Best Grip for a Pull Up

by Adam Miezio
grip grip strength pullup pullup bar
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We've been fielding some questions and inquiries here lately at Fringe HQ about the best grip for a pull-up. 

We've also seen some content out there that recommends a non-traditional grip for pull-ups and bar work to avoid getting callouses. 

So we had Nick, our heroic sales guy who moonlights as a strength trainer certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association cover the topic.



There are 2 main issues, umm...at hand. 

Those are callous prevention and the use of chalk or tape. 

You can find content out there now suggesting this grip:

callous prevention pull up grip
Callous prevention pull up grip.


The reasoning behind this grip is that by placing the bar above your callous line and at the base of your fingers, you avoid the bar pinching the area, thus not causing the callouses. 

However, a lot of strength is lost by not committing to the fullest grip possible. You sacrifice and lose surface area that engages more of your forearm muscles. 

In the end, you may not attain your true max pullup reps, or whatever bar work you're doing (muscle ups, kipping, etc.).

This seems to be an issue of having your cake and eating it too. 

We want all the gains, without the pain of our partners in sexytime feeling those terracotta roofing tiles on our hands. 

calloused hands

Love the feel of your terracotta tiled hands baby.

There's also a fear of dreaded tears on hands that abundant bar work may cause.

First off, you can always employ hand grips like these. Hand grips will save a lot of wear and tear on your hands.

Why should strength and reps be forsaken on behalf of hand care?

Callouses and tears can always be dealt with off the bar. It's not the end of the world.

A bevy of options awaits you at your...fingertips. 

A number of quality products will solve your issues and make you a hands model, like Sandbar, W.O.D.Welder and RipFix, check them out here.

Perhaps the best for functional fitness fanatics is the BloQaid hand callous remover.

In the end, the old tried and true grip provides the most strength.

pull up grip

The best pull up grip bar none. 

Once you're this far you can choose between a hook grip:

hook grip

Or a more of a neutral grip without wrapping the thumb:

neutral pull up grip

 
Which one of these grips is best for you is up for debate. This is a large topic to unravel but the guys over at MobilityWOD have done a great video here for you to decide.

We're also asked if you should use chalk or tape. 

It's a matter of personal preference. There's no right or wrong answer. 

If you use a lot of hook grip, taping your thumb below the knuckle might be helpful to reduce soreness and chafing. 

If you have sweaty palms, using chalk may be helpful as it acts as a desiccant.

Asking about chalk and tape is like telling someone which side to part their hair on or which sock to put on first. 

But back to the callous prevention grip for a moment, to wrap this all up. 

There might be one exception when this grip becomes beneficial for a certain group of athletes.

And that group is rock climbers. 

Nick mentions that this looser grip, with less forearm engagement and more stress placed on the fingers, may actually help train rock climbers. 

Even then, he recommends only well trained, veteran climbers to employ this grip. 

If you belong to the rock climbing tribe, I found a couple of quality vids. 

The first one demonstrates exactly why a looser pull up grip makes for good rock climbing training. 

The second video lays out a progression of pull up varieties specifically designed for rock climbers. 

Interesting to note while watching this vid, the sign on the wall next to the bar states: "Please do not put tape on the pull-up bar."

Thanks for reading Fringe Nation. There's a lot of room for debate, input and feedback on the best grip for a pull up so please, by all means, tell us what you think in the comments below. 

In the meantime, have a great day and lift outside the ordinary. 


Adam Miezio
Adam Miezio

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