If you want to know the benefits of pull ups and chin ups, this article will show why pull ups are one of the best exercises you’ll ever do.
It’s no secret that pull ups are a challenging bodyweight exercise. In fact, many people can’t perform a single pull up. If you’re that person, don’t give up yet. This pull ups guide will show you exactly how to perform your first pull up.
Before I share the benefits of pull ups and chins ups, let’s look into the difference between these two exercises.
Pull Ups vs Chin Ups
The only difference between pull ups and chin ups is how you grab the bar. They target pretty much the same muscles but each movement puts emphasis on different muscles.
Pull ups: For this exercise, grab the bar with an overhand grip (palms and forearm facing away from you). And keep the grip wider than shoulder-width. Pull ups mainly target the back muscles (lats), with little emphasis on the biceps.
Chin ups: To perform chin ups, grab the bar with an underhand grip (palms and forearm facing you). This exercise mainly targets the biceps and back muscles.
Note that combining these two variations will give you better results than doing one variation. Now, let’s look into the benefits of pull ups and chin ups.
1. Build extraordinary strength
One gorilla has the strength of 10 Olympic lifters. And a 60 pound chimpanzee has the strength of 3 athletic men. Can you guess why apes and monkeys are so strong?
I’ll tell you why. You see, these animals are always hanging on trees – doing movements that resemble pull ups and chin ups. Doing these exercises regularly strengthens the fingers, forearms, biceps, shoulders and back muscles. In fact, pull ups are one of the best exercises for building grip strength.
The strength you gain from pull ups and chin ups will allow you to perform other challenging exercises like rope climbing and handstand push ups. To build strength fast, do pull ups 4 days a week and increase reps in every session.
2. You can do them anywhere
One of the things I love about bodyweight exercises is their convenience. You don’t have to go to the gym to perform pull ups. You can perform them at home, in the playground or even use a tree.
If there’s no playground in your neighborhood, buy a doorway pull up bar on Amazon or build one in your backyard.
3. Want to lose weight?
Pull ups may not burn as many calories as jumping rope. But they’ll help you lose more weight since they increase muscle mass and boost metabolism. You see, pull ups (and chin ups) activate the biggest upper body muscles – arms, back, shoulders, and chest. And as I’ve mentioned before, training the big muscle groups is one of the secrets to losing weight fast. More muscle mass equals faster metabolism and fat loss.
Focus on compound exercises (push ups, pull ups, burpees, squats, lunges) if you want to lose weight. They’re more effective than sit ups and crunches.
4. Great form of cardio
Pull ups are a great cardiovascular exercise. They increase your heart rate, and can improve heart health when performed at high intensity. To get a good cardio workout, take short rests in between sets.
Improving cardiovascular health will lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. But pull ups alone may not be enough – you’ll still need to do cardio exercises like jumping jacks.
5. Build a V-shape physique
Pull ups are one of the best exercises for building the coveted V-shape taper physique. To build this shape you need to grow the shoulders and lats. And guess what? Pull ups work these two muscles.
If you’re a lady, you probably don’t want the V-shape. But don’t stop doing pull ups. Most women can’t develop the V-shape because of their shape and structure. Plus, it takes lots of training to develop this physique.
6. Boost your confidence
Pull ups will make you look and feel better. And since this is one of the most challenging bodyweight exercises, doing a few reps will make you feel good about yourself.
If you train regularly, you’ll be able to perform 10, 20, or even 30 pull ups in one set, and this will give your confidence and self-esteem a big boost.
7. Huge time-saver
If you don’t have time for 1-hours workouts, pull ups are the perfect exercise for you. This exercise activates all upper body muscles. You can train your arms, chest, shoulders, and back muscles in less than 5 minutes.
8. Many variations
Doing the same exercise over and over can get boring. Well, you’ll never get bored with pull ups since there so many variations you can do. In fact, doing different variations builds muscle and strength fast.
Progression is vital for building muscle and strength. Start with the easy variations then advance as you get stronger.
Here are my top 4 pull ups variations.
Pull Ups Variations
Horizontal pull ups
This is one of the most underrated pull ups variations. It works all the muscles worked by the classic pull ups. And the good thing is most beginners can perform it. But horizontal pull ups aren’t for beginners only – advanced trainees should perform them too.
How to perform
Grab a low bar (hip height) with a grip wider than shoulder width.
Stretch the legs forward and keep the body aligned in a straight line. Only your heels should touch the floor.
Pull up until the chest touches the bar then slowly extend the arms back to starting position and repeat.
Classic pull ups
As I mentioned earlier, this exercise works the back, arms, shoulders and chest muscles.
How to perform
Grab the bar with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width.
Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Then slowly lower yourself until the arms are almost straight (avoid locking your elbows). Without pausing pull yourself up again and repeat the movement.
Note that narrow pull ups grip target the forearms more.
Chin ups mainly target the biceps and back muscles. I find chin ups less challenging than pull ups. Try both to see which one is easier for you.
How to perform
Grab the bar with an underhand grip narrower than shoulder width.
Tighten your grip then pull yourself up until the chin is over the bar. Now, lower yourself until the arms are almost straight to complete the rep.
Side to side pull ups
This is a harder pull ups variation and it will help build the strength needed to perform killer exercises like the one arm pull ups and muscle ups.
How to perform
Grab the pull up bar with a grip wider than shoulder-width.
Pull yourself up to the left side. Try to use the strength of the left arm to pull yourself up. Pull up until your chin touches the left knuckles.
Slowly lower yourself to starting position and then pull up to the right side. Keep alternating movement after each rep.
Clearly, pull ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises. If you can’t do a single pull up, follow this guide and soon you’ll be enjoying all the benefits above.
How many pull ups can you do in one set?