What Is The Major Difference Between Pull-ups Vs Chin-Ups? (2019)

Chip-ups vs-pull-ups

We are going to learn today about what is the difference between pull-ups vs chin-ups. I think this question is worth knowing.

In fact, when it comes to chip ups vs pull-ups are one of the most difficult bodyweight movements, especially, for beginners, providing an intense challenge regardless of strength levels.

Along with difficult exercises, this is one of the great workouts which puts a huge emphasis on major muscles in the upper back like the lats and builds your thick back. That is why I also recommend doing pull-ups, chip or lat pull-down movement.

However, with so many variations, it is hard to find out which one is best for your individual goals. But don’t worry, we will discuss later in this post.

The problem is that many people don’t realize to pull-ups and chin-ups are not the same thing, and they use their name interchangeably which is quite wrong.

Although there are actually quite a few differences pros/cons between them, and you must know them all to figure out which one is best for you.

Let’s now understand the major difference between pull-ups vs chin-ups.

The Grip

When it comes to grip, the biggest difference between pull up and chin up is of a grip:-


pull-ups vs chin-ups

Pull-ups are basically done with both hands in an overhand (pronated) grip slightly wider than shoulder apart, it is considered to be the most difficult angle.

Why wide grip?

Because the wide grip isolates your lats, taking away much emphasis from the biceps.


chin up

This is basically a supinated (understand) grip, the chip up utilizes more of the biceps than its wider-grip. As moves are involved to pull the body over the bar.

However, it still targets the upper back, lifters may have a hard time engaging and isolating their lats during the motion. The most common grip width is shoulder width.

However, there are few other less common variations called neutral grip-

Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

Neutral Grip Pull-Ups

In fact, when it comes to performing neutral-grip pull-ups or neutral-grip chin-ups some prefer calling it.

And this is going to heavily involve your brachialis, the muscle on the outside of your arm.

However, people tend to find neutral-grip pull-ups that are easier than regular chin-ups and pull-ups. Because of the neutral-grip position you get by far the most recruitment from your arm muscles.

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Pull-Ups For Beginners

The chip ups put your biceps in a stronger line of pull, so most people will generally be stronger at chip-ups than pull-ups.

For instance, like if you are doing normally 10 chip-ups, you may only be able to do 6 pull-ups, and if you are simply using a lat pull-down machine with these grips or doing pull chin ups/pull ups with some added weight, you will see often that you can easily use more weight with chin ups than hanging pull-ups.

Likewise, Most of the beginners you will find that they’re able to perform a chin-up before they move to do a pull-up.

However, it depends on strength or previous experience training, but if you are utter fresh, and you’ve not any experienced in the past, so, chin-ups will be your stronger exercise.

Movement Differences

In fact, both exercising techniques work in a vertical pulling movement plane, and they both mainly target the back particularly biceps and lats.

But keep in mind, pull-ups use shoulder addiction, where both elbows come down and back from the sides.

But chin-ups use shoulder extension, where the elbows come down and back from the front.

However, difference isn’t pretty huge and it doesn’t make one exercise worse or better than the other.

So, muscle movement during a pull-up is different than during a chip-ups. So, if your goal is to build muscles or get stronger, avoid overuse injuries, and It might be a good idea to use both exercises interchangeably and include them in your workout evenly.

Muscles Are Working

However, I have mentioned but here look at a bit more detailed.

When it comes to muscles working, both chin-ups and pull-ups target the biceps, lats, and traps, but chin ups put your biceps in a stronger line of pull, they will hit your biceps much harder than pull-ups.

However, recent research has shown that the difference is not as huge as it was originally thought.

Here are the muscles that target mainly during this movement. Have a look at it.

1. Biceps- The main function is elbow supination, flexion, and forearm supination. Like when you pull up, there is elbow extension involved, but not supination.

So, when you want to hit the biceps harder, you should go for chin-ups, but keep in mind, during pull-ups the biceps are working.

2. Traps- The only thing that matters most in the trap training is scapular movement, and both pull-ups and chin-ups target your traps.

But during pull-ups, because of increased effort as compared to chin-ups your traps are more activated.

3. Lats- When it comes to lats, there is no big difference between pull-ups vs chin-ups. The only matters the most is the width of the grip.

With lats, you can either target upper lats or low lats. In the first scenario, it is best for a wide-grip pull-up, and in the second scenario, a close-grip chin-up is a better option.

On the other hand. when it comes to additional upper back muscle, like teres major, they are more activated during a pull-up.

Differences In Comfort And Safety

As far as the safety concerned, both pull-ups and chip-ups are absolutely perfect and safe unless and until you are doing with proper form.

Even I have seen so many stupid things during these exercises in the gym, I would want to simply say to focus on proper form always.

Also, some other things you have to keep in mind with these exercises in order to avoid any injury.

For beginners, any type of chin up, pull up or lat pull-down basically are done behind the neck is likely to be the worst things you can do for shoulder health.

However, most of the people do it for many years without any single problem, but many people do it in an incorrect way and develop problems in the long run. I don’t suggest doing beginners without any guidance or coaching.

On the other hand, a very wide pull- up grip is another big cause of shoulder injuries. However, there are many so-called “Guruji” and coaches tend to think the more wide grip, the more wide lats, OMG, seriously? “Big no”.

For your kind information, a very wide grip only means a very reduced range of motion as well as a very high risk of shoulder problems over time. Even neither I use a grip any wider than slightly shoulder width nor I recommend anyone.

Most importantly, If you’ve been any past shoulder history problems, you may find that chin-up grip is a little comfortable and less stressful on their shoulders than a pull-up grip.

On top of that, some people may find that a pull-up is much comfortable for their forearms and wrists than a chip-up grip.

However, when it comes to the most overall comfortable and safe grip for people is a neutral grip. Because your hand’s position is natural at it.

Why Should You Do Pull-ups or Chin-ups

What I like about these bodyweight exercises is that they are a good reality check.

Like, if someone has poor strength and they are not about to move their own body weight through space or not good at, they’re going to have a hard time when it comes to doing chip-ups or pull-ups.

For instance, if a person can lat-pull down with a lot of weight but has poor body structure/composition and he’s over-weight, he will definitely find pull-ups and chin-ups to be very difficult to perform.

So, if you want to develop the strength of your upper body mainly, do pull-ups or chin-ups.

Pull-Ups vs Chin-Ups- Which Is The Better For You?

Honestly speaking I like both exercises to give some different variation. But pull-ups are done with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip more than any other type of lat pull-down or chin-up variation.

Noe, when it comes to which variation is better, the truth is, there is no right or wrong answer because it completes depends on the individual to individuals.

But personally what I recommend to make it safest. Do it using a mix of different grips.

Workout Plan For Pull Ups And Chin Ups

In order to build your back plus increase your strength, incorporate both pull-ups and chin-ups into your current routine multiple times throughout the week.

They are very good for increasing with good nutrition. Also, make sure to do some lightweight warm-up exercises prior to a lifting session.

Direction To Perform

You can perform the following either pull-up or chip-up at the beginning of your workout. Also, make sure to allow at least 2 days in between sessions for your upper body to recover.

Here is sample workout plan to hit specifically your pull-ups and chin-ups Let’s one month have a look at-


Day-1 Pullup (3 sets of 5 reps)
Day-2 Chinups ( 3 sets of 8-10 or 12 reps)
Day-3 Pullup, pyramid (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) Start with the first two reps, the take 45-60 sec rest before doing four reps. Then continue 6, 8, and 10 reps. Make sure your form is good.


Day-1 Pullup (3 sets of 5 reps)
Day-2 Chinups ( 3 sets of 8-10 or 12 reps)
Day-3 Pullup, pyramid (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) Try to increase the number of sets than a previous week.

Like last week we hit the first 2 reps, so this week do it to the 4 reps and repeat the same process as I mentioned above. That is how you do it on the 3rd and 4th week.


Day-1 Pullup (3 sets of 5 reps)
Day-2 Chinups ( 3 sets of 8-10 or 12 reps)
Day-3 Pullup, pyramid (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) Try to increase the number of sets than a previous week.

Week- 4

Day-1 Pullup (3 sets of 5 reps)
Day-2 Chinups ( 3 sets of 8-10 or 12 reps)
Day-3 Pullup, pyramid (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) Try to increase the number of sets than a previous week.


Keep in mind, this workout schedule is not for the very beginners. If you have a little experienced already, you can definitely give it a short to avail of this schedule in order to increase overall strength if you find it hard to pull-ups or chin-ups.

This was the complete guide of “pull-ups vs chin-ups” I hope it finds useful to you, and make it clear about the difference. Still, if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask below. Thanks

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About Manish Upadhyay

My health paradise is committed to bringing some change and awareness in human life about Health and Fitness related info based on science. Here i will provide you about workouts tips, medical conditions, lifestyle and fitness news articles, much more. Stay tuned!

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