How can something as difficult as clapping pull-ups NOT build muscle? After all, the clapping increases the recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fiber, which has the potential to grow in size.
It makes sense that if jumping (feet) exercises (not jumping jacks but drills involving high stools, boxes, hurdles, etc.) are encouraged for muscle-building athletes as an adjunct to their weight lifting, then why not also do jumping from the upper portion of the body for a similar recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fiber?
In order to clap, imagine how strong the back must be to pull this off. Forces are amplified as the hands return to the pull-up bar.
The top position, then, of the pull-up is intensified and requires more strength when it follows a clap, when compared to just simply rising up there and then lowering.
You can have all the agility in the world, but in the end, strength and muscle power are needed to perform the clapping. When you build strength and power, you build size.
Another way of looking at the whole entire pull-up concept is that, as mentioned, this action is not what our body is designed to do, so imagine the shock to your muscle fibers when they are forced to do something so unnatural.
They have no choice but to get hard, thick and big. Ever notice that anyone who can knock off every pull-up variation in the book has spectacular back musculature?
The wider the grip, the more latissimus recruitment. The narrower the grip, the more arm recruitment. Regardless of grip, the lats (and other back muscles), arms and shoulders play a big role.
And by the way, if you’ve been wondering why your biceps haven’t been growing despite vast amounts of time spent doing concentration curls, preacher curls, cable curls, spider curls, etc., start doing some pull-ups (include a lot of chin-ups and neutral hand placements to recruit more of the biceps).
And then over time, as you get stronger with the pull-ups, see what happens to your biceps.
In fact, ever notice the bulging biceps of Olympic male gymnasts, who do tons of pulling-from-hanging positions?
You need not train like a gymnast to grow impressive biceps, but the point is clear:
Pulling from hanging positions will not only stimulate back growth, but biceps growth, especially when you add some clapping.