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Published on 09 Nov 2014 | over 2 years ago

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The pullup and chinup are both tremendous upper body exercises that can help you add serious size to your back, but which one is better? This back exercise question can actually be easily answered if you get clear on your training goals. In this video, I pit the chin ups vs pull ups to help you decide which one (or both) are a must for your workouts.

We have to start by identifying why both of these back and biceps exercises are great. They are affectionately known as the kings of the bodyweight exercises and some would argue best upper body exercise period, when weights are used. This is because they are both tremendous back and core stabilizers. Increase the strength and size of your back and you will no doubt be able to lift more on your deadlifts, squats, and cleans.

Next, both the chinup and pullup can be a great barometer of your body composition. How so? While it is more difficult for heavier guys to perform these upper body pulling exercises than their lighter counterparts, it's not impossible. That is, unless you are carrying a great deal of body fat. If your size is coming from mostly lean muscle, even big guys can bang out chinups, pullups or even muscle ups.

Understanding the differences between pullups and chinups or learning which one is better, requires an understanding of the contributions of the muscles that help you do them. The pullup is the more difficult version of the exercise because the biceps are minimized. When you have both the back and the biceps helping as you do in a chinup, you have more strength and the exercise becomes easier. The same can be said with pullups done with elbows forward. You increase the contribution of the brachialis muscle which makes that slight tweak easier than the traditional pullup.

Try replicating the movements with dumbbells as I show you in the video. You'll feel how much weaker your biceps become when you place your arms out wide and in line with your body, as they would be in a regular pullup.

Regardless of which exercise you attempt, you may not be strong enough to do either a pullup or a chin-up. If that is the case, be sure to follow the pullup progression shown here. Start with inverted rows to build up your pulling strength. Move onto the kneeling lat pulldown if you have access to a machine or just hang bands over a home pullup bar. Finally, get your body up to the bar using both negative only reps and isometric holds. Break out those assisted band pullups to finish off the progression to your full pullups.

If you want to start looking like an athlete, then you're going to have to start doing both chinups and pullups. These upper body back and bicep builders are irreplaceable. To get a complete program that helps you to bang out rep after rep of each while building ripped athletic muscle be sure to head to athleanx.com to get your ATHLEAN-X Training System.

For more back workout videos and tips on how to do more pullups instantly, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel at youtube.com/user/jdcav24


WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAN’T DO ONE
Building up to your first - Kneeling Lat Pulldowns, Inverted Rows, Eccentric Only, Isometric Holds, Band assisted- try to make 80% of your BW and have 5-6 second control over your eccentrics

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