Chin-Ups Vs. Curls To Help Biceps Growth

On the other hand, chin-ups provide the most significant compound lift, make our biceps more weight, and have an overall more fantastic range of movement. However, the curls of the biceps are less heavy and more powerful. But, they’re only limited due to the power of our biceps. Even though curls generally possess less range of motion, the scope of our biceps is quite a bit greater.

Which lift is most beneficial for the growth of our biceps?

We must also consider that muscles develop best when put when they’re stretched ( meta-analysis). The next thing to look at is the strength curves of both biceps and chin-ups curls. How difficult are they in different areas of motion?

What’s the best method to maximize both biceps curls and chin-ups to get better growth of biceps?

What grip variations and grip positions should we use?

What ranges of reps should we lift in?

What should our daily training volume be?

This article will look at the chin-up and the curl to help increase the size of the biceps and discuss how to create an exercise routine that bulks your biceps around the curl and chin-up.

Chin-Ups For Bigger Biceps

Chin-Ups For Bigger Biceps

Chin-ups are an excellent exercise for the biceps. Actually, they could even be a good exercise for the main activity for the biceps. They’re heavy, a massive compound lift that pushes our biceps over an extensive range of movements … occasionally. It’s all about the method we use and what we’re comparing to.

To begin, we must know the difference between pull-ups and chin-ups. Chin-ups are a compound back and biceps workout performed using the underhand grip, which is an angled and neutral grip. The pull-up is a more straightforward back-to-the-top exercise that is an isolated exercise performed with the hold of an upper hand.

When doing chin-ups, the goal is to work out more general muscles, so the biceps are perfect for helping with the lifting. When we grip our hands with an underhand, you’re in the exact spot similar to when we do biceps curls. If we grab our hands in an angled position, it’s like doing curl-bar curly. With a neutral grip, it’s like performing curls with hammers. It’s no surprise, then, that chin-ups can be a fantastic exercise to build our biceps.

When doing pull-ups, on the contrary, the goal is to focus on specific muscles of our backs that are in our upper backs, like our lats. To do this, we turn the hands inwards from our bodies and reduce the leverage our biceps can exert, hindering them from helping to lift. The muscles of our forearms (brachioradialis) can help us extend our arms. Still, they are weaker, making the motion range more minor. This is why the pull-up is usually an exercise for the back.

How big of an impact is our grip angle making? When we examine the muscles-activation (EMG) studies conducted by Bret Contreras Ph.D., we find that weighted chin-ups are about 50% more effective at stimulating our biceps. pulled-ups with weights:

  • Chin-up107 Biceps activation rate in the mean and 205-205 peak
  • Pull-ups:65 mean biceps activation and 145 peak

Therefore, chin-ups are more effective in activating our biceps than pull-ups, which are far better at encouraging the growth of muscles.

The second thing to think about should be the amount of movement that we’re employing. As a guideline for developing a muscle, we’d like to work it over a broad and efficient range of motion. Chin-ups are a good example. It’s best to start with a dead hang using our biceps to stretch out to 180 degrees, then lifting our chests all up to the bar, tightening our biceps entirely as follows:

But, the chin-up is a compound lift, and we’re working both elbows and shoulders. This is complicated since our biceps are attached to our shoulders and our forearms. When we bend our arms, our biceps expand; however, as we draw our elbows towards our bodies, our biceps become larger. As we lift ourselves towards the bar, the biceps of our bodies are getting a bit shorter. There’s not much of an increase in the length of our muscles.

It’s not necessarily all bad if a muscle isn’t being engaged in a wide variety of movements. The most important thing is what part of the muscle’s motion range is being worked. As we can see in the meta-analysis on isometrics, exercises that push our muscles to longer lengths trigger three times muscle growth.

MUST READ  Standing Olympic Plate Hand Squeeze (Improve Grip Strength) Technique Tips

The most crucial aspect in the motion range needed for creating muscles is when our muscles are stretched to the max. This isn’t the case when we do the chin-up since raising our hands above our heads reduces the biceps’ length, preventing the biceps from being in a place while in a dead hang.

This does not mean that the chin-up doesn’t work for biceps. It’s far from it. As we can see from Contreras’ EMG research, our biceps are significantly engaged in the chin-up. It does, however, mean that the biceps ‘ curl is at least one benefit over the chin-up. That is, our muscles are pushed by a broader movement range.

In addition, since chin-ups are a compound exercise, they’re working multiple muscles simultaneously, any of which could be the limiter in the lift. Our muscles grow only when we push them. The forces involved in an exercise are being tested in varying degrees. If, for instance, we do not succeed because our lats aren’t strong enough to lift our chins up to the bar, maybe our biceps remain only a few reps away from failing. Perhaps our biceps weren’t tested adequately to trigger an aggressive hypertrophy reaction. It’s possible that we’re not getting significant biceps growth.

To be precise that chin-ups can be pretty tricky on our biceps. The majority of people will experience effective biceps stimulation while doing chin-ups. Since our biceps don’t like the only thing that limits us, we cannot assure that our clients are getting adequate stimulation that will result in maximum growth.

To summarize, chin-ups are among the most effective exercises for bulking all of our upper body muscles and are proven to increase muscle mass in our biceps and the rest of our upper backs. Although they’re a fantastic lift in general, it doesn’t mean they’re perfect for specifically boosting our biceps.

Biceps Curls For Bigger Biceps

Biceps Curls For Bigger Biceps

Biceps curls are definitely the most-loved biceps exercises. That’s why they’ve also been rewarded because they permit us to exercise our biceps over a wide range of motion, with no movement of our shoulder joint. This means we will get a lovely stretch of the biceps at the bottom and an excellent exercise in the middle.

It’s the Dumbbell Biceps Curl.

The most challenging part of the biceps curl is typically in the middle range of motion. This is because our forearms are vertical. This is the most rigid portion of the lift. Still, it’s also the place the area where our biceps are most potent, which allows us to lift a significant amount of weight and gives the lift a pretty good performance curve. Remember that, as we’ve discussed previously, lifting that is more complicated when muscles are stretched is usually better at stimulating muscle growth. Therefore, this indicates an excellent strength curve but not an ideal strength curve.

The Biceps curl is a one-joint “isolation” workout; however, it’s pretty effective in strengthening the upper back muscles and posture because it’s with a lot of weight. When we curl the barbell upwards, it’ll attempt to bring our back, and consequently, our back muscles require a stronghold. This way will strengthen our back, similar to how deadlifts do. The more intense biceps curls have the highest load on our backs, so the variations of barbells like barbell curls and EZ-bar curls tend to build larger muscle mass in general.

The Curl Bar “EZ-Bar” Curl.

Another thing to think about is that the strength we build through biceps curly curls is beneficial. Strengthening the biceps can carry heavier items behind our bodies while balancing our backs’ weight. Even while the biceps curl is typically seen as an ideal fitness or appearance exercise, the biceps curl is an excellent lift to build fitness and posture. It’s a fantastic lift in all aspects.

The most significant benefit of curls of the bicep is that our biceps are the primary muscles being exercised and, therefore, are likely to be the limiting factor. When we do chin-ups, it’s possible to be unable to complete them because our upper back muscles aren’t strong enough. This can be great for bulking our backs, but our biceps may not be sufficiently challenged to grow. If we do time to curl our body to the point of failure and fail, the biceps will be pushed to failure. Curls could be the most effective method to make sure you’re working your biceps in an adequate amount of exercise.

To sum up, there are significant advantages of curls.

  • Our biceps work from a stretched position to a contracted position. Therefore, even though curls may not be as powerful as chin-ups and the levels of peak activation may not get as high, they can result in more bicep growth for each repetition.
  • Curls aren’t as exhausting as the chin-ups that allow us to perform more sets in a shorter amount of time and without the risk of causing difficulties with recovery. Curls tend to be better to add more bicep exercises to our workout routines.
  • Curls in our biceps become the most essential factor to consider. Consequently, if we do our sets to the point of failure, you can rest assured that we’ve pushed our biceps sufficiently to trigger the growth of muscles.
MUST READ  6 Barbell Tricep Exercises: Sculpt Your Arms to Perfection

The Most Effective Biceps Curl Alternatives

The Most Effective Biceps Curl Alternatives

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the lifts that overload our muscles when stretched are usually the most effective to stimulate muscle growth. However, neither the traditional barbell curl nor the chin-up, which loads our biceps while in an extended position, means neither is a good strength curve that stimulates the growth of muscles. This is where lifts such as the preacher curl can help and be a great way to test our biceps when stretched in a position.

The Preacher Curl.

The preacher curl’s purpose is to push the weight further ahead of our elbows towards the beginning of the workout, making the start of the range of motion more challenging than the last. This is great for building larger Biceps and is why so many bodybuilders adhere to the preacher’s curl.

If you’re doing your training from home, you may lack access to a sermoner curl station. That’s fine. If all you have is dumbbells or barbells, You can make an identical result by leaning back, such as:

The leaning “Sissy” Curl.

I believe we came up with this variation in biceps curls. This sissy curl is why it’s important to note that we ought to test the variation a bit before promoting its advantages. However, it significantly increases the demands placed on the biceps when they’re stretched, more than the preacher’s curl. By lifting our arms back to align with our torsos, we’re giving our biceps a more extended stretch. In addition, our biceps help to raise the shoulder and keep our arms forward, strengthening our biceps.

Maintaining our arms to the side also requires a lot out of the front muscles, similar to a front lift. But, it also puts our front delts in a more stretched position, which is an additional benefit. Thus, this is both an exercise for the shoulder and biceps. The biceps are likely to be the primary factor in the process and, consequently, receive the most growth stimulation.

In the end, it’s all meant to suggest that just as with the exercise of chin-ups, there are various ways to curl, each with each of its advantages and drawbacks. What we can see in Dr. Contreras” muscle activation research:

  • Cheat Curl: 94 mean biceps activation rate, peak 136.
  • Barbell Curl:95 mean biceps activation and 38 peaks.
  • Preacher Curl: 80 average biceps activation 140 peak.
  • EZ-Bar Curl: 75 mean biceps activation peak 146.
  • Dumbbell Curl: 53 average biceps activation 118 maximum.

On a fascinating aside, while cheat curls were not noticeably more effective at stimulating the growth of the bicep but they were more effective in activating the muscles of our upper backs, which makes it more of a compound exercise.

What we’re seeing is that none of the curl variations will work our biceps as much as weighted chin-ups:

  • Chin-up: 107 average biceps activated and 205-205 peak.
  • Barbell Curl: 95 mean biceps activation and 38 peak.

The contrast is striking. It’s also quite significant. We’re witnessing 50 percent more peak activation during chin-ups than in barbell curls.

But it’s not an absolute truth. One of the issues present in the EMG study is that it shows that muscle activation is more remarkable when our muscles are shorter. It’s crucial to understand how tricky an exercise is when our muscles are stretched. Therefore, we’d expect exercises like the preacher and sissy curl to be effortless to perform at high elevation (the contract position). Still, more challenging to do at the bottom (the stretch position), which will stimulate an increase in biceps strength than EMG research could predict.

For an example of this, you can compare hip thrusts with squats. Hip thrusts test our muscles when they are in the contracted position and result in more outstanding EMG scores, which could likely result in more muscles growth, don’t you think? However, squats challenge our glutes when they are stretched in a position. An upcoming study discovered that they produce about two times the amount of muscle growth than hip thrusts. In fairness, regular barbell curls have a more powerful resistance curve than hip thrusts, and I don’t think the difference will be significant; however, it is reasonable to expect that the variations overload the muscles while in a stretched position produce substantially more muscle growth.

MUST READ  Split Clean (Full-Body Power Exercise) Technique Tips

Some variations of curls, like sissy and preacher curls, force our biceps heavy when they are stretched, which is excellent for increasing muscle development.

Th Best Way To Build Huge Biceps

Th Best Way To Build Huge Biceps

To increase the muscle mass in our biceps, all we have to do is select lifts that permit us to push them towards failure. Chin-ups and curls both are excellent for this as they both stimulate an enormous quantity of muscle growth within our biceps. But, by further enhancing the way we lift, it is possible to increase the size of our biceps by quite a bit.

If we examine chin-ups and curls to help increase the size of biceps, We can see that every lift brings something unique into the mix:

  • Chin-Ups help increases overall muscle development throughout our entire body, making them an excellent compound exercise. One benefit of working so large a muscle mass is that you can lift at smaller reps and utilize lots of weight. We train for heavy strength using the chin-up.
  • In reducing the strain on our back muscles and upper back, biceps curls ensure that we’re getting our biceps close enough to failure to trigger the growth of muscles. They are the ideal isolation exercise for biceps and vital training to focus on biceps development.
  • Biceps curls can be less strenuous than chin-ups. They are also less so, allowing us to increase the training volume for our biceps without running into fatigue problems. Curls are also a breeze to incorporate into the final phase of your workout.
  • Certain variations of biceps curls are more effective than other variations. Sissy and preacher curls force our biceps to work harder when stretched out and are likely to be the most effective curls for building larger biceps.

Therefore the most effective way to build biceps is first to concentrate on becoming stronger in chin-ups as time goes by. Do them as you would the other compound lifts as you gradually increase sets, reps, and weight.

To speed this process, we could add preacher curls and biceps curls. These lifts may be more effective in stimulating the growth of biceps than chin-ups. They can also help us raise the volume of our biceps.

For instance, if we look at the study, it is clear that adding curls of the biceps following the pulldown with lats resulted in around 60% more growth in the arm. You can expect a similar outcome from adding curls to our chin-ups. We can get a more impressive result if we put the preacher curls in conjunction with our chin-ups.

Last Words

Chin-Ups Vs. Curls For Bigger Biceps

Chin-ups, in general, are fantastic to build muscle throughout the entire upper body and are also effective in stimulating the growth of biceps, mainly if we do them using an underhand grip and full range of movements. On the other hand, biceps curls offer an effective way to prioritize biceps strength, particularly when we take into account the amount of time, energy, and fatigue. The heavy rings can effectively strengthen our back muscles and are an excellent all-around lifting exercise that can bulk you up.

To maximize growth in biceps, it is best to utilize chin-ups for our primary compound lift. Then, we can add curls at the close of our exercises. In fact, preacher curls could be the ideal curl option with chin-ups because they have a strength-to-weight ratio that is great for stimulating biceps development.


  • Timothy P. Carnes

    Timothy P. Carnes is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from the University of Florida. With over 8 years of experience in the fitness industry, Timothy is an expert in strength and conditioning, body composition, and overall health and wellness. He also holds certifications in strength and conditioning through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and corrective exercise through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). As an author at FitGAG, he shares his knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, including strength training, body composition, and overall health and wellness tips. Timothy believes that consistency and discipline are the keys to achieving fitness goals, and he strives to inspire his readers to prioritize their fitness and wellness journey. Through his articles, Timothy aims to empower his readers to take control of their health, enhance their performance, and live their best lives.

    View all posts
error: Content is protected !!