Hammer Pull Ups – How To Do, Alternatives & Benefits

Tired of doing pull ups and chin ups? Want to try something new that will work muscles differently and can provide almost the same and sometimes even better results? Well, then hammer pull up is the exercise you should give a try.

In this article, we are going to see what are hammer pull ups, how to perform them, their benefits, muscles worked, alternatives, and more. Read Here!!

What are hammer pull ups?

hammer pull ups

Hammer pull ups is a calisthenics exercise and is a pull up variation that is done with a neutral grip (hammer grip). If you want to workout your back and biceps muscles a little differently then you should definitely add hammer pull ups to your workout routine.

If done correctly hammer pull ups can provide many benefits you would love.  To perform this you will need a pull up bar with neutral handles attached to it.

How to perform hammer pull ups?

As mentioned above you will need a pull up bar with neutral handles to perform hammer pull ups.  Here are 5 steps to perform hammer pull ups correctly.

StepHow To
Step 1 Start by grabbing the pull up bar with a neutral grip and keep hanging. Make sure you are not swinging. This is the starting position.
Step 2Engage your core and pull yourself up in a controlled manner. Make sure to go up until your chin is above the bar.
Step 3Pause for a moment and feel the contraction.
Step 4Now go back down slowly and extend your arms fully.
Step 5Repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.

Repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.!

Understanding different pull up grips

If you are still struggling to understand the various pull up grips then here is a short guide. There are three main pull up grips- the normal pull up grip (pronated or overhand grip), chin up grip (supinated or underhand grip), and neutral or hammer grip. The other grips include a narrow grip and a wide grip.

1. The normal pull up grip

Normal Pull Up Grip

The normal pull up grip is also known as a pronated or overhand grip. In this, you grab the bar with your palms facing inwards. This is the most common grip of pull ups. It focuses more on back stimulation.

2. The chin up grip

Chin Up Grip

The chin up grip is also known as a supinated or underhand grip. In this, you grab the bar with your palms facing toward yourself. This is another very common pull up grip that people use. It focuses a little more on bicep stimulation.

3. The neutral grip

Neutral Pull Up Grip

The neutral grip pullup is also known as the hammer pull up grip. In this, you grab the bar with your palms facing each other. To perform this you will need neutral handles attached to your pull-up bar. This grip can help you focus both your back and biceps equally.

Related: Scapular Pull Ups – Complete Exercise Guide

What muscles do hammer pull-ups work?

Hammer pull ups mainly work your back and bicep muscles. Here is a list of muscles worked by hammer pull-ups.

  • Lattismus Dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Terres major
  • Trapezius 
  • Deltoids/rotator cuff
  • Brachioradialis and brachialis 
  • Pectorals
  • Abdominal Muscles

Hammer pull-ups benefits

Here are some hammer pull- ups benefits-

Strengthen your back: Pull ups are known to build the back muscles especially the lats and hammer pull-ups can provide the same. 

Build your biceps: Hammer pull ups are known to stimulate the biceps more than regular pull ups. Not only the bicep hammer pull ups can also help in targeting another arm muscle called 

the brachialis.

Improves grip strength: Hammer pull up involves a neutral grip which helps in targeting the  Brachioradialis muscle which is present in the forearm. It also helps in improving grip and forearm strength.

Enhance core strength: While hammer pull ups already require a certain level of core strength to perform and control the movement, adding hammer pull ups to your workout routine can help in enhancing overall core strength.

Also Read: Butterfly Pull Ups – A Complete Guide

Hammer grip pull-up alternatives

1. Normal Pull ups

Normal pull ups are the most common type of pull up. In this, you grab the bar with your palms facing inwards (pronated grip) and then perform a pullup. It focuses more on overall back muscle development. It is an exercise you should definitely try.

2. Chin ups

Chin up is a variation of normal pull ups in which you grab the bar with your palms facing towards you (supinated grip) and then perform a pullup. It focuses a little more on the biceps along with the back muscles.

3. Narrow grip pull ups

Narrow grip pull ups are just like normal pull ups, you will grab the bar with a pronated grip. The only difference is that you will grab the bar with your palms narrow (closer) to each other. In this, you can feel more biceps and forearm activation.

4. Wide grip pull ups

Wide grip pull ups are also just like normal pull ups, you have to grab the bar with a pronated grip. As the name suggests you can guess that in this you have to grab the bar with your a little wider than they would have been in normal pull ups. It is believed that it can provide more back activation.

Are hammer grip pull-ups harder?

A hammer grip pull-up is generally considered harder than a chin up but easier than a normal pull-up. This is because your certain muscles can be stronger or weaker than other muscles causing you to perform better or worse in certain exercises.

For example, if you have stronger bicep muscles, chin ups and hammer pull ups might be easier for you as they involve more bicep activation than the normal pull up making it easier for you to perform a chin up or hammer pull up.

So, Are hammer pull ups good?

Hammer pull up is indeed a very good exercise you should try. It can help in building various muscles like the back, bicep, forearms, shoulder, and even abdominal muscles. You can experience all these benefits if you add this exercise to your workout routine and perform it regularly.

It is also important to perform the exercise with the correct form to avoid any unnecessary injuries. 

Overall, hammer pull ups is an amazing exercise that can build muscles and strength in your upper body. 


Hammer pull up is a calisthenics (bodyweight) exercise, you perform hammer pullups with a neutral grip.  If you are struggling to perform hammer pull ups then you can use the assistance of a resistance band to help you build up strength to perform non-assisted hammer pullups.

Hammer can provide many benefits like strengthening your back muscles, building your biceps, improving grip strength, and enhancing core strength.

In the end, if you want to try something new that can provide almost the same benefits as pull ups and chin ups then you can go with hammer pull ups.

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