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What Muscles do Pull Ups Work?

Dr. Sumaiya Khan Jul 20, 2020
Pull ups are one of the most effective exercises that work a wide range of muscles in the shoulders, back, and arms. The following story provides information about the various muscle groups worked by this exercise.
Many people want to achieve a good level of fitness wherein their stamina is high. However, to reach that level of fitness, you need to do a variety of exercises that will strengthen different muscles of the body. Different kinds of exercises target different parts and muscles of the body.
Although weight training will help to add bulk to your muscles, some exercises help to tone the muscles. One such exercise is pull ups. In this exercise the person's body is suspended by his extended arms that are tightly holding onto a fixed bar.
Then the person is supposed to pull himself until the elbows are bent and the head is higher than the hands. These steps are then repeated many times. A favorite among fitness freaks, pull ups work on multiple muscles at the same time.

Latissimus Dorsi

The main muscle that pull ups work on is the latissimus dorsi. This is one of the broadest muscles of the back and is a large, flat muscle. This muscle is partly covered by the trapezius along the medial region. There are many types of exercises that aim at strengthening this muscle, like deadlifts, chin ups, pull ups, dumbbell rows, etc.
However, when exerting strain on this muscle, one must not overdo it, as it could lead to severe problems like back pain in the long run. Also, a tight latissimus dorsi is one of leading causes of shoulder and back pain.

Biceps Brachii

This exercise is incomplete without including the muscle biceps brachii exercises in it. The biceps brachii, more commonly known as simple biceps, are the main muscles that are located in the upper arm and are used to rotate the forearm and flex the elbow.
Although there are various bicep exercises that specifically target these muscles, when doing pull ups the biceps help to raise the entire body till the height of the chin supersedes the bar, which is a very good workout for the biceps.

Other Muscles

The other muscles that also aid in pull ups are basically muscles that are responsible for acting on or near the elbow. These muscles act by bringing about flexion at the elbow joint. As there are many muscles that are inserted at or near the elbow, they all act synergistically to bring about movement. One such muscle is the brachialis.
It is a muscle that is deep seated and acts synergistically to assist the biceps brachii when there is flexion of the elbow while doing pull ups exercise. One of the other muscles that is brought into action during a pull up is the brachioradialis.
The brachioradialis is a muscle that is synergistic in its action with the brachialis and biceps brachii, even though it cannot generate as much force as these two muscles. The brachioradialis aids in flexing the forearm at the elbow whenever a weight is lifted during slow flexion action of the forearm.
Exercising by doing pull ups is really a great way of toning multiple muscles present in the upper torso at the same time. However remember not to overdo it, otherwise you may land up with sore muscles and back pain.