Chin-Up vs Pull-Up: How to Incorporate Them in Your Training Program
Chin-up vs pull-up, what’s better? Just as importantly, why are they necessary for your training program? And how can you build up enough upper-body strength to be able to perform them?
These are frequently asked questions when it comes to strength training. chin-ups and pull-ups are said to be some of the hardest bodyweight exercises in the world. Naturally, people are going to question their efficacy.
At first glance, you’re pulling your entire body up with just your arms. However, if you know much about human anatomy, you understand that the majority of your pulling power comes from your back.
Regardless, being able to do pull-ups and chin-ups has multiple benefits. Not only are they some of the most effective training tools for building upper body strength and muscle mass, but they also come with bragging rights. Now imagine being able to do weighted pull-ups.
It may sound far-fetched, but there’s no reason why you can’t do it in time. Keep reading for everything you need to know training with chin-ups and pull-ups.
The Benefits of Chin-ups and Pull-ups
One of the most important learning objectives is to identify why chin-ups and pull-ups are so beneficial. As noted above, they are two of the most effective exercises of any bodybuilding training program to build strength and mass in your arms and back.
While curls are commonly seen as the bicep-builder, doing chin-ups is far more effective. But why are pull-ups and chin-ups so effective?
Whether you prefer a chin-up vs pull-up or vice versa, you’re performing a compound exercise. Compound exercises are those that use multiple joints and multiple muscle groups.
As such, these allow us to lift more weight for greater muscle activation. Furthermore, compound exercises teach our muscles to work together, creating balance and symmetry. pull-ups and chin-ups use the elbow and shoulder joints and the arm, shoulder, and back muscles.
Do Them Anywhere
Additionally, training with pull-ups and chin-ups is ideal for anyone. Whether you’re working out at the gym, at home, or at a park near a jungle gym, you can do these exercises just about anywhere.
However, please be safe with these. We recommend NOT using the tension mounted bar, as it commonly becomes dislodged mid-pull-up.
Chin-up Vs Pull-up: What’s the Difference?
Now the big question, whats the difference between a chin-up vs pull-up?
Mostly, it comes down to hand position. However, with each different hand position, you’re also working slightly different muscles. Additionally, some variants are easier than others.
The chin-up is performed with an underhand grip (supinated) with your palms facing your face. Typically, chin-ups call for a narrow grip width, though you can adjust your hands as wide or as narrow as you want. The ideal grip for chin-ups is just inside the shoulder joints.
Many people prefer the chin-up vs pull-up because they are easier. Chin-ups use substantially more bicep power. Think of it as being able to use all of your back and all of your biceps to lift your body weight.
The pull-up is performed with an overhand grip (pronated) with your palms facing away from your face. Pull-ups traditionally call for a wider grip, though you can vary your grip width. The ideal pull-up grip places your hands wider than your shoulders and creates a 90-degree angle in your elbows.
Pull-ups are generally harder than chin-ups. This is because they use much less bicep power and force you to rely mostly on your latissimus dorsi muscles. As such, they build bigger, stronger backs with the ideal v-taper.
Alternative Types of Chin-ups and Pull-ups
Aside from traditional chin-ups and pull-ups, you also have other variants of pull-ups. While all pull-ups and chin-ups in a training program work your arms, back, and rear delts, some variants are more comfortable. They also have varying levels of difficulty.
One of the easier variants is called neutral grip pull-ups. This type of pull-up requires a special pull-up bar, one with parallel grips so you can grip the bar with your palms facing one another. Neutral grip pull-ups traditionally use a narrower grip, allowing you to use more bicep power.
You can also do extra-wide grip pull-ups, which focus on shoulder adduction. Then, there are behind-the-head pullups where you use a regular pull-up grip but bring your head up under the bar, rather than over it.
Using Modifiers to Build Upper-Body Strength
Clearly, when training with pull-ups, you need a substantial amount of upper body strength (enough to lift your whole body multiple times). Naturally, most people don’t begin working out with the ability to perform chin-ups or pull-ups on their own.
This leads us to two of the biggest questions in the strength training world. How do you build up enough upper-body strength to be able to do pullups? And what modifiers can you use in a resistance training program that calls for pull-ups and chin-ups?
Fortunately, the answers are one and the same. You can build up your upper-body strength by modifying your training program. Here are your options.
Many gyms carry resistance bands designed to help people perform bodyweight exercises like chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, and muscle ups. These are not the resistance bands with handles used for other strength training exercises, they look like over-sized colored rubber bands. If you don’t work out at a gym, you can find them easily enough online for sale.
You loop the band onto the pull-up bar and step into it with one foot. You can cross your other leg over the looped leg for more support or stability. Bands force you to use your core muscles to stabilize and balance, and in this way, most accurately represent a real pull-up.
Alternatively, some gyms have a pull-up machine with counterweights. You kneel or stand on a platform, which is connected to resistance weight. You choose how much counterweight your want so you can perform the desired number of reps.
This machine is okay, but doesn’t require the use of your core muscles to balance, and takes away the feeling of doing an actual pull-up or chin-up.
One of the absolute best exercises for training and development are negatives. They help build foundational strength, stability, and balance in all exercises.
Whether you’re doing the chin-up vs pull-up or vice versa, negatives are a great way to get your back and arms strong enough to perform the real exercise. Stand under the bar with your hands in position. Then, jump up to full height and lower yourself as slowly as possible.
Note, you’re not trying to hold yourself in a static position. Try to perform as many reps as possible with a three to five-second descent.
How to Use Chin-ups and Pull-ups in Your Training Program
Now, it’s time to answer the next question surrounding the chin-up vs pull-up debate. How do you incorporate these exercises into your training program?
As noted earlier, both chin-ups and pull-ups are great for increasing back strength. However, the chin-up is a much better exercise for getting bigger, stronger biceps. For this reason, you may find it prudent to put chin-ups in your Arm Day routine.
However, pull-ups are one of the best back exercises for your Pull Day workout. Since both chin-ups and pull-ups are compound exercise requiring a lot of energy and effort, they should be placed at the beginning of your workouts.
Weighted Chin-ups and Pull-ups
Once you’re strong enough to do 10 or more pull-ups or chin-ups, you may need to start adding weight to these exercises. This is particularly important if you’re doing a training program that calls for low reps and high weight. Just because pull-ups and chin-ups are bodyweight exercises, it doesn’t mean you can’ make them harder.
Furthermore, because these exercises are so beneficial, adding weight to them will only make them more beneficial. Not only that but doing pull-ups with added weight gives you rare bragging rights.
Nutrition and Supplementation
Finally, as with any bodybuilding program, you need to make sure you’re fueling your body for maximum strength gains and muscle growth. This means consuming enough calories and eating the right foods.
Use a BMR calculator to determine how many calories you burn each day based on your physical characteristics and activity level. Then, give yourself a surplus of a few hundred calories for optimum progress.
However, the food you eat must be high-quality. Center your diet around whole foods, like lean meats and whole-grain carbohydrates. Avoid processed foods, junk food, and high-fat foods.
Finally, look into some strength training supplements to help expedite your results. The right supplements can help you build muscle and recover faster.
Ready to Enhance Your Training Program With Chin-ups and Pull-ups?
So, what’s better between the chin-up vs the pull-up? The answer is neither. They’re both great exercises for building a strong back and arms.
Ultimately it depends on what your goals are and what muscle groups you’re trying to focus on. Pull-ups are better for building a v-taper while chin-ups are better for building big biceps.
For more information, read through some of our other articles before you go. And to look good while hitting the gym, check out some of our ALLMAX apparel. Lastly, to get the most out of your training program, join the ALLMAX VIP club to get exclusive access to the best content and discounts on our products.