I could be wrong. Just wondering- we tend to do a lot of neutral grip variations including the neutral grip chin up. How do you think the neutral grip variation fits into this spectrum of muscle activation? Your thoughts? To me this must mean that it is easier or more biomechanically efficient for us to perform the exercise in this position, but that is just anecdotal and maybe just for my body but many of those that I have trained also.
I think pull-ups are still a bit far off my radar! The history of the chin up was for the military to see if tyou could climb over a wall. Bodybuilders first started using both exercises because they had no other equipment. EMG, like the previous comment is really a bad way to test full muscle movement activity through the range of motion, just that the muscle is active.
Regardless the elbow flexor is going to be the limiting factor in either movement, so the chin wins. Plus the chin up works more of the lats as their main job is to rotate the arm around the shoulder. Both exercises are only a half range of motion in that plane. Thanks for sharing the research Mike. I work with a lot of tennis players and use chinup variations in the strength program but will incorporate pullups based on the increased lower trap activation in the research study.
Keep the great info coming! Do you think hand placement can also affect muscle recruitment? Usually, you will see chinups performed with a closer grip than pullups and I think that reduces the effectiveness of the exercise. With a close grip, the elbows have nowhere to go but out as your chest approaches the bar. The shoulders will internally rotate increasing pec activity? Actually, both variations are typically performed with the elbows flaring out, all or most movement being in the vertical plane of the bar.
If this is limited or uncomfortable, a narrower grip may be unintentionally used, resulting in increased thoracic rounding and a more compromised scapulohumeral, glenohumeral and bicipital position. Basically, Brett has done some EMGs, himself, and he finds that the chin-up is a more full-body exercise that has great carry-over and no less developmental effects on the lats and back, as compared to the pull-up.
Martin says he prefers the chin-up due to the greater tendency of clients to achieve full range of motion with the exercise. He also states that in his experience, close- and wide-grip pull-ups do not have difference in building back size. I also get an awesome biceps workout from it. Well, Bret did not mention which he prefers, but I certainly can go heavier on the chin than the pull-up. Great question Joe. My best assessment of the neutral grip chin up would be that it would more resemble a regular chin up with respect to muscle involvement….
Think regular bicep curls vs. Still activating the same muscle groups with a little more emphasis on brachioradialis. However it may be a good in between exercise or compromise between the normal chin up and pull up. Just a thought. This makes me pull myself higher and retract and depress the scapula. Based on the results of this study I know that there will be certain times that I choose between these exercises based on what we now know.
Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page. Enhancing Overhead Shoulder Mobility. I perfer the chin up. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for how to gain muscle mass. Hi Mike, Just wondering- we tend to do a lot of neutral grip variations including the neutral grip chin up.
Thanks, Matt. Hi Mike, Do you think hand placement can also affect muscle recruitment? Just some things to consider. Great point about thoracic mobility, as well. Could it be that the chin-up is actually the better exercise? Thanks, Mike. I guess variety is the answer. I would have to say I agree Brent. Good question, Joe. Not sure how that would affect the exercise.
Nice call! I changed it, thanks for letting me know! Too much of any single motion is a bad thing, yes? March 26, at pm. Chin Ups for Injury. For the most basic iteration of both exercises, all you have to do is grip the bar shoulder-width apart and hang with your elbows locked out and your arms straight. Pull yourself up until your head clears the bar using only your shoulders, back, and arms no momentum from swinging your legs , then lower yourself down in a controlled manner until your elbows are once again locked out and your arms are totally straight.
Maintaining that rigid form is the real challenge for most people, especially when they're first starting out. Cheating at pullups and chinups by using momentum or only lowering a few inches are all too common. The extreme logical endpoint of these shortcut techniques is the CrossFit's kipping pullup , which is typically performed for speed. The sport uses the move for a totally different purpose than most guys in the gym — remember, there are totally different competitive goals separating CrossFitters from more general lifters.
If you're struggling to pull yourself off the ground, never fear: You can work your way up to the proper form. Start with this exercise that can make you a pullup powerhouse. You can also hone your technique and begin building the proper muscle-mind connection by incorporating some assisted reps , using a partner, machine, or bands.
Follow a step-by-step protocol if you're really struggling. If you can nail rep after rep of the chinup and pullup, we salute you. Hoisting your body weight from a dead hang is no easy feat. It requires a tremendous amount of upper-body strength and muscular endurance. Once you've reached that point, you can challenge yourself even further with these 14 pullup and chinup progressions. Watch Speer perform all 14 versions in the video above.
Now you just need to do it again. There are two key differences, according to Katie Dunlop, NASM-certified personal trainer and founder of Love Sweat Fitness : In a pull-up, your hands are pronated which means palms are facing away from the body and your grip is wider.
In a chin-up, your hands are supinated palms are toward the body and your grip is more narrow. So while both body-weight movements are basically heroic feats of strength, most experts and exercisers who have tried them find the pull-up harder than the chin-up.
Wickham says, thanks to genetics and physiology, pull-ups are usually more challenging for women. Build strength: Start isolating and strengthening the muscles activated in a pull-up to increase their strength. Kyra Williams , NASM CF-L1, suggests incorporating day-to-day strengthening habits into your routine, like parking further from the grocery store so that you have to carry your groceries longer, using a duffle bag instead of a rolling suitcase, and actively squeezing your lats when playing with your pup or kids.
Grip onto the bar and place both of your knees or feet into the band and then attempt a pull-up. Gabrielle Kassel is an athleisure-wearing, adaptogen-taking, left-swiping, CrossFitting, New York-based writer with a knack for thinking about wellness-as-lifestyle. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or practicing hygge. Follow her on Instagram. Having a strong base is important when exercising, specifically when lifting weight.
Going onto your tiptoes may feel like a part of lifting weight, but it can cause you harm. Here are six reasons why it happens and six fixes. The dumbbell push press is a simple exercise with great returns if done properly. This workout proves that if used properly, a little bit of resistance can yield both versatile and practical strength benefits. No equipment? No problem. These butt exercises will work all three glute muscles so you can lift heavier, run faster, and prevent back pain.
This quick and spicy resistance band workout from Orangetheory Fitness coach Garner Pilat will get your booty burning in just 8 minutes. In case you're scratching your head and wondering what exactly separates pullups and chinups, or what all the hype is about, a quick explainer is in order: A pullup typically refers to the move performed with a pronated overhand grip.
Both moves work your lats, traps, core, and arms, in different capacities. For the most basic iteration of both exercises, all you have to do is grip the bar shoulder-width apart and hang with your elbows locked out and your arms straight. Pull yourself up until your head clears the bar using only your shoulders, back, and arms no momentum from swinging your legs , then lower yourself down in a controlled manner until your elbows are once again locked out and your arms are totally straight.
Maintaining that rigid form is the real challenge for most people, especially when they're first starting out. Cheating at pullups and chinups by using momentum or only lowering a few inches are all too common. The extreme logical endpoint of these shortcut techniques is the CrossFit's kipping pullup , which is typically performed for speed.
The sport uses the move for a totally different purpose than most guys in the gym — remember, there are totally different competitive goals separating CrossFitters from more general lifters. If you're struggling to pull yourself off the ground, never fear: You can work your way up to the proper form. Start with this exercise that can make you a pullup powerhouse. You can also hone your technique and begin building the proper muscle-mind connection by incorporating some assisted reps , using a partner, machine, or bands.
Follow a step-by-step protocol if you're really struggling. If you can nail rep after rep of the chinup and pullup, we salute you. Hoisting your body weight from a dead hang is no easy feat. It requires a tremendous amount of upper-body strength and muscular endurance.
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The movement involves hanging from a horizontal bar usually at an overhead height and using a supinated underhand grip while pulling the body toward the bar so that the elbows move past the rib cage until the chin elevates above the bar.
The primary muscles involved in the chin-up are the biceps brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, latissimus dorsi, teres major, posterior deltoid and the deep spinal stabilizers, including the transverse abdominis, lumbar multifidus and thoracolumbar fascia. The primary benefits of the chin-up are increasing strength and definition of the upper arms, specifically the biceps, the posterior deltoids of the shoulders and the teres major and latissimus dorsi muscles of the back.
Additionally, holding on to a bar and being able to do chin-ups helps develop crushing grip strength, which can come in handy for opening stubborn jars or having an impressive handshake. Why focus on the chin-up instead of the pull-up? Chin-ups are performed with the palms up, while pull-ups are performed with the palm down. In short, the supinated grip of the chin-up places the shoulder in an externally rotated position, while also placing the radius and ulna bones of the forearm in their natural, parallel position.
Mike Boyle, a Boston-based strength and conditioning coach and author of Advanced Functional Training for Sports, prefers to use the chin-up with his clients. A palms-forward pull-up grip creates the abduction and internal rotation that generates impingement. One of my main concerns with clients is helping reduce the risk of injury, and the supinated hand position is essential from an injury-prevention standpoint.
Sitting all day at a desk using a computer or banging out texts while hunched over a mobile phone places the shoulders in an internally rotated position. Therefore, any exercise that helps increase the strength of the external rotators of the shoulder can help improve posture and reduce the chance of developing upper-back soreness. The pull-up uses a pronated palms-down grip, which places the shoulders in an internally rotated position, while causing the radius and ulna bones to cross over one another.
This can create tightness of the pronator quadratus muscle in the forearm, which has been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome. While pull-ups offer many benefits, doing too many repetitions places a lot of torque on the elbow joints, which can be a possible cause of soreness in the forearms and elbows. The chin-up also offers less-tangible benefits like mental toughness.
Hinkley likes using this exercise with her high school athletes because chin-ups are not an easy exercise. For clients who are unable to do the chin-up, you can offer two variations to help them experience the benefits of the exercise and develop the foundational strength they need to eventually progress to performing a full body-weight chin-up.
The first variation involves gripping a barbell placed securely in a rack or squat cage and keeping the feet on the ground. From this position, the exerciser pulls only a percentage of his or her body weight up to the bar. To teach the chin-up, Boyle recommends using the band for assistance. The big key for beginners is helping them to realize that it is a back exercise, not an arm exercise. Hinkley also uses the band with her female clients.
I assist them manually by spotting them to help complete their assigned reps. One of the most common mistakes is using momentum to help move the body above the bar. If the body starts swinging, it can be harder to maintain a firm grip on the bar, which significantly increases the risk of injury from performing the exercise.
One way to help control momentum is to coach clients how to brace their abdominal muscles to create stability between the pelvis and spine. Maintaining a stiff spine can create a stable lever, which can help make the chin-up easier. Crossing the feet at the ankles and squeezing the legs together is another way to create stiffness and reduce the urge to create momentum by swinging the legs. As they get stronger, they can hold themselves longer. Using initial assessments and reassessing on a regular basis is a great way to show progress, which can help clients maintain adherence to their programs.
After the assessment process, Hinkley follows a consistent chin-up progression that she has developed over time. This helps clients learn how to control their body weight without relying on the elastic band for assistance. From there my clients progress to a low-bar chin-up with the feet on the ground before finally progressing to a chin-up from the hanging position.
Even when most of my female athletes can do three to four unassisted chin-ups, we generally do two extra sets with a light band to get more volume, because they generally can only do one or two sets unassisted with good form. Many chin-up newbies may lack the grip strength to maintain a solid hold on the chin-up bar.
The big difference comes in how you grip the bar. Put most simply, chin-ups are performed with your palms facing toward your body, and pull-ups are performed with your palms facing away from you. The change in grip position results in a large difference in muscle activation and grip strength, says Andy Sobuta , a physical therapist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, which is an official teaching partner of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Here's what you need to know about the difference between chin-ups and pull-ups, which muscles they target, and how to add them to your workout routine. Chin-ups require you to grab the bar with your palms facing you. A chin-up is a strength training exercise that uses your entire body weight, with a special focus on your upper body and core. In general, the chin-up may be better for someone new to a body-weight move, because it is typically the easier of the two movements, says Sobuta.
Furthermore, those lacking in upper back flexibility may have an easier time with the chin-up. This is because chin-ups put your arms in a more natural position , which reduces injury risk to your shoulders. Doing chin-ups with proper form will also improve your grip strength and posture.
Chin-ups work your upper back and arm muscles , specifically the biceps, forearms, shoulders, and latissimus dorsi, or "lats. However, Sobuta says chin-ups differ from pull-ups in one major way. The underhand grip position of the chin-up activates the anterior chain muscles, which are located in the front of your body, such as the biceps and pectorals — while the pull-up focuses on the posterior chain muscles in your back.
Pull-ups require you to grab the bar with your palms facing away from you. Doing a pull-up is similar to doing a chin-up. But besides the slight variations in your grip and stance, there are also differences in how your body responds to the move. One common issue with pull-ups is strain on your shoulders. To avoid this, it's important to ensure you're using proper form by pulling your shoulders down and back before bending your elbows to pull up. Pull-ups target your back muscles primarily, specifically your lats , but also your chest and shoulder muscles.
Compared to a chin-up, pull-ups better engage the lower trapezius muscles in your back, between your shoulder blades. The overhand grip of the pull-up improves posterior chain activation, says Sobuta. Posterior chain refers to the muscles on the back side of your body, which are key for everyday movements.
Chin-ups and pull-ups are both powerful strength moves that use your entire body weight. The main differences come down to slight variations in position and preference. Ultimately, both are great ways to work your entire upper body and engage your core.
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