T Nation

Chin-Ups vs. Rows for Mass/Strength

Rows with a barbell of course and pullups if you prefer them. Which do you think is better for adding upper body mass and arm/back strength and why?

Do both. Deadlifts too. Problem solved.

I already do alternate them, I was just wondering which one people think is best.

in my case, the rows have been much more effective. i am progressing much more with them, and my back thickness is good, width could use some work.

i’m going to start trying rack chins for my lats which i read about in a recent thread.

The best physiques I’ve personally seen on the site have ALL been built using chins/pull ups.

I think it’s chins/pull ups for width and rows for thickness/hugeness.

So yeah, both are pretty darn important.

or, if you want to get a little more specific with chins/pulls:

Chins use more of the bicep, pulls work more the forearm (brachialis/brachioradialis)

Close grip to hit the biceps and lats, wide grip to hit your upper back (infraspinatus, teres major, and posterior delt)

sternum chinups/pullups. Better than just rows or pullups. assuming that u can do them that is :wink:

Whichever you can use more weight with.

[quote]elano wrote:
I already do alternate them, I was just wondering which one people think is best.[/quote]

Why do you alternate them, why not do them both in the same workout. I’ve posted something like this before, I believe most people undertrain there back in comparison to there chest, even the people who believe they aren’t (not the common gym rats, we all know they are). For every chest exercise you should do a rowing exercise, not just a back exercise.

For mass and strength, it could go either way, I’d say pullups/chins, mainly bc I really like that exercise.

They are both very different movements which I don’t think are comparable, I would say that since most trainees cheat or use poor form on barbell rows I would swap these out for single arm dumbell rows.

I think rows vs cleans are better back movements for comparison since similar muscle groups are used - with cleans winning it every time for me.

[quote]JamFly wrote:
They are both very different movements which I don’t think are comparable, I would say that since most trainees cheat or use poor form on barbell rows I would swap these out for single arm dumbell rows.
quote]

And most trainees don’t also cheat on single arm dumbbell rows as well?

[quote]elano wrote:
I already do alternate them, I was just wondering which one people think is best.[/quote]

It does kinda vary from individual to individual. Normally which ever one you do less of is the one you need more of probably :wink:

Chin ups are more for back width, while rows are better for back thickness and mass. Chins, rows, and deadlifts are pretty much all you need for your back.

Thanks for the replies.
Im doing a “workout A workout B” kind of routine similar to Rippetoe’s. Its looking like

Workout A
Squat
Press
Row alt. w/ Chinups

Workout B
Squat
Bench Press
Deadlift alt. w/ Powerclean
Weighted situps

Do yall think alternating them each A workout would be fine? or should I focus on one for a while, then switch to the other when I stop making gains on it?

You should include chin/pull ups in both your A & B day (perhaps chin ups w/A & pull ups w/B)and alternate your BB Row w/ 1-arm D.Bell Row.

I would do something more like:

A
Squat
Bench
Deadlift
Chins

B
Squat
Press
Cleans
Weighted Situps

Rippetoe seems to think that cleans are a better exercise than rows, and I think that you should be deadlifting more than 3x in 4 weeks. If you are going to alternate, alternate the light pulling exercises (rows and cleans) instead of horizontal/vertical pulling and light/heavy pulling.

Remember that this is primarily a strength program, not a hypertrophy program, most people just happen to get bigger when they eat enough.

Unless you’ve changed the set/rep parameters? I’m assuming 1x5 deadlifts, 5x3 cleans, 3x5 everything else?

[quote]elano wrote:
Thanks for the replies.
Im doing a “workout A workout B” kind of routine similar to Rippetoe’s. Its looking like

Workout A
Squat
Press
Row alt. w/ Chinups

Workout B
Squat
Bench Press
Deadlift alt. w/ Powerclean
Weighted situps

Do yall think alternating them each A workout would be fine? or should I focus on one for a while, then switch to the other when I stop making gains on it?
[/quote]

I’ve never seen someone alternating rows with chins before. Generally you alternate one exercise with it’s opposing exercise. i.e. bench with row, press with pull-up. The idea being that one set of muscles recovers while the other is being used. Alternating between deadlifts and cleans just seems mad to me.

[quote]duffyj2 wrote:
elano wrote:
Thanks for the replies.
Im doing a “workout A workout B” kind of routine similar to Rippetoe’s. Its looking like

Workout A
Squat
Press
Row alt. w/ Chinups

Workout B
Squat
Bench Press
Deadlift alt. w/ Powerclean
Weighted situps

Do yall think alternating them each A workout would be fine? or should I focus on one for a while, then switch to the other when I stop making gains on it?

I’ve never seen someone alternating rows with chins before. Generally you alternate one exercise with it’s opposing exercise. i.e. bench with row, press with pull-up. The idea being that one set of muscles recovers while the other is being used. Alternating between deadlifts and cleans just seems mad to me.[/quote]

I read it as alternating between workouts. So the first A day he would do deadlifts, then the next A day power cleans. Nothing wrong with that, but I question the efficacy of alternating those particular exercises.

I could be wrong, though.

I just figured that workout A would be for heavy pulls and workout B would be for light pulls (row and chin). I just figured that a pullup/chin and rows both worked the lats and biceps real good.

The week would go like

Monday- Squat press row
Wednesday- Squat bench deadlift
Friday- Squat press Chinups
Monday - Squat Bench power clean
Wednesday- squat press row
Friday - squat bench deadlift
Monday - Squat press chinups
Wednesday- Squat bench power clean
Friday - Squat press row

Right now deads are 1x5, powerclean 5x3, situps 2x8-12, and 3x5 of everything else

When squats start stalling, Im going to switch to a mon 5x5, wed 2x5, fri 1x5
I think its called the texas method?