Pullups vs Chinups: The BIG Differences!!


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. The Pull Up or the Chin Up? Which one’s better? Well, how about we cover them both and talk
about everything we need to know about these 2 exercises. Right off the bat understanding the difference
between the 2 is critically important. When we’re talking about our Pull Ups, we’re
talking about an overhand grip up here on the bar. And when we’re talking about a Chin Up, the
hands are facing us this way. Now, it doesn’t matter which exercise you
do. We’re not trying to call one out versus the
other. There are some common things that are great about both of these exercises. First and foremost, they’re recognized as
the king of the bodyweight exercises. And some will even argue that they’re the king
of the upper body exercise when you weight them. Number 2. It’s an incredible back and core
stabilizer. We’ve talked about it so many times. As a matter of fact in one of our most recent
videos, how important the lats are to stabilize the body for the bigger lift so that you can start to lift more on your
Deadlifts, in your Squats, on your Bent Rows. Thirdly, it’s a great indicator of your body
composition and where you’re sitting at the moment. Big guys can struggle doing Pull Ups, but
that’s usually big, fat guys. Big, muscular guys can do Pull Ups. They really
can. It doesn’t matter that they’re pulling a lot
more weight, proportionally, they should be strong enough to be able to handle that. I’ve got 250 pound athletes that can do Muscle
Ups, let alone Pull Ups. So we have to understand that if we are big
and struggling with our Pull Ups, we might want to start looking at our body
comp and working on reducing all that excess body fat. Alright now, if you want to start getting
into the ‘one versus the other’, we really can do this very simply. We have to break down the exercise into the
motions that we can understand and relate them to so we know what’s going on. When we look at a Pull Up, again, I talked
about, we have a hands over, an overhand grip. Now whether that’s thumbless or whether the
thumbs are wrapped around the bar, that’s more of a technique thing. I find that if we leave the thumb off the
bar, we now have our hands act as hooks and we can initiate the pull from our lat’s
more where we can actually take advantage of the strength of those big muscles. And then we know on the underhand grip here
for a Chin Up, that we’re getting the added benefit of our biceps to actually contribute
to the exercise as well. So, when people say, ‘Which is better?’, it’s
not which is better. One sort of hits the biceps preferentially
whereas the other one, if done right, will hit the lats preferentially. So it looks, it’s more about, ‘What is the
focus of your training at the moment?’ and it should always be both. You should always be doing both Pull Ups AND
Chin Ups in your workouts, but it goes beyond that. We have narrow-grip overhand. We have wide-grip
overhand. We have elbows in line with our body. We have elbows in front of us, right. We have,
again, a narrow-grip Chin Up. What are the differences between those? Well,
guys, it all comes down to understanding the contributions of the biceps to the exercise. So, what I always like to do is show you how
to do it with dumbbells. If you were to take a pair of dumbbells here, right. We know that one of the easier ways to do
Curls, we have a regular underhand Curl, ok. This is a Chin Up. That position there is a Chin Up. We have
the added advantage of being able to pull with our biceps. Ok, great. Now, we know we can go this way to a Hammer
Curl. Well, Hammer Curls are even easier than the Underhand Chin Up. Why? Because we get another advantage of our
brachialis muscle that contributes so that we have an even better strength advantage
here that allows us to pull. So, neutral grip is even easier than an under-grip
Chin Up. And then we put ourselves in this Pull Up position and we’re out there. Basically, our hands and arms are way out
to the side. Try to take a dumbbell out here all the way out to the side and curl up. And they become so much harder because I’ve
basically taken the bicep and put it at a mechanical disadvantage. So, when we come out here, that’s what’s happening.
But you’ll see that guys will still cheat in their Pull Ups. They cheat by taking their arms and creeping
them more and more and more forward. See, if you want to do a straight Pull Up,
guys, make sure those elbows are right in line with your body pointing towards you. Now, when I go up to the bar as I show you
here, you can see that I’m maximally working my back. I’m maximally working my lower traps to help
stabilize and drive my body up to the bar. I don’t really have much contribution from
our arms. But if I go into this forward position here,
you can see that basically all I’m doing as I do this Pull Up is, I’m involving those
biceps and that Hammer Curl help again. So it’s supposed to be a little bit easier,
but is it more effective? No, not if you’re trying to maximize the strength of your back. Again, now we move into the Chin Ups and the
same thing. We know that getting the arms and elbows in front of us is going to really
make it easier. And the biceps are at a great mechanical advantage
to contribute to that. So, again, that exercise becomes easier. Back to the overhand. Get your hands way out
wide and try to pull down. You’re not getting nearly as much elbow flexion as you are when
you come in here. So, again, limiting the contribution of those
upper arm muscles to the move. Ok, so whichever version of this exercise
you decide to do, your Chin Ups or your Pull Ups, you’ve got to figure out where you’re at strength
wise and figure out where you can go from there to make sure you’re getting the most
out of it. I know that some guys can bang out Pull Ups
or Chin Ups all day long and others struggle to do even a single one. So let’s start on the low end. If you’re one
of those guys that can’t do a single rep, you’ve got to start somewhere, right. And the first thing that I always recommend
is starting with Inverted Rows. You’re putting the position of your body against gravity, a little bit more favorably than you would
with a Pull Up, where you have to pull your entire bodyweight directly against the force
of gravity. Here we have the ability to put our feet flat
on the ground to unweight our body a little bit. And start training our back to be able
to pull us against the force of gravity. Pull your own bodyweight. It’s a great starting
point. But from there you can transition, if you
have access to, what I’m showing you here, a Kneeling Lat Pulldown. Again, we can control the amount of weight
that we’re pulling here, so we’re not pulling full bodyweight here. We’re using a percentage of our bodyweight.
But we’re getting ourselves in a position where we have to rely on core stability here
to keep our body upright, we can control the position of the elbows,
as I’ve said, we don’t have to have them float forward, we can keep them back in line. And it really allows us to move our weight
up to where we can handle. But once you’re ready to hit the bar, you hit the bar first
with your eccentric only reps. Why is that? Because we know the eccentrically
you’re going to be stronger than you are isometrically. At that point, when we’re able to control
a 5 to 6 second descent on multiple reps, then we go into just a basic isometric. We pull ourselves up to the bar and hold for
at least 10 seconds and make sure that our chin stays above. When we feel that we’ve mastered all those
levels, we then can break out the assisted band. Step into the band, come up to the bar
and unweight some of your body. But now again, you’re unweighting some of
your body in a real pulp environment, different than you were on the Lat Pulldown. You work up here until you can manage multiple
reps, and then if you want to try to start getting yourself out of the band and attempting
full Pull Ups, you can do that. Now on the opposite side of the spectrum,
you should be able to pull up a lot of damn weight, Why do I say that? Because you want to be balanced, front to
back. It’s not all about the front side guys. We’ve got to make sure that we’re balancing
up our upper body pushing power, with our upper body pulling power, if we want to avoid injuries and keep our
shoulders nice and healthy. So what’s the gauge for this? You want to
be able to do at least 20% more than you can in your bench press, at whatever given rep
range. So let’s say you’re a 200 pound guy and you’re
doing 225 for 5 reps, ok on your bench press, just throwing out a number. 20% of that would be an additional 50 pounds.
You add that on top of that, that’s 275 pounds that you should be able to do for 5 reps of
a Pull Up. Well if you’re a 200 pound guy, you need to
put 75 pounds of plates, hanging below you, just like I showed you a couple weeks ago
in our back workout, with up to 90 pounds I had, and you want to start cranking out at least
5 reps. If you can do that, you know you’ve got a
good equality between your frontside and backside strength, and that’s going to be critically important,
for like I said, maintaining the health of your shoulders. So whatever the rep range is that you’re working
in your bench press, you want try to be able to match that on the backside with your Pull
Ups. So there you have it guys. Pull Ups, Chin
Ups, it doesn’t really matter. They’re both great exercises, they both belong in your
workout program. They’re both a very big part of the ATHLEANX
Training System. But knowing how to do them, knowing the differences between the two. The nuances of the elbow angles, it really
helps to understand what you’re doing. And if you don’t have a knowledge of what you’re
doing when you go to the gym, I always say, you’re just working out, you’re
not training. We try to let you train. Because when you train you see results much
faster, and when you train like an athlete, you get a chance to see results even faster
than that. We do that guys, with the ATHLEANX Training
System. If you haven’t already, head to ATHLEANX.COM right now and get our Training System. It’s available there and we even have a completely
Bodyweight Only Workout version, called ATHLEAN XERO. Because if you think you can’t build serious
muscle with Bodyweight Only, your fooling yourself, or someone gave you bad advice. We’ve got that too, if you’re here because
you like to see bodyweight exercises. Alright guys, make sure you leave me a comment
and some thumbs up below. Did you like the video, did you find it helpful, what else
is it that you’d like to see. Remember, it doesn’t matter what your doing
up here at the bar, make sure you’re doing it the right way, overhand, underhand. That’s what’s most important. Tell me the
other things you’re having trouble with and I’ll make sure I help you out.

100 Replies to “Pullups vs Chinups: The BIG Differences!!”

  1. One of your older videos but the quality of the information never changes, awesome stuff Jeff. My backside is definitely not as good as my front side, I have some band work to do. Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi Jeff, just completed 3rd week of AX1 its kicking my ass, I love it.
    Quick question, how do you feel about the turkish get up as an exercise. Could you break down whether its beneficial or not and why or why not it is? Thanks!

  3. Chins and dips… wham ! I use to weight up with a dumbell between my legs. I train at home. Got to make me dip bars. Was a good super set ! Lats got blasted !

  4. Just a quick question, you mentioned being able to do 20% more on back than on chest. So, I really only do bodyweight workouts. Should I be able to do 20% more in quantity of pull-ups than push-ups? I feel like pushups engage most of the weight, but not all of it. Either way, I try to work evenly, but just wondering your thoughts

    Or was the 20% difference more directed at experienced lifters. I am still a novice and a beginner

  5. Jeff is there any side effects of having my elbows besides me while pull ups like the side effects of it in shoulder military press?

  6. Started off at 250# and couldn't do even one. Just kept at it and within three months I was up to 10 with my legs extended out. Not too bad I guess.

  7. I interchange them. And I don't do narrow, because those are easier. Honestly do I really need to do any other exercise? I feel like it's even sculpting my chest. And my shoulder and my back and my arms and my abs tbh

  8. This is wrong. The fact is that both chinups and pullups activate lats similarly. The only difference is one involves more of biceps while the other involves more of brachioradialis. Pullups appear tougher to do because of weaker brachioradials that we generally have.

  9. I love the band idea! Looking forward to trying this. My gym has two assisted pull-up machines, but they don't allow for close grip. Also looking forward to trying more isometric concentration.

  10. tHANKS jEFF. I needed to know the % difference of "front to back." I hope that someday I can afford to pay for a membership. I want to be healthy, & strong enough, as well as ALL other factors, empowering me to "Parkour" in EVERY way… "Ronnie street stunts" shows you my AIM.

  11. There's more transmissibility in doing eccentric chins/pull ups. Stand on a chair, 2 seconds hold at the top of the bar , 5 seconds down.

  12. Ive seen a bigger improvement in my physique and strength doing chin and pullups they any other exercise so far.

  13. Your brachialis is a single joint muscle that inserts onto the ulnar and is active the same amount no matter neutral, pronated grip or supinated grip (work horse of the elbow flexor) so I'm not sure the neutral grip easier than chin up comment is necessarily correct but hey I could be wrong

  14. The length between his shoulders and feet is < or = to the length from his shoulders to the top of his head. Give or take

  15. My question is: how often can I do pull ups/chin ups ? I usually do chin ups on days when I work my back & biceps, & pull ups when I work my chest, triceps & shoulders. Typically with 2 days rest in between workouts (when I may do legs, core, cardio or total rest days).

    Can I do these chin & pull ups everyday? Should I do them only on back days? Etc….

  16. Well about 2 weeks ago I started the journey of trying to do pull-ups. I started working on it with an assistance machine. I have to say it has really helped transform my back. It should be part of any back workout routine

  17. seriously people, do you really need to watch ANY videos by this guy BEFORE giving it a THUMBS UP? come on!! stop playing!! from now on just click the THUMBS UP FIRST!!! then get ready to be well EDUCATED!!! FOR FREE!!!!! THEN add the video to your playlist, as i am about to do!!!! i'm sooooogratefulforthisguy!

  18. I can do pull ups no problem I just can’t get a lot of reps on weighted pull ups but I have the opposite problem on weighted chin ups

  19. It is definitely not true that all big muscular guys can generally do Pull ups. Go, ask Markus Rühl if he can do pull ups. Not a single one! 🙂 I could not believe that too, but he states himself.

  20. Pull-ups really hurt my shoulders, I at one time, was very strong at pull- ups but now I’m not able too do them.

  21. Bodybuilders can't do pull ups or chin ups, too heavy and not strong enough. It's a strength exercise, not really for hypertrophy. Shouldn't do these weighted, the whole point of bodyweight training/Calisthenics is to avoid fucking your body to pieces lifting dumbells.

  22. Hey gym buddy. I take u to the gym every day I go. Gradually, I’ve made progress, mainly in correcting posture and flexibility.
    I’d like to start a regime of strength and esthetics trading but I think I need supplements of some kind. I can’t build any notable muscle.

  23. I'm so glad I found this video! I commented on one of Jeffs other videos saying I wanted this but didn't realise he already did it!
    Efficiency at its finest!!!

  24. The weighted pull up/bench press ratio sounds weird to me. I am 200 pounds. I bench press 350 pounds. I can hardly do added weight of 150 pounds. But +20%? I noticed that you don’t extend your arms fully. Why? That may be the clue:)

  25. I used to be able to do 30 pullups. Then i got muscular, now i can only do 20. But i can do weighted pullups now. Its like my body traded endurance for raw torque.

  26. I could never do this. So my mate the other day told me lets do pull ups and I was like, well cant do that. But he convinced me to try one. Did 7 reps pretty easily. Guess the 15 kg of fat I lost the past 3,5 month and 8 kg of muscle I gained did put me in the treshold of being able to do this. The first one I flew up, since I was used to hanging there and getting nothing done xd

  27. When I was growing up we had to do some kind of physical fitness test in P.E. They made the girls do chin ups and us boys had to do pull ups

  28. I built myself up to 8 pulls ups. I practice them twice a week totalling 8 sets (4,4) I can't seem to do more than 8 reps. Been stuck for 5 weeks. Any advice?

  29. I just realized that you sound exactly like David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends), not to mention you guys look alike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *