Pull-ups are a popular compound bodyweight exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, especially the back, shoulders and biceps, which makes them an essential part of any training routine. They’re also very versatile – once you’ve mastered the regular pull-up, you can experiment with the grip width in order to achieve specific results.
That being said, the target muscle of both wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups is the latissimus dorsi that runs from the side of the torso to your spine, but the wider the hand position, the stronger the emphasis on the outer lats. And no matter how you feel about them, it’s a fact that close-grip pulls are one of the best ways to work your lower lats.
But the story doesn’t end there. The muscles recruited during a close-grip pull-up include the intrinsic muscles of the hand, the forearm and upper arm muscles that directly support the pull, as well as the upper back muscles and deltoids that are necessary to maintain it.
The pull itself extends the humerus bone and activates the latissimus dorsi, teres major, pectoral and trapezius muscle group. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy and mechanics of these greatest targets of the close-grip pull-up.