Chin Up VS Pull Up

Lazar Angelov
Lazar Angelov
Fitness Model
chin up vs pull up

Whether doing chin ups or pull ups in the gym, you are on the right track to building muscle and increasing your strength. These exercises are considered as one of the best bodybuilding exercises of all time. Wanna develop broad chest and shoulders, stronger arms and core muscles? Great. One of these exercises is your savior then.


Pull ups and chin ups are definitely one of the most difficult fitness exercises. They are not easy to perform. If you want to transform your body you need to use proper technique and form. To figure out whether chin ups or pull ups are truly best for you, you need to know the differences between them.


Once you figure this out don’t expect to see a change in your body after your first workout. Results don’t come overnight. You need to work hard and be consistent. Nobody started by doing 10 pull ups or chin ups in a row. You should focus on consistency. However, if you find it difficult to do pull ups and you are unable to do even one, then you should try chin ups.


So, today you will learn what the differences between chins ups and pull ups are. But first, let’s make sure you know how to properly do them. After all, the only way to activate your muscles is to use proper form.


How to Do Pull Ups with Proper Form

pull ups

Start by grabbing the pull up bar with a full shoulder-width grip. Make sure your palms are facing away. This is the most efficient. Raise your feet off the floor. You can do that by bending your knees. Hang to the pull up bar with straight arms. You are ready now. Breathe out as you pull yourself up by pulling your elbows down to the floor. Ensure your elbows are close. Your goal now is to pass the bar. You need to pull yourself all the way up until your chin is just barely above the bar. Inhale as you lower yourself all the way down until your arms are straight again. Breathe and repeat the pull up.



How to Do Chin Ups with Proper Form

 chin ups

Start by putting your hand on the pull up bar with an underhand grip, which means your palms are facing your body. Place your hands closer than the shoulder width apart. Raise your feet off the floor. Hang to the chin up bar with straight arms. Ensure your torso is as straight as possible. Breathe out as you raise your body. Pull yourself up until your chin is slightly above the bar. Use your biceps muscles and once you reach the top, squeeze the biceps in the contracted position. Breathe in as you lower yourself all the way down until your arms are straight. Repeat.


So, now you know how to do chin ups and pull ups properly and we are ready to begin with the differences. Chin up vs Pull up. Gosh, that’s a hard one.


Here are the main differences...


Difference Between Chin Ups and Pull Ups


To begin with, you must know that there are performing differences, such as grip, width apart and muscles worked. One of the main differences, however, is the muscle group both exercises target. Knowing which muscle groups are stimulated when doing one of these exercises is essential for making the thought choice “Shall I do push ups or chin ups in my regular workout routine?”


Well, let me give you the necessary information. Some of the variation of the pull up and chin up exercise influence some muscle groups more than others. I am sure you are with me on this one.


Here’s the interesting part. Both exercises work the:


  • Latissimus dorsi – the flat, triangle-shaped muscle on your back that stretches out to the sides of your body that moves your upper arms closer to your body.
  • Trapezius – the broad, flat muscle extending from the occipital bone at the base of the skull all the way to the middle of the back that shrugs the shoulders and bends the neck straight back.
  • Biceps brachii- the large two-headed muscle of the arm main muscle used for pulling yourself up. The main function of the biceps is at the elbow where it flexes the forearm.
  • Pectoralis major – the thick, fan-shaped muscle that makes up the bulk of the chest muscles.
  • Pectoralis minor – the thin triangular muscle that stabilizes the scapula.
  • Teres major – the thick, flattened muscle of the upper limb that assists in the extension and medial rotation of the upper arm.




And here’s the big but. The muscle group that you activate depends on the grip you use.

You see, before I started writing this article, I asked a few friends of mine on this matter, all of whom are either bodybuilders or fitness instructors. It was a heated discussion which grip is the most efficient, according to the goal one has. So, to cut it short, here’s the conclusion we came to.


  • Close-Grip Chin ups work the upper lats, while wide-grip pull ups target the lower lats, rather than the upper lats.
  • Standard Pull Ups are best for traps development. Especially, if you do it with your palms facing down, then you work the latissimus dorsi and the biceps. However, if your palms are facing out, then you work the deltoids and triceps more.
  • Close-Grip Chin Ups are much more effective than pull ups when it comes to activating the biceps.


To be honest, I’ve always found chin ups more challenging and harder to do than pull ups. You are forced to lift your own-body weight and that is not easy. In my case, they are also better for my workouts.


So, here’s the bottom line…


I know how challenging these exercises are. Trust me. Despite being difficult, both chin ups and push ups are a great way to build up strength and muscle in your upper body. Determine what your goal is and focus on the right exercises. Only then you will improve your arms, chest, back and core muscles.


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