When looking at world records pull ups always have better numbers than chin ups. For example the record is 707 pull ups in 30 minutes versus 600 chin ups in 30 minutes and the weighted pull up is heavier than the weighted chin up, the pull up world record is 104.55 kg versus the chin up world record being 92.25 kg.

Also the most pull ups done in 24 hours by a person is 7345 versus only 5050 chin ups.

There's also many videos of people doing 50 or more clean pull ups in one set and one guy even did 105 strict military pull ups in one go, but barely any video of people managing to get to at least 30 chin ups in a row.

I myself can pull up 33 times in a row with clean form and way more than that if I cheat...getting chin ups is way harder.

The movement of chin ups feels mechanical and robotic and I can't do more than 12 with good form. I don't know, it just feels like my bones are not made for this movement and I feel it is hard to even begin the movement, the only thing changing is grip position but the movement feels completely different.. It may look the same motion but it doesn't feel like that.

A pull up just feel like one big pull, al at once but a chin up feels like a 4 sequence movement forced into one... It's not just a pull it's a shoulder shrug, a bicep curl, a lat pull and then a chest pull.

It is clear however that to bodybuilders and beginners chin ups are easier, but when it comes to people who specialize in pulling motions pull ups are easier as evidently suggested by the fact that no chin up specialist ever beat a pull up specialist neither in weight or reps.

So I wanna know the difference between a beginner/bodybuilder and someone who specializes in tractioning motions aka pull ups/chin ups, why are pull ups easier for elites and chin ups easier for beginners and bodybuilders?

I do not believe it is personal structural differences, because if some people were actually born to be better at chin ups than others, then chin up specialists would not be so far behind to pull up specialists.

And why is simply rotating the forearm into supinated position making everything so hard? Now that I think about that...almost every exercise ever invented is easier with a pronated grip. Bench, standing press, front squats, back squats... Deadlifts...and god knows what would happen if someone tried to clean and press with a supinated grip.

Probably the only exception are dumbell curls, they seem easier with a supinated grip, but barbell curls also feel more natural with a pronated curl than supinated barbell curls. But there's also a lot of people who can curl way more weight with neutral grips, so even that is a weak one as an exception.

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  • I think it does have to do with the grip. On a similar question, regarding benchpresses, someone pointed out that the bones in the arm have to twist for that position, reducing their strength. I'll see if I can find that.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 14:26
  • Ah, fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/38950/underhand-press-ups is what I was thinking of, but it doesn't look like it's as directly applicable as I thought.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 14:29
  • Various definitions of these two exercises exist. By your own understanding, is the orientation of the grip (pronated or supinated) the only distinction between the two, or are you assuming, also, that the supinated grip is wide and the pronated grip narrow?
    – POD
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Because chin ups are not pull ups.

A pull up is, as the word says pulling up, straight up. The faster way from point A to point B is a straight line most of the time. And a pull up is just that a straight line, up and down.

The chin up feels like 4 different motions because it is, a chin up due to wrist position can't be done in a straight line without breaking your bone. There is a structural block.

Because of this a chin up is actually a pull out because it follows a curve and not a straight line; up then out then in and up. It can look exactly the same but if the motion is followed with a laser, a chin up has a longer range of motion and the muscles have to travel more. But why do chin ups feel easier for beginners? Because it is actually easier to hold the top portion of a chin up, your body can't just fall straight down like in a pull up, it has to travel away from the bar first. That's why a beginner might find it easier to do a chest to bar chin up than a chest to bar pull up. But when comparing high numbers and high reps, the pull up is a shorter range of motion so it will be easier.

I hope that helps.

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