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    Do pullups and rows work the same muscles?

    I understand one is a vertical pull and the other a horizontal but is there a difference in the muscles worked?
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    Not really that much of a difference. Bent-over rows will usually hit the upper back harder though.
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    LIFT HEAVIER NEXT MONTH kanis999's Avatar
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    I think pullups work the abs and lower traps way more. To get the same work on lower traps (aka the traps we all could probably use more work on for posture's sake) with a row, you'd have to be bent parallel to the ground or more and really focus on them with your mind.
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    Registered User Soiren's Avatar
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    The same targeted muscles, although different ROM, angles and different emphasis on assistance muscles. Also it depends on how you do your pullups (grip width) and BORs (Yates' and Pendlay's being both extreme sides of that exercise).
    But basically rows work your trapezius harder and vertical pulling has more ROM for lats.
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    Registered User BombDonald's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kanis999 View Post
    I think pullups work the abs and lower traps way more. To get the same work on lower traps (aka the traps we all could probably use more work on for posture's sake) with a row, you'd have to be bent parallel to the ground or more and really focus on them with your mind.
    Originally Posted by Soiren View Post
    The same targeted muscles, although different ROM, angles and different emphasis on assistance muscles. Also it depends on how you do your pullups (grip width) and BORs (Yates' and Pendlay's being both extreme sides of that exercise).
    But basically rows work your trapezius harder and vertical pulling has more ROM for lats.
    True dat.

    However I would add that a properly performed SEATED row would have minimal trap involvement.
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  7. #7
    Banned Tyciol's Avatar
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    Same prime movers but there are differences in accessory ones. For example: the lower chest can help with vertical pulls, but in a row it's proooobably not going to.

    What the muscles do is also a bit different. In a vertical pull the rhomboids rotate the scaps down, in horizantal they retract them.

    Originally Posted by kanis999 View Post
    I think pullups work the abs and lower traps way more. To get the same work on lower traps (aka the traps we all could probably use more work on for posture's sake) with a row, you'd have to be bent parallel to the ground or more and really focus on them with your mind.
    Is on to something. Lower traps are retractors in rows (along with mid and upper, moreso with the 45deg Yates-style) and scap depressors in pull ups.

    As for abs, that depends on your torso alignment in a pull up (it's possible to arch your back a huge deal and not use abs) but yeah you can work them as isometric core stabilizer. Less so in rows which are dominated by lower back stabilization.
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  8. #8
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    anything pulling from above works upper back, anything rowing works the lower portion of back
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    Um, no Harris, that's not accurate. Compared to muscles higher up, the lats are probably considered 'lower' (though not as associated with 'lower back' term as erector spinae are) and they are hit when you pull from above, just like rowing can be used to hit the upper back.
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    Rows for thickness, Pullups for width.
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