Chin-ups and pull-ups are probably two of the best-known strength workouts out there. Many gym-goers and home workout enthusiasts alike collectively spend a lot of time on perfecting these two moves in the quest to tone and build strength in multiple essential muscle groups.
Various benefits come with performing chin-ups and pull-ups that can not only improve and build strength as mentioned, but also improve health. Here’s a collective view of benefits that come with these fitness moves:
- Increased Grip Strength – When performing a pull-up or chin-up, you’re fully engaging your hand grip in order to pull your body upwards. With practice, your grip strength will improve over time and make daily tasks like carrying and lifting items much easier.
- Improvement of Overall Physical Health – Some studies show that through conducting strength training activities like chin-ups and pull-ups, people can potentially improve overall physical health and manage ongoing medical conditions (in coordination with their doctor) like diabetes, high blood pressure, or back pain.
- Improvement of Overall Fitness Capabilities – Once you’ve mastered difficult moves like chin-ups and pull-ups, it can make conducting other exercises much easier; this is because you’ll have improved your upper body strength and coordination over time through these moves.
- Mental Health – Mental health and physical health often go hand-in-hand. Some studies have shown that performing strength training routines can contribute to improving certain mental conditions like depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and fatigue. Increased cognitive function was also shown to possibly be a benefit.
- Shoulder and Arm Strength Improvement – When performing pull-ups and chin-ups, your arm and shoulder muscles are fully engaged to complete each repetition. Over time and through practice, most people will see a marked increase in muscle strength resulting from these exercises.
- Back Muscle Strength Improvement – Four separate muscles in your back are worked when you perform chin-ups and pull-ups: infraspinatus, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, thoracic erector spinae. Through strength-training these muscles, you can potentially see novel improvement in your overall back strength.
You may be wondering what the difference is between chin-ups and pull-ups; it’s common for the two to be confused. Essentially, chin-ups are a variation of pull-ups and require your palms to face towards you, while pull-ups have your palms facing away from you. Both of these exercises work out the same muscle groups, including the biceps, forearms, deltoids, abs, and pecs, but chin-ups tend to utilize and build strength in biceps more than pull-ups do.
In the end, we say, why not do both? We’ve put together a list of ten chin-up and pull-up variations that can help maximize your workout and build strength in your key muscle groups. Take a look below.
1. Eccentric Chin-Up
Eccentric chin-ups work lats, shoulders, back muscles, and biceps. To perform this variation, stand on a bench or box and grip the overhead bar with an underhanded grip. You’ll then jump and place your chin at the bar, lower yourself down slowly, and complete the move by letting go of the bar and stepping onto the box once your arms are fully extended. Each rep should take about five to ten seconds to complete.
2. Crossover Pull-Up
Crossover pull-ups work your forearms, biceps, and back muscles. To perform this pull-up variation, grip the overhead bar with your palms facing towards you and extend your arms fully, but don’t lock into place. Pull yourself up until your hands touch your chest area, and then lower yourself slowly back into the starting position to complete the rep.
3. Jumping Chin-Up
Your middle back muscles, calves, forearms, shoulders, and biceps will be targeted in performing this chin-up variation. To perform a jumping chin-up, begin by standing on a bench or box and grab the overhead bar with your palms facing towards you. Jump up, and then pull yourself upward until your chin is over the bar. To complete the rep, lower yourself back to the bench or box slowly.
4. Wide-Grip Pull-Up
The wide-grip pull-up variation is excellent for working your back, biceps, and shoulders. To perform this pull-up variation, grip the overhead bar with palms facing away from you. Keep your arms fully extended, loose, and shoulder-width apart. Proceed to pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, pause briefly, and then lower back down to the starting position to complete the rep.
5. Plyo Pull-Up
A plyometric or plyo pull-up works your middle back muscles, forearms, and biceps when conducted. To do this exercise, stand at the overhead bar with your palms on the bar and facing away from you. Proceed to pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, and then begin lowering yourself down. While lowering yourself, swap your hand grip to face towards you on the way back down. With each rep, continue to rotate your grips from overhand to underhand.
6. Mixed-Grip Pull-Up
Mixed-grip pull-ups work on your torso, bicep, and midsection areas. To perform this pull-up variation, begin by grabbing the overhead bar with one palm facing away from you and one facing towards you. Pull yourself up until the bar is about chest area, and then slowly lower yourself back down to complete the repetition.
7. Close-Grip Chin-Up
Close-grip chin-ups are great for working your middle back and bicep muscles. For this move, you’ll place your hands closer together (about three to five inches apart) with the palms facing towards you. Extend your arms loosely and pull yourself up until the bar touches your chest area. Complete the repetition by slowly lowering yourself down to the starting position.
8. Close-Grip Pull-Up
A close-grip pull-up is performed similarly to the close-grip chin-up. The benefit of this variation is that it concentrates on building lat and bicep muscles. To accomplish this pull-up variation, grip the overhead bar with an overhanded grip while keeping your hands about three to five inches apart. Extend your arms loosely and pull yourself up until the bar touches your chest area. Complete the repetition by slowly lowering yourself down to the starting position.
9. Single-Arm Chin-Up
Single-arm chin-ups can be challenging to master, but they are excellent for building lateral and grip strength. To perform this variation, place one hand on the overhead bar with its palm facing away from your body. Proceed to pull up until your chin is just over the bar, and then complete the rep by lowering yourself slowly back down to the starting position.