Pullup vs Chinup Grip Width (CHEAT SHEET!)

What's up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. So the differences between pullups and chin-ups have been covered already on this channel. There's a big difference.

However, it gets even deeper than that. There's actually a difference in the grip and the width that you take on that bar that will determine what muscles of your upper body that you're working. So I wanted to give you a little cheat sheet on how to determine what part of your upper body is working during either a narrow grip, a neutral grip, or a wide grip on a chin-up, or a pullup. I could show you, actually, very, very easily because I can break out a muscle marker to do this. Now, follow the path here. It actually gets pretty easy, and I'm going to break it all down for you. So we're going to talk about, here, a narrow grip on a pullup.

Then we're going to go to a shoulder width grip on a pullup here, and then we're going to go to a wider grip on a pullup. Then we're going to flip our hands around. So we're going chin-up now, this way. Again, wide, and then we're going to g into a shoulder width grip, and then nice and narrow hands right next to each other. What happens is, it actually travels in a lopp, in a circuit. So my hands are narrow right here. I'm actually working right here through my forearm, down through the brachial radialis, and through here.

Now as I start to spread them out this will start to now travel a little bit more up my arm, but it's not going to go bicep. It's going to go more of the brachialis beneath the bicep. So now we're in here with that shoulder width. Now as I continue to go wider, we all know because we've probably felt it a million times, what it starts to do then is it goes down and back here into the lat. Now, if I take my wide grip and I flip it around here – so now we're going underhand – it's still the lats, of course, but what we're going to do is, we're going to now have it shift up into the rotator cuff.

Pullup vs Chinup Grip Width (CHEAT SHEET!)

Why? Because we're taking our hands, we're externally rotating our shoulders here so we're getting some of that help from the rotator cuff to be able to do that. So it comes in through here, gets the help. Now as I start to narrow it out, bring it back into the shoulder width a little bit more it travels back, up, and around and then down here on the bicep. So now this side. Then as I go in even narrower all the way into here, the tendency is to start to really pull this way and curl. So now of course you start to get some of the forearm flexors on that side, too. So you can see that it kind of made its own circuit right here on my arm. That's kind of what happens.

Now, it's not an isolation because every time we do a different grip width we're actually getting all the muscles I had mentioned to kind of work together, but you can favor one area over the other. That can be very, very important for reasons like and injury, or a strength deficit. Guys don’t have the strength to do a lot of pullups, but they can do chin ups because they get the assistance of the biceps. So let's look at that one more time and see those different grips in action. You could see here now, I start again narrow grip pullup.

Again, we know that's working the backside of the forearm mostly. We're basically doing a reverse curl just like this, right? I'm pulling myself to the bar that way, as opposed to pulling the bar up this way. Then as we go up and widen out just a little bit more to shoulder width, now we're doing basically a hammer curl. We're doing this. Pulling ourselves up that way, expect we're actually – instead of pulling the dumbbells up this way. So we're doing a hammer curl working the brachialis. Then we get nice and wide. Now we know that we're working here the lats.

You can see as I do it here, the lats are fully engaged. Of course, yes, the same muscles that we talked about before are also working, but the focus is shifting away from them. Then we flip underhand. We're going that wide grip chin-up that I already talked about. That's the rotator cuff in action helping us, of course, with the last and the biceps too. But we can shift that focus on the biceps to assist the lats as well. Then finally, we go really, really narrow and again, we can still work the lats also.

Remember, never an isolation, but we're also going to get a little bit more of that tendency to pull with the forearms when we're in this tight. So we're going to work more on those forearm flexors. The last thing I'll say, guys, I mentioned it before. If you have brachialis pain, right, that makes it impossible for you to do pull ups, or brachial radialis pain that goes right down into your forearm as well; you can't do pullups. It hurts like hell.

If you flip around and do a narrow grip chin-up you'll see that it actually is a lot easier for you to do that, and it still allows you to hit the lats in a different way that doesn't make you have to avoid the exercises altogether, and avoid that muscle group altogether. So you can see, knowing the difference between the different grips is going to come in handy for you. At any point in time in your training – we know when to program those.

There are times when I don’t want to hit your forearms. I want to make sure I'm shifting more of the focus to your lats, or I might want to get the rotator cuff involved a little bit more because I know you don’t train it enough. We try to program all these variations into our programs to make sure that you're hitting the muscles the right way at the right time. If you're looking for a program that lays it all out for you, puts the science back in strength, then head to ATHLEANX.com and get our ATHLEANX training program. Again, muscle markers, if you like them, make sure you leave your comments below. I'll make sure I'll do more of them if you want me to do those.

I have no fear to draw all over my body. No problem. This shit comes right off. All right, guys I'll be back here again in no time.

See ya!.

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