Pushups Versus Pull-Ups: Which One Is Better For You?

Workout goals are as unique as the people who set them. This can make finding an ideal workout hard, as it takes time to find out which workout best suits the goal in mind. People with PCOS, for instance, will want to avoid the latest cardio trend and go for something like high-intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT (via the PCOS Project). Those looking to increase their flexibility and reduce stress may want to try yoga instead.

Those who want to build their own workouts have a harder time still. There are countless exercises that a person can do, depending on their ability, their equipment, and the available space. Complicating matters even further are all the variations to well-known moves like dips and crunches. It can leave a person's head spinning. But as with all things, planning a workout is best done by starting with the basics. And few moves are as ingrained in the idea of physical training as the pushup and the pull-up. The real trick is knowing which move is right for your needs and if one is better than the other.

It's a personal call

Both pushups and pull-ups have big upsides. As Healthline explains, pull-ups improve grip strength as they work the back and shoulders, all while challenging targeted back muscles to improve overall fitness. Pushups, on the other hand, work the entire body, according to Harvard Health Publishing. And with all of the available variations, there is a version available for almost every level of ability — from people just starting out to those seeking a more intense fitness challenge. But is one better for you than the other?

That depends on your goals. If you want to work the core and the lower body in addition to the back, pushups are going to be your best bet, according to Cardio Smash. Pull-ups don't really engage the lower body, though they do use abdominal strength to protect the lower back during the exercise. If you want to focus more intensely on your back, shoulders, and upper chest, however, the site recommends pull-ups instead. In the end, the choice comes down to the goal at hand and personal ability, something each person has to decide for themselves.