Keep Your Chin Up!!

By Ryan Unverzagt

Keep Your Chin Up!!

This month’s exercise is the chin-Up – the chin-up warrants an underhand grip (palms facing you) about six to eight inches apart. You might be wondering, “What’s the difference between a chin-up and pull-up?” The answer is in the grip. The pull-up has either an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) or a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and the hands are generally placed wider to emphasize the latissimus dorsi.

The chin-up targets the back muscles (latissimus dorsi, middle & lower trapezius, rhomboids, teres major), posterior deltoids, and biceps.  It provides a better mechanical advantage than the wide-grip pull-up meaning that the chin-up is easier to perform. Another benefit of this exercise is that it helps increase your grip strength.

To start, grab the bar with an underhand grip as described above and assume a hanging position (figure 1). Pull yourself up utilizing your back and biceps until your chin is above the bar (figure 2). Lower yourself down until your arms are almost straight. A common mistake is to lower only halfway or ninety degrees elbow flexion. Complete a full range of motion to optimize strength gains.

The chin-up can be performed anywhere there is a stable bar above the head.  This is a perfect exercise to use in a push/pull super-set with the dip. After finishing a set of dips, you can go right to chin-ups to work the back and biceps while your chest and triceps get a break.  Try two sets of ten repetitions for each exercise. If you can’t do a chin-up, have a spotter grab your feet to assist during the pull. Enjoy your bodyweight exercises because they give you a great workout for strength or endurance gains. Until next time, stay fit!

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