Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

Pull-ups and chin-ups are two different exercises that target the same muscle group-the upper back, shoulders, and arms. The fundamental difference is in how your hands grip. With a Pull Up your palms face away from you, which means they’re facing the ground. With a Chin Up, your palms face towards you with your thumbs wrapped around the bar. The beauty of these two types of exercise is that they both work well for building strength and developing lean muscles. So which one should you do? Keep reading to find out!

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The Difference Between a Pull Up and Chin Up

Many people don’t understand that pull-ups and chin-ups are different. The use of their names as interchangeable is wrong. There are actually many differences and advantages between them, and you’d need to know all of them, so you decide what is really best for you.

This article should apply to both lat pulls in the same way as pulling ups. It’s also a common training exercise used to show you are at a certain strength and body fitness level. This is why each fitness routine built will always contain some sort of pull-ups or push-ups.

The Major Differences Between Chin-Ups and Pull-Ups

The main difference occurs when you grip the bar. Chinups are performed with hands facing your back. Pull-ups target the whole upper abdomen. Changes in the grip pose also result in grip flexing and grip strength.

Using a bar for your back and pulling up on it is a great way to work out your back. However, you can also use the same bar to do chin-ups. The difference between the two exercises is that in a pull-up, you’ll be in a supine position with both palms facing away from you while gripping onto the bar at shoulder height, and in a chin up, your palms will face towards you when gripping the bar.

This article will look at how to do each exercise correctly, what muscles are targeted by each exercise, and which one is better for what scenario.

Let’s start with pull-ups.

Pull-Ups

The pull-up is an upper-body compound exercise that involves gripping a bar and performing the motion of pulling your chest towards it.

There are two types of grip you can use when doing a pull-up: pronated and supinated. In a pronated grip, your palms face away from you as they would during a chin-up. This targets your upper back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi (also known as ‘lats’).

There are two types of grip you can use when doing a pull-up: pronated and supinated. In a pronated grip, your palms face away from you as they would during a chin-up. This targets your upper back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi (also known as ‘lats’).

In a supinated grip, your palms face towards you like they would in a chin up. This targets your biceps more than the pull-up does. A mixture of both grip types evens the exercise, so it isn’t targeted too much in either direction.

As a result, a combination of grip types can help deliver a more balanced body workout. For example, you could use a pronated overhand grip to work one side of your upper back and a supinated underhand grip on the other side for a more even workout.

Wide-grip pull-ups will have a slightly higher emphasis on lats recruitment. A problem occurs if the hands are broad and the biceps are shifted to mechanically disadvantaged positions. This is coupled with the fact that when being held up, your hands are pronated – something to be taken away, for example, by using an extra bicep muscle. Suppose a person holds the bar with a large grip, the adducting capacity on shoulder joints increases, which can cause an increase in the lats recruitment. Compare that to a chin-up hold where the elbow is forward.

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Neutral Grip

Pull-ups with a neutral grip usually seem easier than pull-ups and chin-ups. This is because your arms can be recruited more easily when you use a neutral grip. Most men tend to be more prone to do pull and traction exercises if they have an arm in place of a back. The best aid for the brachiolar and bicepatis part of exercising is essential because they work with neutral-grip weight. For example, a towel chin-up is the easiest method to perform a towel-up to a towel grip using a forearm.

When is the Pull-Up Most Useful?

The pull-up is most useful when you’re trying to strengthen your upper back, especially your lats. It’s also suitable for developing core strength in your abs and lower back. These are all essential for any sports which require arm or shoulder movements, such as boxing, swimming, weightlifting, and baseball.

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When is the chin-up most useful?

The chin-up targets your bicep muscles more than the pull-up does, mainly if you focus on pulling with your elbows. A chin-up is also easier to perform than a pull-up because you can use more of your body weight in it, making it an effective exercise if you’re starting with strength training.

If you’re looking to target your biceps in particular, then chin-ups are the way to go. However, if your focus is on building upper body strength and muscle mass in your back, pull-ups are the better choice for this type of workout.

Chin Ups

A chin-up is a fitness workout exercise that uses your entire body weight to focus on the upper body and core. A bodyweight movement is generally easier than bodyweight moves. The lack of upper back flexibility might help people cope with chin raises. The reason for chin-ups is because they position your arms and reduce the risk of injuries. Doing chin-ups will also strengthen your grip and shape. Using basic techniques, you will perform chin-ups easier for better posture and weight lifting.

When is the Chin Up Most Useful?

Chin-ups work by targeting your bicep muscles more than the pull-up does, especially if you focus on pulling with your elbows. A chin-up is also easier to perform than a pull-up because you can use more of your body weight in it, which makes it an effective exercise if you’re starting with strength training.

If you’re looking to target your biceps in particular, then chin-ups are the way to go. However, if your focus is on building upper body strength and muscle mass in your back, pull-ups are the better choice for this type of workout.

Chin Up and Pull Up Grip Techniques

For beginners, it may be hard to achieve shoulder adductions, so it’s better to start with your hands shoulder-width apart. As you engage your core and become stronger, you can increase your grip distance gradually. The longer you have that tight grip, the more work they do on you. The same can be said for chin raises, where a narrow grip emphasizes the biceps. A strong grip will help you get more exercise and get more restful. This doesn’t apply to chine-up exercises. The tight hold puts more strain on the hands of the body.

Is one better than the other?

Both exercises are practical for strengthening the muscles in your upper back, but it will depend on what you’re looking to get out of your workout. If you want to focus on building biceps strength and muscle mass, then chin-ups are good! If, however, your goal is to strengthen your lats and improve overall upper body strength…then definitely look into pull-ups!

Both exercises are great, but it depends on how you use them properly. Chin-ups target your biceps and concentrate on building muscle mass, which is perfect if that’s what you’re looking to do, and pull-ups will help strengthen your lats more than the chin up. Either exercise will lead to positive results in your workout.

So, if you’re a beginner looking to build muscle mass in your arms, then chin-ups are for you! If, however, you want to work on strengthening your back and building upper body strength…then definitely look into pull-ups!

Differences in Which Muscles Get Worked

There will be slight differences in how the muscles are utilized. Since chin-ups place your biceps in better pulls, they hit your biceps slightly harder than the pull-up. In contrast, pull-ups can hurt lats harder. There also needs to be a wide grip here too. The lower the grip, the more your bicep muscles get trained. A wide grip lowers the level of your bicep training. If you do exercises where you use your back and neck, it may be easier to pull up on the upper hand.

Differences in Movement

Pull-ups work by using shoulder adduction when the elbows come down and back from the side. Chin-ups, however, use shoulder extension. The difference is not enormous, and this does not mean that one exercise is better or worse than the other. It merely implies that both of these exercises also work out the lats in slightly different ways. If your goal is to build muscle, become stronger, and avoid overuse injury, it can make the exercise much easier.

How Do I Make Sure I'm Doing Good Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups?

If you’re doing a chin-up, the bottom of your rib cage should be at least parallel to the ground throughout.

If you’re doing a pull-up, your chin should be over the bar so that when you lower yourself back down, your arms are fully extended, and there’s space between your chest and thighs.

It would help if you always did both exercises correctly, so you get the most out of your workout.

Also, don’t forget that rest is an important part of working out! Make sure you schedule daily breaks and time off to help your body develop properly. This will help ensure that your muscles recover and grow stronger, which lets you keep putting in the hard work at the gym to see results.

Why not do both?

Chin-ups and pull-ups can be done using a bar at home or the gym. You can alternate between the two or do both in one workout for a well-balanced upper body routine.

Final Verdict: Chin-Up or Pull-Up?

The answer to this question depends on what your aims are. If you want to focus more on back muscle development and increasing strength in the upper body, then pull-ups are for you! This is because they target your lats more than chin-ups, allowing you to engage your back muscles in the movements.

However, if you’re looking to build muscle mass in your arms, then chin-ups are for you! Pull-ups are great for strengthening and developing lean muscle tissue but will not affect building that bicep bulk.

Exercise experts say doing pull-ups or chin-ups work your lats, back muscles, and biceps. If you want to increase strength, you’ll get started by doing chin-ups (shapings on the hips/neckline). Also, pulling up should be the best option to start working on lats.

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