How Pull Up is Different From Chin Up?

If you are asking any strength coach or trainer which exercises are on the top 5 list, then majority of them will be including chin ups and/or pull ups. It is universally considered as the best exercise variations for boosting strength and building up muscles in back and biceps.

Do you know how to perform chin up and pull up correctly? Do you know the major differences between these two? Do you know which muscle groups they each work? This write up will help you to find an answer for all these questions and many more as we compare pull ups vs. chin ups.

[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Even though both chin-ups and pull-ups work the whole upper body as a single unit, chin ups help to connect the biceps more, however pull-ups de-emphasize the biceps, supporting the triceps and the upper back.[/quote]

Many people have a misconception that both chin ups and pull ups are the same thing. However, there are certain differences between them and one must know them properly for figuring out which one is best suited for their body.

Chin Ups

Chin-Ups[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Chin up helps to pull your entire body weight up in such a way that the chin is just above the bar.[/quote]

It uses grip with palms facing right towards you, termed as supinated (underhand) grip.

Image Courtesy: Flickr

Performing a Chin Up

For performing chin up, first you have to place both your hands on the bar with the palms facing on to your shoulder width (same direction as you are in). Now try to cross one leg behind the other and then slightly hang from bar.

Contract the elbows and shoulder blades in such a way that you should be able to pull your chest in the direction of the bar and continue the same until you see your chin above the bar. Now gradually come back to the original position (do not completely extend your elbow) and then repeat the same process.

Pull Ups

Pull-Ups[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]A pull up in simple terms can be called as a multi-joint upper body workout.[/quote]

One of the most standard explanations of this workout is the one which make uses overhand (pronated) grip, with the palms facing against you. Even though many other forms of grips are used, this is considered as the standard one.

For more information, click on the link below:

Image Courtesy: Flickr

Performing a Pull Up

Hold the bar with the palms in the direction opposite to you and cross one of your legs behind the other and then hang from the exercise bar. Contract the elbows and your shoulders in such a way that you should pull your chest in the direction of the bar.

Continue the same pattern until the chin is just above the bar. Now slowly try to bring back the body to the initial stage and make sure that you don’t completely extend the elbow. Repeat the same steps again.

Is There Any Difference between A Pull Up and A Chin Up?

The main factor which differentiates pull ups from chin ups is the kind of hand grip used. In pull ups, the common grip width is a little wider when compared with the shoulder width, whereas in chin ups the common grip width is the shoulder width.

Both of them are considered as excellent compound workouts, which mean that they can make multiple muscles work simultaneously, particularly those muscles in the arms, shoulders and your back.

On the other hand, owing to this kind of change in grip, the primary effort focus will be changing from one area of muscle to some another.

The next difference between the two is with the movement. As both type of exercises occurs with pulling movement on vertical plane, they target specifically at the lats (right on the back) and biceps, however they operate in a different way.

Shoulder adduction is typically employed in pull ups where the elbows moves back and down from their sides.

Pull ups typically use shoulder adduction, where the elbows come down and back from the sides. However, chin ups make use of shoulder extension in which the elbows will be coming down and the back from the front.

There is also a difference in strength factors when it comes to chin up vs. pull up. Chin up workouts will help to place the biceps in a strong line of pull and due to the same majority of the population will most often be stronger at chin ups in comparison with pull ups.

Again, there is also a difference in the muscles which are involved during workouts. Both chin ups and pull ups will train your lats or back and your biceps primarily. Nevertheless, there are certain differences in the amount in which the muscles are getting trained.

When compared, the chin ups will help to make the biceps stronger than pull up. On the contrary, pull ups will hit the lats stronger. In addition, grip width is also playing a major role here. Narrower the grip width is, the more you can train the biceps.

For further information, click on the link below:

Muscles Involved In Chin ups

The muscles which are involved in chin ups may include: primary muscle groups (biceps, lats and outer back), secondary muscle groups (upper back) and the auxiliary muscles (chest / pecs and forearms).

Apart from this, certain main muscles will also be working, which in turn will engage for stabilization.

Muscles Involved In Pull ups

Muscle groups which are involved in pull ups may include primary muscles (outer back and lats), secondary muscles (upper back and biceps) and auxiliary muscles (chest / pecs and forearms).

The most highlighted part of pull ups is that, you can adjust the grip for varying the muscles worked, like a wider one will make your lats stronger. However, going too wider is not good as you may not be able to get the full range of movement.


Finally speaking, a pull up is always a pull up, whether you are performing reverse grip, overhand grip or an opposing grip. Many people choose different grip levels for getting better with different movements. However, before choosing, it is always better to know how it is performed. Always remember, you should not just perform the exercise, perform it well.

Just like with any other good exercise program, you will be using a combination of techniques. So mix them well for getting better and quick results.

Anupama Pradeep

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: