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Pull-Up vs. Chin-Up-- Traps

Some say chin-ups are better for the traps, however the only thing that matters in trap training is scapular movement. Grip orientation is entirely irrelevant.

Let's take a look at that from an anatomical point of view. The primary function of all three parts of the traps (upper, mid, and lower) are to withdraw the scapula. Also, the uppermost fibers elevate the scapula (like difference between pull up and chin up a standard shrugging workout) and the most affordable fibers depress the scapula (push your shoulder blades down towards the ground).

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What does the research say?

Scientist determined their topics' traps in a research study. They discovered that the traps were more triggered during the standard pull-up than in the neutral pull-up. Other scientists found that lower trap activity was higher in the pull-up than in the chin-up. The scientists chalked this up to the pull-up needing more effort from the lifter than the chin-up. More effort throughout could also describe why the other study revealed greater activity in the traps throughout the pull-up.

Pull-Up vs. Chin-Up-- Biceps

Both heads of the bicep have the exact same main functions: elbow flexion with supination and forearm supination. Supination is present during the chin-up and not the pull-up. From an anatomical standpoint, the chin-up does seem better at hitting the biceps than the pull-up. There's still elbow flexion happening throughout the pull-up, indicating that the biceps are still under some tension.

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What does the research study say?

One study found that bicep activity was far greater in the chin-up than in the pull-up. It should also be noted that bicep activity was very high in all three variations-- higher than 80% Muscle Voluntary Contraction.

Applying This to Your Workouts

You can effectively train the lats, biceps, mid, and lower traps with either the pull-up or chin-up. A basic tweak in your pull-up or chin-up kind can make far more of a distinction than pronation and supination ever could.

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Boost Lat And Trap Activation

There are no studies determining the effect that coaching has on muscle activation during these workouts. Nevertheless, there is a research study that took a look at the impact that cueing had on inexperienced athletes who were carrying out pulldowns. The research study found activation of the lats was considerably greater after training than before.

Coach yourself. Here are a number of hints that can drastically increase the results you see from both the chin-up and the pull-up.

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1-- Chest to bar.

This will require you to extend your spinal column and anteriorly tilt your pelvis as you're extending your shoulder joints, which are also functions of the lats. Pulling your chest to the bar will cover 3 functions of the lats as opposed to one. When done properly, pulling your chest to the bar will make your lats agreement to the degree that they seem like they're about to cramp.

2-- Squeeze a tennis ball in between your shoulder blades.

This cue will require you into withdrawing your scapula prior to starting the pull-up. As you discovered previously, all three parts of the traps pull back the shoulder blades.

If the above workout looks familiar, it's since it is basically the "breast bone chin-up" which was developed by Vince Gironda. The Golden Age bodybuilders got a lot right when it comes to training.