the adduction and rotation of your arm.

Teres major is also connected to the rotator cuff muscle which means when you perform hammer pull-ups both muscles are involved and results can be observed in some time.

Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii is located just opposite to biceps brachii. As the name suggests, the muscle has 3 heads connecting the back of the upper arm leading to the elbow.

While doing the hammer pull-ups your triceps muscles are greatly in action, you can attain stronger and bigger muscles by practicing hammer pull-ups over time.

Biceps Brachii

Biceps brachii is present on the front of your upper arm. The shape of this muscle resembles a horseshoe, having its two heads attached to the shoulder muscle.

It helps in the supination and flexion of the forearm. Hammer pull-ups greatly involve the movement of this muscle specifically resulting in tougher biceps.

Latissimus Dorsi

This is the lower back muscle, hammer pull-ups increase the strength and the appearance of this muscle.

The lastissimus dorsi is fully engaged during hammer pull-ups which results in very well-defined back.

Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis is major fan-shaped covering the majority of your chest area. This muscle helps to bring your arm toward the center of your body, which clearly explains that the pectoralis major is fully activated and in motion during the hammer pull-ups.

Variations Of Hammer Pull Ups

hammer grip pullups

There’s no question that pull-ups are a fantastic exercise for overall back strength and size.

And while the traditional variation is undoubtedly effective, there are other ways to do them that can add some spice to your routine.

Here are 5 variations of the hammer pull-up that will challenge and engage your muscles in new ways.

1. Regular

This is the most common variation of the hammer pull-up. You will start in a hanging position with your palms facing your thighs.

From here, you will use your biceps and back muscles to pull yourself up to the bar, keeping your palms facing your thighs the entire time.

2. Wide Grip

You will start in the same position as a regular hammer pull-up to doing a wide hammer pull-up.

However, you will extend your arms to the sides instead of keeping them close to your body. This will put more emphasis on your chest and lats.

3. Close Grip

For close-grip hammer pull-ups, you will start as regular hammer pull-ups. But you will place your palms closer together, so they are about shoulder-width apart. This variation puts more emphasis on your triceps.

4. Weighted

You will need to add weight to your waist or feet to do weighted hammer pull-ups. You can do this by using a weight belt or ankle weights.

This variation increases the exercise’s difficulty and helps build muscle mass in your back and arms.

5. One Arm Hammer Pull Ups:

This is a challenging variation that targets your entire back and arm muscles. You will start by hanging from the bar with one arm to do this exercise.

From here, you will use your back and arm muscles to pull yourself up to the bar. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders square throughout the movement.

Could Hammer Pull-Ups Benefit Your Back?

hammer pull ups

Many fitness experts argue that hammer pull-ups work your back more effectively than traditional pull-ups due to the added rotation and rotation control required.

However, others argue that the added motion takes away from the main focus of the exercise – pulling yourself up with your back muscles.

While some may argue that having your hands turned inward puts more strain on the biceps, studies show this is not necessarily true.

It all comes down to personal preference and experimenting with different techniques. Whether you utilize hammer grip pull-ups or stick with what you know.

This exercise can add some diversity and be effective for your back muscles as well as improve your posture.

Tips For Progressing Your Hammer Pull Ups Routine

Want to take your hammer grip pull-ups to the next level? Look no further! Here are six tips for progressing your routine and getting even better results.

  • Make sure the weight of your pull-up bar is challenging enough. If that’s not an option, try adding resistance bands or weighted vests.
  • Mix things up by trying different grip variations, such as supinated or neutral grip pull-ups.
  • Increase the range of motion by using a wider grip and letting your chest touch the bar on each rep.
  • Incorporate other exercises into your routine that target similar muscle groups, such as chin-ups and inverted rows.
  • Track your progress by recording the number of reps and sets you do in each workout session.
  • Push yourself to constantly challenge yourself while allowing sufficient rest and recovery time between workouts.


If you’re looking for the ultimate arm and back workout, look no further than the trusty hammer grip pull-up.

Not only does this exercise target your back muscles, but it also works those pesky biceps and forearms.

Want to amp up the intensity and see even better results? Use a weight belt to increase resistance and challenge yourself.

So why not give hammer grip pull-ups a try and watch as your toned arms become the envy of all your friends and gym buddies?

Get ready for some significant gains!

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