Inverted Rows, Pull-ups & Chin-ups – Benefits and Differences

TRX row Benefits
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Inverted rows, TRX Rows, pull-ups and chin-ups are all amazing “pulling” exercises.

If you didn’t know it before, even Arnold Schwarzenegger swore by pull-ups and chin-ups to build his amazing shaped back. If you think that it won’t benefit you to master these movements, you’re clearly missing out!

Your back is made up of a large amount of muscles, both big and small.

No back routine is complete without a wide variety of exercises, and it is certainly not enough just to do deadlifts and heavy rows!

A real back routine will take advantage of many different angles, and exercises. The two basic types of pulling exercises include the horizontal pull, and vertical pull.

Both types of pulling are necessary to be included in your workout program, because they work on different muscles of your back to different extents.

Pull-ups, chin-ups, and inverted rows are all functional movements which work the various muscles in your back effectively!

Together, these exercises will help you give you that amazing V-shaped physique you have always dreamed of!

Benefits of Pull-ups, Chin-ups, and Inverted Rows

The basic difference between the inverted row, pull-up, and chin-up, is that the inverted row is a horizontal pull; while the other two are vertical pulls.

This changes the muscles worked drastically, but they have many cross-over effects. By including both types of movement, you will be able to work your back effectively.

Along with helping you develop an aesthetic physique, all types of pulling exercises prevent neck, shoulder, and upper back pain. These types of exercise also help to improve your posture, and they are good for preventing pain and injury from prolonged sitting.

In performing a basic inverted row workout, you will need a suspension trainer or the best free standing pull up bar you can find!

Benefits of Pull-ups

Pull ups provide you with intense challenges that are quite difficult for training, regardless of your strength levels.

Pull-ups place a great emphasis on your major muscles in your upper back.

When you are able to build these muscles fully, you will develop a wider torso and a great physique.

There are many different ways that you can program pull-ups in to your workout, and it may be difficult to choose the best program that is suitable for your fitness goals.

My two favorite programs for building my pull-up strength are Every Minute on the Minute training, and a simpler approach of performing 50 total pull-ups in as few sets as possible.

This can also be applied to chin-ups, since they are performed similarly.

Benefits of Chin-ups

Chin-ups are underhanded, or supinated in grip.

Although both of them are effective exercises for working your lats, they still have specific benefits which will determine your choice of movement.

I personally recommend people to only do supinated chin-ups, or pull-ups, since I strongly believe underhanded chin-ups can put excess stress on your elbows that is not necessary.

It is commonly believed that chin-ups work your biceps more effectively, but this has been proven wrong on many occasions.

The difference between underhand chin-ups, and supinated grip chin-ups or pull-ups, is generally negligible.

The best advice you can take is to just do which one you are most comfortable with overall.

Benefits of TRX Inverted Rows

When talking specifically about TRX inverted rows, they are amazing because you can do variations of both at whichever training level is most comfortable for you.

You can start with easier variations, and gradually work your way up to more difficult levels while also using more conventional methods. You absolutely can substitute TRX rows for either pull-ups or conventional inverted rows, but it can easily go along with these exercises as well.

I often perform TRX inverted rows multiple times per week simply because of the improvements in grip strength, and shoulder health that it gives me.

The TRX row is a very helpful warm-up exercise since there is limited strain on your joints!

Furthermore, every single TRX exercise will improve your ability to perform high reps of pull-ups since it improves your core as much or more than anything else.

Core strength is vital to blasting out high reps of good-form pull-ups, and the TRX inverted row is incredible at improving this.

Here is a video of me performing the TRX Row:

Inverted Rows vs Pull Ups vs Chin Ups

Despite the shared features, there are some key differences between pull ups, chin-ups and the inverted row.

Some of the differences include:

  • Pull-ups have a vertical position, while inverted rows are a horizontal pull. Due to this difference, the ratio of muscles used will be clearly different.
  • Although all of these movements work your rhomboids, mid and lower traps, lats, shoulders, biceps, your core, and forearms, pull-ups focus more on your lats, Contrarily, inverted rows place emphasis on your mid and lower traps, and your rhomboids.
  • Chin-ups and pull-ups have a generally more positive impact on your shoulders and chest, due to the necessary scapular retraction.  On the other hand, inverted rows primarily work a wider-scope of back muscles.
  • The difficulty level of inverted rows is more easily interchangeable, helping you become better at chin-ups, and pull-ups over time.

Along with these movements, people commonly confuse the fact that the traditional “lat pull-down” is just as effective for working your back muscles.

In some ways this is true, but in others it is a far inferior movement.

The good thing about traditional lat pull-downs is that you can utilize a large amount of weight, and work muscles which are limited by your body weight through pull-ups.

The bad side, however, is that you get little to no core engagement and it isn’t very functional for your body overall.

I am not saying that you should not do lat pull-downs, but for athletes, it can definitely add quite a bit of “heavy” muscle which isn’t functional in your sport.

I have found one variation which I personally like, as it engages your core quite a bit more that the traditional lat pull down.

Doing the movement this way has more overall benefit!

You can see it below:

Concluding Thoughts – Inverted Rows, Pull-ups & Chin-ups

Depending on your current level of fitness, all three of these exercises have a place in your routine.

I do have some generally simple advice for you though.

The first piece of advice which I would like to share is that you should never, ever, compromise form on a single rep of these.

Although these are bodyweight exercises, the strain on your joints can be just as much as when doing weighted training, if performed incorrectly.  Ensure proper training habits early, and do not force reps out unnecessarily.

I am all for pushing your limits in strength, but not at the expense of joint health.

Next, I really do recommend working primarily with pull-ups, and inverted rows. In my opinion, chin-ups can be seriously damaging to your elbows overtime.

Chin-ups may seem easier for you in the beginning, but overtime this will wear on you.

If you make a concerted effort from the time you begin working with these exercises to focus on the absolute best form possible, with the safer movements, you will assuredly have far better results.

One of the easiest ways you can increase your ability to perform pull ups or chin ups, is to start to work with Fat Gripz.  Fat Gripz can quickly increase your “pulling” strength, due to strengthening your hands.

Also, this will help protect your elbows, since your hands and forearms will be able to do more “work” in the movement.

This is an awesome tip that I highly recommend you try out for yourself!

Lastly, don’t be afraid to add weights to these movements over time!

Challenging the stability of each movement in different, and unique ways, will help you build an immensely stronger body overall.

As soon as you are comfortable, go ahead and attack these movements!

Add these movements in to your routine in whichever way is best for you, because they are three effective movements that will help you build the body of your dreams!


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