Why Am I Unable To Perform Pull-Ups, But I Can Do Chin-Ups?

This is a problem that keeps coming up in my conversations with other people.

Those who are able to accomplish a certain number of chin-ups yet are unable to perform even one pull-up.

In point of fact, when I heard about a person on Quora who claims that he can accomplish 15 chin-ups, but not a single pull-up, I was quite taken aback by this information.

To be perfectly honest, I think that he is performing his chin-ups with improper form.

It’s true that the majority of individuals are able to accomplish more chin-ups, but there really shouldn’t be such a significant gap between people’s capabilities.

Why Can I Do Chin Ups But Not Pull Ups

What Is Chin Ups?

Chin-ups are a type of strength training exercise that primarily target the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms. To perform a chin-up, you hang from a horizontal bar with an underhand grip (palms facing towards you), and pull your body up towards the bar until your chin clears it. Then, you lower your body back down to the starting position with control. Chin-ups can be challenging, but they are an effective way to build upper body strength and muscular endurance.

What Is Pull Ups?

Pull-ups are a type of strength training exercise that primarily target the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms. To perform a pull-up, you hang from a horizontal bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you), and pull your body up towards the bar until your chin clears it. Then, you lower your body back down to the starting position with control. Pull-ups can be challenging, but they are an effective way to build upper body strength and muscular endurance. Compared to chin-ups, pull-ups tend to place more emphasis on the muscles in your back, rather than your biceps.

Why Am I Unable To Perform Pull-Ups, But I Can Do Chin-Ups?

The chin up is a more manageable exercise than the pull up. As a result, you ought should be able to do a greater number of chin-ups. On the other hand, this can force you to concentrate a lot more on chin-ups. So, your chin-ups will get better while your pull-ups will remain the same or perhaps get worse. It’s possible that this could lead to certain muscular imbalances, particularly in the upper back, the lats, the forearms, and your grip. Your ability to perform pull-ups will suffer as a direct result of this, unfortunately.

Pull-Ups Are More Difficult To Perform Than Chin-Ups.

Do Pull Ups

Chin-ups are, without a shadow of a doubt, the simplest of the bodyweight exercises to complete.

There is one clear reason for this, which I’ll discuss in a second when I come to that point.

Yet, pull-ups will always be more difficult than push-ups because of a few technical features that are unique to the former.

Chin-ups may feel easier than pull-ups to some people because they tend to place more emphasis on the muscles in your biceps, which are generally stronger and more commonly used in daily activities than the muscles in your upper back. Additionally, with chin-ups, your hands are in a supinated position (palms facing towards you), which allows for a greater activation of the biceps and provides a stronger grip.

On the other hand, pull-ups tend to place more emphasis on the muscles in your upper back, which may not be as strong or as frequently used as your biceps. Additionally, with pull-ups, your hands are in a pronated position (palms facing away from you), which can make it more difficult to engage your biceps and maintain a strong grip.

That being said, whether chin-ups or pull-ups are easier for you will depend on your individual strength and experience with the exercises. With practice and consistency, both chin-ups and pull-ups can become easier and more attainable over time.

When You Perform Chin-Ups, You Move Closer To The Bar.

The manner you hold the bar during each of these workouts can either get you closer to it or push you further away from it.

It’s true that the distance from the bar isn’t precisely far, but once you understand this, you’ll see why chin-ups require significantly less effort.

Pull-ups are performed with the hands facing away from the body, whereas chin-ups are performed with the hands facing toward the body (hands facing towards you).

You immediately move closer to the bar when you switch to a supinated grip, which means that your center of mass is likewise closer to the bar when you make the switch.

This becomes more apparent at the peak of the movement, when you are doing chin ups, for example, where you can see that you are closer to the bar, which also implies that it is simpler to get your chin over the bar.

It feels almost as if you need to stretch wider in order to get your chin over the bar when you’re doing pull-ups.

This is something that, prior to becoming aware of it, I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to, but once I was, it became quite clear to me.

When I am doing pull-ups, I nearly always find that I need to perform a second movement in order to get my chin over the bar.

On the other hand, performing chin-ups feels like a continuous, fluid motion.

Chin-Ups Offer A Superior Degree Of Leverage.

The location of the elbow is the critical factor here.

When you perform pull-ups, you will notice that your elbows are positioned out to the side.

This indicates that your elbows are further away from the center of your body than they were previously.

At the height of the movement, when you are attempting to bring your chin over the bar, this becomes much more visible.

Because of this, you have a longer leverage, which makes pulling yourself up a more difficult task.

When performing chin-ups, your elbows should be in front of your torso at all times.

By virtue of this fact alone, chin-ups become a considerably more condensed movement; also, the leverage is reduced.

Moreover, a shorter leverage makes the maneuver simpler to perform.

During chin-up exercises, this also means that it will be a lot simpler for you to get your chin above the bar.

Chin-Ups Place A Greater Emphasis On The Development Of The Biceps.

This is the aspect that everyone tends to reference, yet the biceps are the primary muscle group that is worked when performing chin-ups.

The supinated grip brings the biceps into play much more overtly than the neutral grip does.

In addition, your biceps will essentially take control of the movement once you reach the top of the chin-up position.

On the other hand, when performing pull-ups with a pronated grip, the involvement of the biceps is significantly reduced, particularly at the peak of the movement.

Thus, chin ups are simpler to perform than pull ups due to the fact that your biceps contribute greater support to the movement.

You’ve Been Doing Chin Ups More Frequently.

As I’ve already hinted at, the fact that chin-ups are simpler implies that you’ll be more likely to do them if you decide to give them a try.

If we really want to bulk up and develop stronger, the truth is that we need to be doing workouts that are more difficult.

In point of fact, I was once offered some advice that has stuck with me ever since: The exercises that you find the most challenging are the ones you should be completing more frequently. This is something that I have always remembered.

Simply put, if you “detest” a certain workout, it is probably because you find it challenging and it puts you to the ultimate test of your abilities.

But, what could be a better method to improve your whole physique than to perform these more challenging workouts on a daily basis?

Nevertheless, the human mind simply does not function in that way. I’m sorry to break it to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that when we go to the gym we all occasionally push ourselves to our limits.

Nonetheless, the majority of the time we choose the path of least resistance.

It’s possible that this is the reason you’re so good at chin-ups but so terrible at pull-ups.

Simply put, the more frequently you carry out a movement, the better you will become at it.

On the other hand, your efficiency will decrease proportionately with the frequency with which you make a movement.

In point of fact, when most people pick up a bar for the first time, they immediately go for the “easy road” and begin their workout with chin-ups.

Doing pull-ups, on the other hand, might not be such a good idea after you’ve been working on your chin-ups for a few weeks and seen a significant improvement in your statistics.

It is highly likely that you will have difficulty, and it is possible that you will find them even more difficult than if you had merely begun performing pull-ups on day one.

If I want to get better at an exercise, I will either perform that exercise more often or execute modified variations of the exercise in order to build up my strength. Personally, this is what I do if I want to grow better at an exercise.

Start performing pull-ups or at least exercises that are a level or two easier if you want to improve your pull-up performance.

One method for achieving this is to practice dead hangs while simultaneously contracting the muscles being worked.

On the other hand, you might utilize a pull-up machine that provides assistance, resistance bands, or you may simply execute negatives.

No matter what you choose to do, the actual activity should be practiced on a regular basis if you want to improve your ability to do it.

You Have Muscle Imbalances.

Muscle imbalances are the final element that could affect your ability to perform pull-ups, however this aspect is less likely to have an impact on your ability to perform chin-ups.

In all candor, what I mean is that certain of the muscles that are utilized more during pull-ups are lacking in strength.

These particular muscles include your upper back and lats, as well as your forearms and your grip.

In point of fact, it’s very uncommon for trainees to complain that pull-ups, particularly when performed on their forearms, cause them discomfort.

When you perform chin-ups, you engage all of these muscles, but in a slightly different way than when you perform pull-ups. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to mislead you.

These muscular imbalances and weaknesses will only get worse if you continue to focus on chin-ups instead of pull-ups. Chin-ups are simpler to perform, which is why they are the exercise of choice.

Without the assistance of pull-ups, you may certainly train each of these muscle groups singly to achieve the desired results.

The following are some suggestions that I have:

  • Exercises for the upper back and latissimus dorsi include the bent-over row, the one-arm dumbbell row, and the lat pulldown.
  • Exercises for the forearms include hammer curls and reverse curls.
  • Grip work includes dead hangs and farmer’s walks, both of which will help train the forearms.

That being said, if you want to get better at pull-ups, the best way to improve is to practice doing them more often, just as I suggested previously.

And doing so will, of course, be of assistance in shoring up these areas of weakness.

Don’t get me wrong—a “pull-day” can certainly include some or all of the workouts I’ve described above.

In addition, it makes perfect sense to incorporate some diversity into your workout routine.

Advice On How To Perform Chin-Ups And Pull-Ups Safely.

When practicing chin-ups or pull-ups, it is important to keep the following safety guidelines in mind:

  1. It is critical to perform a thorough warm-up of all of your muscles and joints before beginning any type of activity in order to lessen the likelihood of sustaining an injury. Before beginning your chin-ups or pull-ups, you might want to consider warming up with some mild cardio, dynamic stretching, and mobility exercises.
  2. It is essential to have correct form in order to perform chin-ups and pull-ups in a manner that is both safe and effective. Keeping your core engaged, drawing your shoulders down and back, and avoiding swinging or kipping your arms excessively are all important aspects of this.
  3. If you are just starting out with chin-ups or pull-ups, or if you are focusing on increasing your strength, you may want to consider beginning with aided versions utilizing resistance bands or a pull-up machine that provides assistance. You can progressively develop toward unassisted chin-ups or pull-ups with the support of this method without sacrificing your form or increasing the danger of injury.
  4. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it; it can be tempting to want to push yourself to perform as many chin-ups or pull-ups as you possibly can, but it’s crucial to avoid doing so. You should begin with a number of repetitions and sets that are reasonable, and then progressively increase them as your strength and endurance improve.
  5. After completing chin-ups or pull-ups, it is essential to allow your muscles the necessary amount of time to rest and recuperate. It is important to minimize injuries caused by overuse by resting between sets and having at least one day off per week. Try taking breaks during your sets.
  6. If you are working towards a difficult objective or performing chin-ups or pull-ups with a big weight, you should think about hiring a spotter or having a partner assist you to ensure good form and limit the chance of injury.


some people may find chin-ups easier than pull-ups due to the difference in the muscles emphasized during the exercises. Chin-ups tend to place more emphasis on the biceps, which are typically stronger and more frequently used in daily activities than the muscles in the upper back that are targeted during pull-ups. Additionally, the supinated grip used in chin-ups can provide a stronger grip and greater activation of the biceps.

If you are struggling to do pull-ups, it may be helpful to focus on building strength in the muscles that are targeted during pull-ups, such as the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and teres major. This can be done through exercises such as lat pull-downs, seated cable rows, and inverted rows. It may also be helpful to practice assisted pull-ups or use resistance bands to gradually build strength and improve your ability to do unassisted pull-ups. With consistent practice and proper form, you can work towards improving your strength and ability to perform both chin-ups and pull-ups.


Why am I better at chin-ups than pull-ups?

The chin up is a much simpler exercise than the pull up. This is due to the fact that chin ups provide a greater emphasis on the usage of the biceps, but pull ups isolate the lats and hence place a greater emphasis on the use of the back muscles, which makes pushing yourself up a lot more challenging.

Are chin-ups as good as pull-ups?

To put it more succinctly, chin ups are superior to pull ups in terms of their effectiveness in developing muscle and strength, while both are excellent. In point of fact, when performing pull-ups, the more you narrow your grip, the more your biceps will be worked. When you perform pull-ups with a broad grip, your muscles have a much smaller role to play, and the emphasis is placed more on your lats.

What happens if you only do chin-ups?

Pullups are great for strengthening your upper back and biceps. Even though these are essential muscles, you do not want any one muscle group to be abnormally powerful in comparison to the rest of your body. Pull-ups alone will lead to a muscle imbalance if it is the only exercise you do. The trick is to incorporate additional exercises besides pullups in order to offset the pullups.

Why do I still struggle with pull-ups?

It’s possible that your poor posture is preventing you from completing multiple pull-ups in a row. Your ability to lift your chin over the bar can be hindered by a number of factors, including a flailing body, underdeveloped muscles, or misalignments in your upper body. You should work on your mobility and movement, and you should also spend some time deciphering the many positions and steps of the pull-up.

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