Chin-Ups vs. Pull-Ups

Today, I thought I should share with You, why I prefer the supinated grip over the pronated one for pull-ups and I will try to examine different grip types for pull-ups.

First, I got to mention that all grips (for pretty much all exercises, that require the trainee to hold on to a bar or barbell, dumbbell, etc.) evolve around the two main ones – Overhand and Underhand.

Overhand (Pronated) Grip – With this grip, your palms are facing away from your body, when gripping the bar. When you hang from a bar, and you pull yourself up, using overhand (pronated) grip, you are performing what’s generally considered a Pull-Up. This grip emphasizes more on the outer part of you biceps – The Brachialis.

Underhand (Supinated) Grip – With this grip, your palms are facing your body, when gripping the bar. When you hang from a bar, and you pull yourself up, using underhand (supinated) grip, you are performing a Chin-Up. This grip focuses on both of the bicep heads and puts a little more emphasis on the pectoral muscles, than the overhand grip.

Most people say that Pull-Ups target your lats more, whereas Chin-Ups hit your biceps more.

When you’re using an overhand (pronated) grip (doing Pull-Ups), you are putting the elbows to the side and your shoulders in a slightly disadvantaged position, so you gonna have to compensate with more activation from the lats.

Neutral (Hammer) Grip – With this grip, your palms are facing each other, when gripping the bar. It’s impossible to grip a bar this way, so You’ll need to have access to monkey bars or high parallel dip bars, rings, etc. When you perform neutral grip Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups, you are getting the best of both worlds. The whole motion feels and looks a lot smoother and natural. Besides, you are putting less strain on the wrist, elbows, and shoulders.

Mixed (Alternate) Grip – With this grip, your right hand is in supinated position, while your left hand is in pronated position, or vice versa. Usually, you stronger hand is in a supinated position. I have never seen people using this grip when performing Pull-ups, but most people use this grip when performing really heavy deadlifts or muscle-ups. It a provides more stability and comfort when performing a heavy move like a deadlift.

Thumb Over or Thumb Under (Hook) Grip – With this grip, your hands can be in a supinated or pronated position. The difference here is the placement of your thumb.

I don’t feel any difference in muscle activation, no matter how I place my thumb on the bar.

Use whatever is more comfortable for you.

Powerlifters and Olympic Weightlifters place their thumb under the bar (hooking it) when performing Snatches and Cleans. However, they use thumb over when performing movements like Bench Press, sometimes.

False Grip – With this grip, your palms, are facing away from your body, when gripping the bar. You also have to position your wrists/palms on top of the bar, but don’t grasp the bar!

Wide Grip – Naturally, you’re supposed to feel weaker when you are using a wide grip. Mainly, because the further the support is from your shoulders, the harder, the exercise is going to be.

However, some people feel very comfortable in this position, on the bar and can perform the exercise with great form, and sometimes for a lot of reps, too!

Close Grip – The exact opposite of the Wide Grip version. Also, puts a little more emphasis on the side head of your biceps.


The reason why I prefer an underhand (supinated) grip when performing Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups, is because I feel like Pull-Ups (Overhand/Pronated grip) are fucking up my posture (not in a “bad” way).

Like I mentioned above Overhand/Pronated grip puts your shoulders in a disadvantaged position. When performing the move with this grip it is way harder to pull your scapula and shoulders back, and even if You do the shoulders are still in some fucked up, overextended forward position.

Look at someone performing pull-ups from the side or from the back and You will see what I mean. It’s like he pushes his shoulders forward, as if he/she wants to somehow pull with the chest or some shit like that.

Most likely, they lack strength in their scapula muscles and they can’t pull their shoulders and scapula down and back in a Retracted position, so they can execute the movement properly.

You will notice this when you see people that obviously lack the strength to perform a proper pull-up, try to do pull-ups.

Chin-ups on the other hand allow me to pull the shoulders and scapula back a lot easier. It feels more comfortable and natural. I feel that this is better for my relaxed shoulder stance, thus better for my posture.

I focus on the underhand grip just from an aesthetic point of view, but that does not mean that I do only supinated ones.

Will I get a wider and stronger back if I do Pull-Ups instead of Chin-ups?

Probably. Probably not.

That’s not why I workout anyway.

The differences in strength development are microscopic, as well.

For me, having good and fun workout is more important.

Do both!


Until next time,


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