Chin-ups are part of many gym-goers training programs.
They’re a great exercise for building your back, arms, shoulders, and core…
But are they actually beneficial for your chest too?
That’s exactly what we look at in this article.
We look at whether chin-ups have a place in chest workouts as well as discuss why some people might feel pain in their chest muscles during and after chin-ups.
Do Chin-Ups Work Your Chest?
Your chest muscles, in particular the pectoralis major activate during chin-ups.
They come into play during the upward phase of the movement when you’re pulling yourself up towards the bar.
Although your chest muscles play a part in chin-ups, they don’t work nearly as hard as the primary muscles involved in the movement.
Your lats and biceps will be the muscles doing most of the work in chin-ups, but your chest (and other muscles) will assist at various points.
Why Do Some People Feel Chest Pain During Chin-Ups?
There are a number of reasons why some people may feel muscular chest pain during pull-ups.
Normal Working Muscle Discomfort
As your chest forms part of the working muscles involved in chin-ups, some mild discomfort or pain could be felt during the exercise.
It could be that chest pain felt during chin-ups is perfectly normal and is simply your chest muscles working hard to make the movement happen.
Errors in your chin-up technique could result in more stress being placed on your chest than expected.
This extra stress can cause pain and could indicate that you need to stop and reset to ensure your technique is correct.
There’s also the possibility that pain felt in your chest during chin-ups is a sign of an injury.
If you experience pain when doing chin-ups (or any other exercise), it could be worth speaking with a medical professional to rule out an injury.
Why Do Some People Feel Chest Pain After Chin-Ups?
There are also several reasons why some people feel muscular chest pain after they finish doing chin-ups.
Working Muscles Recovery Pain
As your chest activates during chin-ups, any discomfort or pain felt afterward could just simply be normal muscular pain caused by the muscles working hard during exercise.
Microscopic tears form in the working muscles and these need to be repaired.
The tears can cause some discomfort so this could be why pain is felt in the chest after chin-ups.
After exercise, you might experience some mild discomfort in the working muscles but this should never turn into pain.
Any pain felt after exercise could be an indication that you’ve picked up an injury.
If you’re worried about pain in your chest muscles, particularly if it lasts for a while, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor to ensure you haven’t got a serious injury.
If you train your chest too much i.e. doing chin-ups too frequently or increasing the intensity of your workouts too soon, you could experience pain in your chest.
Overloading your muscles is key to muscle growth and development, whereas overtraining is likely to cause fatigue, injury, and lack of progress.
Can You Do Chin-Ups On Chest Day?
You can but they probably won’t have too much impact on your overall chest development.
During chin-ups, your lats are still doing most of the work although your biceps come into play more than they would in a standard pull-up.
The mid to lower section of your pectoralis major activates to assist your back muscles (including your lats) lift your body weight up towards the bar.
While this activation means your chest is working, it isn’t working anywhere near enough to be considered a chest exercise.
Chin-ups would be better suited to back day or maybe even arm day as these muscle groups work much harder than your chest does during the exercise.
Which Muscles Are Chin-Ups Good For?
Like standard pull-ups, chin-ups do a great job at working your back muscles. Your lats and your teres major will have to work hard during the movement.
In addition to your back, your arms play a big role in chin-ups too. Your biceps are placed under a lot of stress so can get some great benefits from the exercise.
Your deltoids (shoulders) also come into play during chin-ups making them a great upper body exercise.
Obviously, your chest also plays a small role in chin-ups so this shouldn’t be overlooked.
Chin-ups certainly aren’t a chest exercise but they’re very effective at working multiple muscles in your upper body at the same time.