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Pull ups vs chin ups

Pull ups vs chin ups

I’ve seen a lot of discussion and misinformation recently on pull ups and chin ups.

So I’m here to clear up any confusion and highlight the differences for everyone via this blog and demo video at the bottom.

First of all Pull ups and chin ups are not the same thing.

Unlike push ups and press ups which are two different names for the same exercise, pull ups and chin ups are two different names for two different exercises.

So what’s the difference?


The main difference between pull ups and chin ups is grip.

Pull ups are done with a pronated (overhand grip) where your palms face away from you, whereas chin ups are done with a supinated (underhand) grip where your palms face towards you.

Pull ups also tend to be done with a wider grip and chin ups with a narrower grip.

The pull

The actual pulling movement also differs between the two exercises.

During pull ups the elbows come up and down from the side.

In chin ups the elbows come up and down from the front.

Muscles worked

Due to the differences in grip and elbow position, different muscles are worked during each movement.

Both movements will target the lats and biceps regardless however each will favour one of the muscle groups slightly more.

Chin ups will work your biceps more than pull ups due to elbow position, this of course means that pull ups will work your lats more than chin ups.

Muscles worked are also dependant on grip, a narrower grip puts more emphasis on the biceps and a wider grip better targets the back.

The differences in movement and muscles worked mean that most people tend to find chin ups a lot easier to do than pull ups.

I’m not saying that one movement is better than the other and both can be very effective, they just have slightly different techniques and should be applied slightly differently.

Happy pull ups….or chin ups!

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