Mix Up Your Grip

Try these five alternatives to the standard overhand grip to make your pull-up work for you.


The standard pull-up grip is “double-overhand,” meaning both hands face away from you. There are, however, a variety of alternative options worth trying so you can determine which is best suited for your unique physiology, strength, and mobility.

It’s common to begin with a chin-up grip, then to progress to a neutral grip and finally a standard pull-up grip — but that may not necessarily be the ideal pull-up journey for you. Experiment with the different grips below to find the ones you can perform with relative ease and no pain. You can vary the grips from workout to workout while still building overall strength to reach your goal of doing your first pull-up.

Pull-Up Grip

Palms face away from you as your hands wrap around the bar.

pull-up-gripIllustration by Colin Hayes

Chin-Up Grip

Palms face toward you as your hands grip the bar.

chin-up-gripIllustration by Colin Hayes

Neutral Grip

Palms face each other as your hands wrap around a set of handles.

neutral-gripIllustration by Colin Hayes

Mixed Grip

Palms face in opposite directions (one away and one toward you).

mixed-gripIllustration by Colin Hayes

Ring Grip

Palm orientation will vary through the range of motion.

ring-gripIllustration by Colin Hayes
This article originally appeared as part of “Expert Answers: 4 Steps to Your First Pull-Up” from the March 2017 issue of Experience Life.

is a health and fitness writer based in Minnesota.

Illustration by Colin Hayes

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