Pull-Up or Chin-Up: Which is Better? | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Pull-Up or Chin-Up: Which is Better?

March 28, 2011

The Pull-Up and Chin-Up are two of the best bodyweight exercises for strengthening back and other upper body muscles. Most experts make these exercises staples of their sports training programs.

The exercises primarily engage the lat muscles, which contribute to shoulder and back strength; however, other muscles, including the arms and chest, are used to complete each movement.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research sought to prove whether Pull-Ups or Chin-Ups contributed more to overall strength. During the Pull-Up, the entire trap is activated, while the Chin-Up relies on significant contributions from the biceps and chest muscles to complete the movement.

So, which exercise is better? According to Mike Reinold, physical therapist for the Boston Red Sox, it depends on your strength goals.

“If you are weightlifting for good looks, the Chin-Up is best for you—high lat activity with greater biceps and pec activity,” he says. “For those worried about posture, shoulder function and general athleticism, the Pull-Up may be the better option as you minimize pec activity and maximize lower trapezius muscle activity.”

Based on this information, the Pull-Up appears to be better for athletes; however, Chin-Ups can be incorporated to add variety to an upper body strength program.

Watch the video above to see a Pull-Up routine performed by NFL star Josh Cribbs.

Source:  mikereinold.com


Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
Andy Haley
- Andy Haley is an Associate Content Director at STACK Media. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), he received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Antonio Brown Built His Ridiculous Footwork With Pilates

The Training Behind Super Bowl XLIX

The Training Formula Behind Drew Brees's 5 TD Passes

Athlete Assessment: Tips to Get You Started

WATCH: Jon 'Bones' Jones's Brutal Uphill Sprints

Hanley Ramirez's Explosive Sled Row

The Easiest Fixes for 4 Common Exercises

Preparation Nation: Hoover Buccaneers Basketball

The 4-Day Deloading Plan for Recovery

Training Trash Bin: Dumbbell Side Bends

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

Inside the Athlete Factory

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?

Introducing Youth to Off-Ice Hockey Training

Why CrossFit Is Perfect for Me

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'

What's Up With Elite NBA Players Losing Weight?

Training With Performance Pyramids

Why You Need to Follow the F.I.T.T. Principle

WATCH: D.J. Campbell's Net Wall Explosive Pull-Up

11 Strategies for Getting More Done During Your Workouts

Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

Sanya Richards-Ross Looking Sharp in the Gym, Training for Rio

6 Things the Best Athletes Have in Common

31 Pro Athletes Workouts That Will Inspire You in 2015

31 Fitness Experts You Should Follow in 2015

Make the Most of Your Pre-season Training

5 Workout Lessons Every Athlete Must Learn

7 Training Tips from Professional Triathlete Linsey Corbin

Breaking Down Eddie Lacy's Untacklable Performance

Jump Higher and Faster With Transitional Med Ball Box Jumps

Find Your Hidden Weaknesses

WATCH: Clay Matthews Move the Earth in New Muscle Milk Ad

The Comeback Kid: How Scott Kazmir Resurrected His MLB Career

Katie Eberling: One Athlete, Many Sports

Above and Beyond: STACK Velocity Sports Performance San Diego

WATCH: 3 Power Moves for the Diamond from Edwin Encarnaci

GHD Sit-Up: The Worst CrossFit Exercise?


WATCH: Darnell Dockett's Explosive Sled Row with Training Mask


How to Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

Make Your Training Weaknesses Your New Strengths

6 Training Ideas Shaping the Future of Fitness

Kaitlin Sather Nielsen Does It All