Top Gym Tips

Which Is Better, Chin Ups Or Pull Ups?


Chin ups & pull ups are great for putting mass on your back. Both have been shown to elicit high EMG activity in the Lats, with chin ups having higher rates of biceps activation than pull ups. The lower traps are slightly more active in the pull up over the chin up (Youdas et al. 2010)

Some research suggests that a pronated grip is better than a supinated grip (Signorile et al 2002). Although this research was conducted using a lat pulldown instead of a chin up or pull up, I feel that this is applicable and makes sense. Most people can easily perform more chin ups than pull ups and perhaps this is due to the lats fatiguing faster in the pull up. However, there is no relevant research that directly prefers one over the other, so I’d have to recommend both to get the full benefits of these bodyweight movements

Grip width is however something that is applicable to both and the research shows that a grip of 1.5 biacromial (shoulder) width is best for lat activation (Andersen et al 2014)

To conclude, whether you choose to do pull ups or chin ups, having your hands just outside of shoulder width seems to be best for growth. Focus on each individually for a training block of 4-6 weeks & then do the other