Featured Exercises: Differences Between a Chin-Up & Pull-Up

Pulling movements are a smart exercise option when trying to increase strength or size for the back muscles. For best results, adding a vertical and horizontal pull to your strength program, would be prudent. A few examples of a vertical pull are lat pulldown or pull-up. In regard to a horizontal pull, a few examples would be a barbell bent-over row and a T-bar row. This article will focus on the vertical pull only, highlighting both chin-up and pull-up exercises.

Difference Between Chin-Up and Pull-Up

The first glaring difference between both exercises is hand placement. The chin-up is performed with an underhand or supinated grip. This type of grip engages the biceps, pectoralis muscles, the lats and core as well as the medial head of the triceps. Conversely, a pull-up uses an overhand or pronated grip, making it more challenging of the two, because of less bicep activation. In terms of grip, it’s easy to differentiate them, pronation refers to an overhand grip while a supinated grip is an underhand grip. Finally, the chin-up places more emphasis on the arms and chest. While a pull-up will stress the back and shoulders more. Check out this great website for a chin-up/pull-up assessment guide at strengthlevel.com

How to Perform a Chin-Up

How to Perform a Pull-Up

Final Thought

For the best results, try adding a few sets of each exercise to your next strength training program. Following that, focus on only chin-ups in a routine followed by strictly pull-ups after that. For those who have difficulty doing either exercise, try doing an inverted row and/or use an assisted chin-up/pull-up machine. You also have the option of using a rubber band which allows you to work with a percentage of bodyweight. This easily get attached to any pull-up bar. You then step or kneel into it and perform either exercise using a percentage of your bodyweight.

Stay Strong Together

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