The Difference Between Pull-ups and Chin-ups
So, as you can see, the pull-up and chin-up exercises are almost exactly the same in execution except for one difference…
Pull-ups: grip the bar with your palms facing away from you (i.e., overhand grip).
Chin-ups: grip the bar with your palms facing toward you (i.e., underhand grip).
The pull-up with the palms facing away from you (i.e., pronated grip) is pictured on the left, and the chin-up with the palms facing toward you (i.e., supinated grip) is pictured on the right. Note that the legs may be bent or straight in either exercise.
And it’s as simple as that.
So, each exercise involves the same vertical pulling movement, but there are some subtle differences in the technique and also the muscles that are activated. For example, pull-ups tend to work the lats more than chin-ups, which tend to work the biceps a little more than pull-ups. Regardless, most people usually find that one of the exercises is significantly easier than the other. And in most cases, I’d recommend focusing on the one your best at until you’ve built a solid foundation of strength. Then move onto other variations from there.