Chin ups: A step by step guide

When it comes to compound exercises (exercises that work more than one body part at once) you’d be hard-pressed to come up with an exercise more effective at building strength and muscle, particularly in your back, than the humble chin up. And what’s more, this exercise doesn’t even involve any free weights or machines either, only a sturdy hanging bar.

Chin ups are ideal for anybody looking to really work their back, all the while improving their arm, grip, and shoulder strength as well. You can also work different parts of your back by altering the way you grip the bar, for example, taking a wide grip will work the upper lats, whilst a more, narrow grip will focus more on the lower lats and biceps.

Now that you know a little more about what this exercise is all about and how it can benefit you, here’s a step by step guide on how to perform chin ups safely and correctly.

–      Using a sturdy and safe chin up bar, grab it with your palms facing towards your torso, with a grip that is slightly narrower than shoulder width.

–      Next, with both of your arms fully extended, and your grip firmly in place, try to keep your body as straight as possible, and push your chest out and create a very slight curvature with your lower body.

–      Take a deep breath, and then proceed to pull yourself up off the ground, leading with your chest, ensuring that your shoulders don’t creep forwards. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back whilst pulling yourself up.

–      The idea is to use your own bodyweight as resistance to work the muscles in your back. Whilst pulling yourself up, always look up, and never let your head drop, as this can put pressure on your neck. Try to focus on the bar as you pull yourself up.

–      Pull yourself up as high as you can, until your chin is at least level with the bar. At this point, hold for a second, and then exhale as you slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

–      Repeat the process again for as many reps as you can.


Things to remember:


  • Always remember to breathe when you’re supposed to.
  • Try to keep your body as still as possible when doing the exercise, don’t try to rock for momentum.
  • Make sure that your chin is AT LEAST LEVEL with the bar when you pull yourself up, although technically it should be really be above it.

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