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Do Pull-Ups Work Neck Muscles? (Why You Get Neck Pain!)

Pull-ups are a big part of many gym-goers’ training programs.

They can help build a strong muscular back as well as help develop your shoulders, arms, and core.

One body area many people neglect when working out is their neck. And that’s why, in this article, we look at whether pull-ups can work your neck or whether they can cause injury to it instead.

Do Pull-Ups Work Your Neck?

Pull-ups target your traps, back, shoulders, core, and several other muscles.

The muscle most associated with your neck is your traps, so the fact that pull-ups target your traps seems to suggest that they work your neck.

It’s worth pointing out that your neck doesn’t necessarily get worked during pull-ups.

Instead, it’s the muscles surrounding your neck (including your traps) that are actually being put under stress.

In very basic terms though, pull-ups can be beneficial to you if you’re trying to strengthen your neck.

What’s The Best Type Of Pull-Up For Working Your Neck?

There are quite a few variations of pull-ups that can be added to your training program.

One of the best for working your neck is wide-grip pull-ups.

While these won’t directly work your neck, they do a great job of building your traps.

(Which is the muscle most people are trying to build when they say they want to build their neck.)

Other variations could also be beneficial but wide-grip pull-ups are a good starting point.

Do Pull-Ups Make Your Neck Bigger?

Yes, pull-ups can make your neck bigger, but they’re unlikely to be able to do it alone.

If you use pull-ups as part of a workout aimed at developing your back and shoulders, your neck could certainly get bigger as a result.

While pull-ups won’t necessarily make your neck bigger immediately, they can definitely help increase neck size over a period of time.

Do Pull-Ups Strengthen Your Neck?

Building and strengthening the muscles surrounding your neck can make your neck stronger.

As pull-ups do a great job of building strength in your traps, upper back muscles, and other upper body muscles, they can certainly play a part in strengthening your neck.

Pull-ups are a compound exercise that targets several muscles – many of which are close to your neck.

Building these muscles can help make your neck stronger.

Can Pull-Ups Help Your Neck Posture?

Pull-ups are great for improving overall posture.

They strengthen your back muscles which can help pull your chest and shoulders back, resulting in a more upright and better posture.

When it comes to neck posture though, there aren’t too many ways to directly improve it.

(Neck-specific exercises do exist but aren’t commonly seen in gyms).

Your neck is a vulnerable (and very important) part of your body, so any exercise you do should be done carefully.

That being said, using pull-ups as a way of improving your overall posture can help improve neck posture indirectly too.

Why Do Some People Get Neck Pain From Pull-Ups?

Pain during or after any exercise isn’t something to be ignored.

While it could be the normal mild discomfort that happens after challenging exercises (like pull-ups), pain isn’t normally a good thing.

(Particularly in vulnerable areas like your neck.)

Neck pain from pull-ups could be the result of tightness or stiffness in the working muscles.

This can cause pain and discomfort in the muscles surrounding your neck.

Another potential reason for neck pain from pull-ups could be that you’re carrying an injury.

Any neck injury should be taken very seriously and medical attention sought to ensure you don’t do any long-term damage to your body.

Can Pull-Ups Strain Your Neck?

Neck strain is a possibility from pull-ups although, as long as you’re careful and know what you’re doing, you can minimize the risk.

Straining your neck during pull-ups tends to be due to one of a few reasons.

The first reason is that the muscles around your neck may not be strong enough to handle the stress placed on them during the exercise.

It could also be that you haven’t sufficiently warmed up before doing pull-ups, so your muscles aren’t properly prepared for exercise.

Another reason for neck strain during pull-ups is that your technique is incorrect or you aren’t giving yourself enough rest time between sets.

Can Pull-Ups Pinch A Nerve In Your Neck?

Pull-ups can be a factor in certain injuries – pinched nerve being one of them.

Ensuring you use the correct technique and having the appropriate levels of fitness and strength before attempting pull-ups is one of the most effective ways of minimizing your injury risk.

A pinched nerve in your neck can be very painful.

If you experience pain in your neck, it’s sensible to stop exercising and see a medical professional who can diagnose the injury and recommend the best treatment for you.

Can You Do Pull-Ups With Neck Pain?

There might not be a physical reason why you can’t do pull-ups with neck pain, but it’s probably best to avoid them (and other exercises) until the cause of your neck pain has been resolved.

Pull-ups could make your pain worse, so it’s important to find out why you’re experiencing pain before deciding whether to carry on doing pull-ups.

(Or wait until you’ve fully recovered.)

Can Pull-Ups Help Neck Pain?

Potentially, pull-ups can be beneficial in reducing the amount of neck pain you experience.

This will depend on the cause of the pain though.

For example, if you have neck pain as a result of weak muscles around your neck, then pull-ups can help strengthen them enough to make your neck hurt less.

If you’re trying to use pull-ups to help with neck pain, it’s always a good idea to speak with a medical professional first to ensure that they’ll actually help and not make your situation worse.


In summary:

  • Why pull-ups don’t directly work your neck muscles, they can make the muscles surrounding your neck, like your traps, stronger.
  • You may get neck pain after pull-ups if you use an incorrect technique or if you haven’t warmed up properly.

That’s all for this article, but can pull-ups cause hernia? Or perhaps you’re wondering how to warm up for pull-ups?

Hope this helped!


Pull-Ups Muscles Worked