Pullups Vs. Chin-Ups

Anyone on thoughts as to what’s a better movement to build wide lats? Last week, I did an EDT cycle with chins (palms facing me, shoulder-width grip), and really felt it the next couple of days in the lats. Two days ago, I did the same cycle, only doing pullups (palms facing away, wider than shoulder width grip, and I hardly feel any soreness in my lats. Are chins better than pullups for building up your lats? Thanks in advance…

I don’t think it’s so much the position of your hands as it is how far back you’re pulling your elbows relative to your back, while keeping the shoulders back and down.

brider makes a good point. i believe there was a recent article that talked about the recruitment of the lats with different hand positions during pull-ups. for width, i recommend keeping a wide grip, doing both pronated and supinated pull-ups. are you doing any row work as well nick?

Yeah, doing deads and rows for back also, Machine. So mix the grip, eh? I’ll give it a shot, it just seems that I get more “action” with the chins than I do with the pullups…

In one of Poliquins articles, he wrote that the supinated grip recruited more of the lats than pronated or semi-supinated grips.

Superset straight-arm pullovers and supinated chins for 5 sets at 2022, twice a week. Then do the same with hammer-grip pullups the next week, and again with pronated pullups the week after. Add weight and slow the eccentric further with each session. Every other workout, push to failure.

For variety, attempt the same, except with 2" spacing between hands on chinning movements. Or use a hammer grip, both hands 12" apart, one in front of the other (so your line of sight is parallel to the bar) and bias the work to the arm nearest your body. Then work the other side.

If you dislike pullovers and you have a decent midsection, do the equivalent hanging from a bar. Lift your legs to 90 degrees as if you were doing leg raises. Now, with both arms pronated and locked, and using ONLY your lats, rotate your torso slowly upwards until your knees touch the bar. Reverse the movement to get back down. Shoot for 8 reps.

I’ve never cared that much for wide-grip pullups. The range of motion is lower, and they invoke the rear delt more than I’d like. My lats have seen better exercises.


For wide lats … I like chins, and especially inverted rows with your feet on a physio ball. makes you keep your core tight, and recruits a lot more to keep balanced. give it a shot.

but I’ve always felt the chins more than the pulls. as long as I pulled my shoulder blades in tight when I did the contraction phase of the movement

Stay strong,

How many pull-ups can you do compared to chins? You may have just built up over time better leverage for chins and are able to get the lats to work harder. Maybe your pull-ups are not quite as developed, yet and you need to get all the other muscles involved up to par before the lats are really stimulated.
On the opposite end, maybe your pulling is equally good on both sides and al you felt the first time was good old DOMS with a new movement or such. By the next workout, maybe you recovered enough or didn’t train hard enough to feel another bout of DOMS.
Am I making any sense, here?
I just woke up and can’t seem to articulate my thoughts, yet.

I’ve always been curious as to the distinction between chin-ups (palms supinated) and pull-ups (palms pronated). I thought and practice and teach that in each exercise your chin should come up to the bar or above and both are pulling movements. Aside from semantics the differences in each relate to the joint actions and hence muscle activity.

Close grip/palms supinated
Shoulder joint extension- lats,
Scapula depression / slight retraction- lower traps (IV- less III)
Other thoughts on close grip- you are in the stronger position due to more favourable mechanical action of elbow (strongest position is palms neutral)flexors and stretch on lats using length-tension relationship.

Wide grip/palms pronated
Shoulder joint adduction- lats, teres major owing to characteristics as an extension of outer fibres of lats
Scapula medial rotation / adduction- rhomboids, traps III & IV
Other thoughts on wide grip- optimal angle of pull of lats is 30 degrees to frontal plane due to relationship with scapula moving around thoracic cavity. therefore keep elbows slightly forward of the body and forearms under the bar to maximally hit lats in this exercise. tradeoff is limitation of scapula rotators and forearm strength.

Basically you use more scapular rotators as you move from close grip to wide grip. Poliquin has also mention about close grip using more outer fibres of lats which are fast twitch and hence respond to heavier weight, faster SoM.

Bottom line in pulling movements- use a variety of exercises to work all fibres of the muscles and in all planes on motion.

My point was that, as you go beyond getting your chin over the bar (as in working toward getting your sternum to the bar) you will recruit more lat involvement. Works for both grips.


I’m having difficulty picturing your modified rows. Could you explain further?