- Target Muscle Group
- Exercise TypeStrength
- Equipment RequiredBodyweight
- Force TypePull (Bilateral)
- Experience LevelBeginner
- Secondary Muscles
Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Chin Up Overview
The chin up is a variation of the pull up and an exercise used to build the muscles of the back - particularly the lats.
The chin up differs from the pull up in that the chin up allows for a greater degree of bicep involvement during the pulling movement.
Vertical pull exercises such as the chin up are critical to have in your workout program to build a well balanced and strong physique.
Chin Up Instructions
- Using a supinated grip, grasp the bar with a shoulder width grip.
- Take a deep breath, squeeze your glutes and brace your abs. Depress the shoulder blades and then drive the elbows straight down to the floor while activating the lats.
- Pull your chin towards the bar until the lats are fully contracted, then slowly lower yourself back to the start position and repeat for the assigned number of repetitions.
Chin Up Tips
- To decrease bicep involvement, use a false (thumbless grip).
- Try to keep a neutral head position (looking straight ahead or slightly up) as hyperextending the neck can lead to compensations throughout the spine.
- If the bar is high enough, keep the legs straight and in front of the body.
- Avoid falling into overextension of the lumbar spine by squeezing your glutes and bracing your abs.
- The chin-up is completed when the lats are fully flexed, don’t continue pulling and compensate with the pecs.
- Imagine you’re trying to drive the elbows down as you pull.
- Keep your shoulders down and back, if they round forward at the top then you’ve pulled too far.
- A lifter’s segment length will determine whether or not they can actually get their chin over the bar, it’s not an absolute for everyone.
- Lower to almost full extension of the elbow but avoid locking out completely as this can place excessive strain on the ligamentous structures within the elbow and shoulder.
- If you can’t complete a single bodyweight chinup, start with slow negatives or flexed arm hangs at the top position.