Chin Ups and Pull Ups

Mar 30 04:38 2020 Christopher John Adams Print This Article

Pull Ups and Chin ups 21 March 2020|Exercise Guide   Chin ups and Pull ups  Both chin and pull ups are one of the best back exercises. They strengthen the back (lats, middle and lower trap...

Pull Ups and Chin ups 21 March 2020|Exercise Guide


Chin ups and Pull ups 

Both chin and pull ups are one of the best back exercises. They strengthen the back (lats,Guest Posting middle and lower traps, rhomboids), biceps and your grip strength.  

Difference between pull ups and chin ups 

Pull Ups - An overhand grip where your palms point outwards so that they are facing away from you.  

Chin Ups - An underhand grip where your palms point inwards so that they are facing you.  

Neutral Grip - Where your palms are facing each other. 

Most people will usually be stronger at chin ups than they are at pull ups. Chin ups works your biceps a bit harder than pull-ups well.  


How to do a pull ups, chin up and neutral grip pull ups 

-Grab the bar with your hands around shoulder-width apart. The grip will depend on whether you’re doing chin ups, pull ups, or neutral grip pull ups. 

-Retract your shoulder blades to reduce the stress on the shoulder joints. Don't let them round forward 

-Keep your body stable and core engaged, squeeze your glutes and don’t let your legs flop around 

-Pull your body up until your chin is over the bar 

-Slowly lower to the start position. 

To progress, you can add sets or reps, add weight and work towards a one arm chin up. The one arm chin up is very advanced and not many people will achieve this. 


What to do if you can't do a single pull up


Here are some ways to work towards doing them. 

1. Get better at lat pull downs and oth back exercises 

2. Lose weight 

Carrying too much fat will make pull ups much harder. Just losing weight is often all someone needs to do to be able to do a single rep. 

3. Eccentric work  

This is just doing the going down part of the pull up. Climb and get yourself into the top of the pull up, then work on lowering yourself at a slower tempo. Most people will be able to lower themselves down even if they can’t do a pull up.  

4. Eccentric with holds 

Like the eccentric work, you climb to the top and just do lowering part of the pull up, but this time hold the position at points. For example, hold the position near the top, middle and towards the bottom. Over time you can increase the time you do the holds. 

5 Resistance bands 

You can ha a resistance band from the bar and wrap it around your knees. This will help you perform the pull up. Over time you can use bands with less resistance to build your strength.


Ways to Progress.

Increase the number of reps you can do with your bodyweight. One way I liked to do this was to use the ladder method. For example, if you can do 8 reps for a single set, you could set it up like this. Start with 1 rep and increase until you get to six reps, and then go back down again.

So it would look like this 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1. This gives you 36 reps. You could go back up and down the ladder again so you'll do 72 reps.


Once you're able to do a decent amount of reps with your bodyweight, you can add weight just like you would any other exercise by using a dipping delt.


You can also start training to do a one pull up, or one arm chin up.

Side to Side Pull ups

Side to side pull ups

Side to side pull ups is a good starting point. With the exercise, you pull up to the side instead of straight up. Make sure you do the same amount of reps on each side. You're still using both hands, but the arm you pull towards will do most of the work.  


Assisted one arm chin ups

Assisted One Arm Chin up

With this variation, you pull with one arm and use the other arm only as much as you need to complete the reps. In the picture, you'll see I'm only holding on with my fingertips on my right hand. Over time you'll use the supporting arm less and less until you can do a a full rep with just one arm. Make sure you work both sides equally.   

No matter how advanced you are, you'll never outgrow pull ups. There's always a way to progress.

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Christopher John Adams
Christopher John Adams

Chris Adams

Personal Trainer

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