Gripping the Pullup Bar

Gripping the Pullup Bar
Written by: Coach Slater

Want to improve your Pullup & T2B game with one fix? Wrap your thumb around the bar. Want to improve it a second time? Get your knuckles on top of the bar, specifically that of your pinky finger, pointing toward the ceiling.

1. Wrap the Thumb
Wrapping your thumb creates a stronger grip which transfers into a more stable shoulder to hang from. Doing so slightly externally rotates your shoulder, putting into a more natural, stable position, and it recruits your back muscles (lats) just a little bit more.

Wrapping your thumb gives you access to the clamping muscles of the thumb that otherwise lie dormant when you just place it overtop the bar. And getting your knuckles on top of the bar better engages the muscles of the forearms. These are big deals when you’re trying to put together bigger sets, figure out the kipping pullup, or work your way toward a butterfly pullup.

2. Knuckles on Top
If you get the knuckle of your pinky finger on top of the pullup bar (with the thumb wrapped under), your wrists go into a little bit of flexion which benefits muscles further down the kinetic chain.

The pinky is a powerful player. If you don’t currently, try pressing the knuckle of your pinky finger into the inside handle of a kettlebell the next time you’re doing AKBS. You’ll instantly have better control over your shoulders and core. The improved shoulder rotation and lat activation increases shoulder stability and midline tension. If you don’t feel a strong contraction in your armpits (lats) when performing pulling movements, it’s likely that you aren’t doing them correctly.

Play with these tweaks and see if you can feel the difference. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, and your forearms may fatigue quickly, but the strength and endurance will improve over time.

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