There are many benefits associated with performing pull-ups as part of your training program.
You’ll notice increases in your back strength, grip strength, and a whole lot more positive outcomes from this highly effective bodyweight exercise.
In this article though, we look at whether pull-ups are actually good for posture too.
Are Pull-Ups Good For Posture?
Yes, as a general rule, pull-ups can be very good for posture.
If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense.
Bad posture tends to be caused by a hunched back and rounded shoulders (potentially as a result of too much chest work in the gym).
To pull your shoulders back and get your back into an upright position, strong back muscles will be needed.
As pull-ups work your back muscles (among others), they can help to correct and maintain better posture.
That being said, this isn’t the case for everyone.
Some posture issues are caused by medical conditions or injuries.
In these situations, pull-ups are likely to make things worse rather than better.
Are Wide Grip or Narrow Grip Pull-Ups Better For Posture?
Wide grip pull-ups put more focus on your back muscles than narrow grip pull-ups.
If you want to improve your posture, using a wide grip for your pull-ups will likely be of more benefit to you.
Close grip pull-ups tend to work your biceps and chest a bit more.
Bad posture can be made worse by strengthening your chest so wide grip pull-ups are better for posture.
Are Pull-Ups Better Than Chin Ups For Posture?
Chin-ups encourage greater activation of your chest and arm muscles.
This can pull your shoulders forward and cause arching of your back.
Pull-ups primarily work your back. In particular, the lower trapezius muscle which sits in between your shoulder blades.
Strengthening this muscle will help pull your shoulders and chest back and your back into a more upright position.
With this in mind, pull-ups are better than chin-ups when it comes to posture.
Can Pull-Ups Make Your Posture Worse?
Normally, pull-ups will help improve posture.
However, if you already have bad posture due to certain conditions, pull-ups could actually make things worse.
Things like kyphosis, which is rounding of the spine at the mid-back, can reduce mobility as well as shoulder blade positioning.
This then encourages excessive effort to be placed on the shoulders during pull-ups. Not only that, but your back will likely not appreciate the additional stress placed on it.
If you have any kind of pre-existing posture issue, it’s normally a good idea to consult with a medical professional before trying to resolve it with pull-ups.
Do Pull-Ups Help Hunch Back?
Pull-ups can help with a hunch back but it really depends on why you have a hunch back in the first place.
If your hunch back has been caused by too many chest workouts and not enough back workouts, then yes, pull-ups can certainly help you to get rid of your hunch back and improve your posture.
However, if your hunch back is the result of a medical condition, pull-ups probably won’t be enough to help and they could, in fact, make things worse for you.
Are Pull-Ups Good For Rounded Shoulders?
Usually, rounded shoulders come from weak rhomboid muscles.
In practical terms, sitting at a desk or driving a car for extended periods of time on a regular basis tends to be the cause of rounded shoulders.
Pull-ups help to build strength in your back with particular focus on the muscles between your shoulder blades – like the rhomboids.
Strengthening these muscles helps pull your shoulders back and helps improve your overall posture.
Are Pull-Ups Good For Scoliosis?
There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there about whether you should be doing pull-ups with scoliosis or not.
Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves to one side. It has varying degrees of seriousness with some people experiencing minimal impact on their everyday life while others experience much greater effects.
If you look online, you’ll find a wealth of so-called “experts” offering advice on the types of exercise you should do if you have scoliosis. Many of them recommend pull-ups as a beneficial exercise to perform.
If you ignore the pretend experts though and listen to the educated, qualified, and highly experienced people who provide treatment for the condition…
They say that while increasing core strength is important for people with scoliosis, traditional core-building exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups should be avoided as they involve unnatural arching and strain on the back.
If you’re working with a medical professional to treat your scoliosis and they recommend pull-ups, then they may help.
It’s not usually a good idea to try and treat any medical condition yourself without speaking to a qualified medical professional first.
Other Exercises Which Are Good For Posture
Good posture relies a lot on having a strong core and there aren’t many more effective core building exercises than the plank.
As well as other muscles, the plank helps to strengthen your back, shoulders, and core – all of which help keep your body in an upright position.
Like pull-ups, lat pulldown can be an effective exercise for strengthening your back muscles enough to pull your shoulders back and improve your posture.
It’s worth mentioning though that this will likely only be the case if your posture issues are a result of your body position during the day or from overtraining the front side of your body – not due to medical issues.
Lat pulldowns strengthen your back muscles which play a key role in good posture.
As well as strengthening your back muscles, stretching out your chest muscles can also help improve your posture.
If you think about the causes of an arched back and rounded shoulders, they tend to come from weak back muscles and tight chest muscles.
If you can stretch your chest muscles while also strengthening your back muscles, you may have a better chance of improving your posture.
As with any form of exercise though, check with a qualified professional before trying to correct potential health issues on your own.