The Switch Grip Pull-Up

by Travis Hansen

An Explosive Alternative to the Muscle-Up

Add a little explosiveness to the regular pull-up by switching your grip in the middle of a rep. Check this out!

You've seen the muscle-up before. Heck, you might've already mastered it. Looks cool, but it comes with some limitations and risks – unless you have a smaller frame, low body weight, and an insane level of power. Luckily, you can still get the benefits and the feel of doing an explosive pull-up without anywhere near the same stress level and inherent risk. Just use the switch-grip pull-up.

The Switch-Grip Pull-Up

Start with a mixed grip – one hand facing you and one facing away – then switch hands at the top of the rep. Lower yourself down like you would during a regular pull-up. If you're feeling a ton of fatigue or a lack of tightness, limit your reps. Try starting with one or two reps to get the feel for it.

To prime yourself for the switch-grip pull-up, use a band for assistance and do the same movement, or add load and explosively do pull-ups without switching your grip at the top.

Reasons to Do It Besides Looking Impressive

  1. Grip Irradiation. Because of the power required to switch grips, your hand and forearm strength have to be operating at near full capacity. Demonstrating it will naturally radiate increased strength and motor unit recruitment throughout your shoulder complex.
  2. Improved Coordination. Coordination is a precursor to lifting more weight and moving athletically. You won't find a more demanding exercise to test your coordination and focus than the switch-grip pull-up.
  3. Defeats a Common Sticking Point. The top of the pull-up is hard for a lot of people. By recruiting enough speed and power at the bottom, you'll power through at the top and overcome that sticking point. This is like dynamic effort work on the bench. The more speed and power you build off your chest, the better your odds are for finishing the rep due to momentum and enhanced unit recruitment.
  4. Post-Activation Potentiation (PAP). This exercise ramps up your nervous system. Use it as a categorical speed and power drill. It'll also supercharge your muscles and improve your weighted pull and endurance sessions.
  5. Satisfies Progressive Overload. Switching your grip mid-rep (along with increasing the volume) is another way to progress. A falling body mass naturally adds more intensity, much like carrying weight around your waist or wearing a weight vest.



Nice! These would serve well for a dynamic effort pull movement.

Stoked to try this.
I love anything that involves my monkey-strength.