chin ups or pull ups

Chin Ups or Pull Ups – Pulling Power, Grip Strength And A ‘V’ Shaped Back. Chin ups, Pull Ups or ‘Chins’ are probably the oldest exercise known to man.

Since we have been standing upright and on our own two feet we’ve probably been unable to resist the temptation of grabbing an overhead branch and pulling our chins above it.

Let’s take a look at the different grips for pull ups as I like to call them

  • Pronated grip pull ups is where the palms are facing away from you.  This is the hardest version of the exercise.
  • Supinated grip pull ups is where your palms are facing you and is easier to perform than the ‘pronated grip’  because your biceps help do the work.
  • Semi-supinated grip is palms facing each other and I always refer to as hammer grip pull ups.

These are excellent exercises and builders of upper body pulling power, grip strength and a they’ll give you a V shaped back.

It’s surprising how many people can’t do pull ups these days and that’s sad. However, if you are determined enough you can overcome your weaknesses and conquer the pull up.

With hard work, good exercise programming and sensible eating you can build your pulling power until you can do pull ups for reps.

Pull ups work the lats, rhomboids, teres major, the serratus groups and rotator cuff muscles as well as the forearms and hands.

They’ll even work the pecs from a ‘dead hang’ position and the abs if enough reps are completed to fatigue them.

Pull Ups vs Lat Pulldowns

With pull ups the whole body moves to the hands making it a closed chain exercise – compared to the lat pulldown which is an open chain exercise where the hands move to the body. So if we are asking which exercise is best we must ask which type of exercise is best – open or closed chain?

The answer would closed chain if you want athletic performance – open chain if you were talking bodybuilding or aesthetic purposes.

How To Do A Pull Up

• The grip can be anywhere from narrow to wide and you should vary your grip position by changing your hand position every 3-4 weeks. Every time you change the grip position you change the exercise as this changes the muscle recruitment, hits the joints from different angles and taps into different muscle pools.

• A shoulder width grip is a shoulder friendly place to start for beginners and for anyone who’s had shoulder problems.

• The movement is simple. Take your grip of the bar, start from a dead hang position and pull your elbows ‘down’ which will result in you leaving the ground.

• Start every rep from the dead hang with straight arms and the rep is completed when your chin clears the bar.

• What if you can’t even do one rep? Have someone help you pull yourself up to the bar – then hold it for 5 seconds then slowly taking 25 seconds (or as long as you can hold it) to the dead hang position.

As you can perform more reps always do your last rep in the above fashion.

If you find this too tough, you can use band assistance or you can do bent over rows or lat pulldowns and then when you’ve built enough strength progress to pull ups.

Here’s an upper body and pull up workout than will increase strength in 4 weeks

A1 Flat barbell bench press (shoulder width) 5 x 5 reps @ 80% of 1rm 

90 sec rest

A2 Pronated grip pull up (shoulder width) 5 x 5 reps @ 80% of 1rm

90 sec rest

B1 Incline dumbbell bench press 4 x 8 reps

60 sec rest

B2 Chest supported rows 4 x 8 reps

60 sec rest

C1 Dumbbell flyes 3 x 10 reps

10 sec rest

C2 Rear lateral dumbbell raises 3 x 10 reps

10 sec rest

C3 Dumbbell lateral raises 3 x 10 reps

10 sec rest

Perform 3-4 workouts per week alternating between upper and lower body

Try this workout for 4 weeks



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