How to Use The Chin Up Technique

man performing chin ups

Whether you’re interested in honing your body for competition or you’re looking for a new high-intensity fitness routine that will get you up and moving, chin ups are likely to be involved. Chin ups work many different muscles that are important to your success as an athlete, including your latissimus dorsi (lats) and biceps, as well as your trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis major, and rectus abdominis.

As one of the toughest bodyweight exercises in the book, it is important that you start off slow. Read on to learn more about accomplishing the chin up with proper technique.

First Timer? How to Prepare Your Body

If you’ve never done a chin up before, here’s a word of advice: don’t start cold turkey. If you grip the bar in front of all those other trainers at the gym, just to find out that your body isn’t ready, you’re going to get discouraged—and possibly even hurt yourself.

Instead, you should set small, repeatable goals that you can accomplish and transcend. Between each goal, make sure that you take a break from your chin up training to allow your muscles to recover before moving on.

Start By Building Up Your Grip Strength

When starting out, it’s all about building up your grip strength. At the beginning and end of each workout session, grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing your torso. Your hands should grip the bar at your own shoulder width, or slightly narrower.

Instead of trying to pull yourself upward, simply hang at arm’s length from the bar for as long as you can. This will help you get used to supporting your own bodyweight. Repeat until you can hang for at least 30 seconds.

Add Movement to the Equation

Now that you’ve trained your grip, it’s time to add movement to the equation. Just like before, you’ll want to grab the pull-up bar, palms facing your torso, at your own shoulder width or slightly narrower.

Once you’re hanging at arm’s length, pull yourself up 2 or 3 inches, and then hold. After several seconds pass, lower yourself into a hanging position again, and then immediately pull yourself up those few small inches once more.

Repeat this until your arms give out or you cannot pull yourself up any longer. Repeat this drill before and after every workout session until you successfully achieve 10 reps.

Switch It Up with Negative Training

woman performing chin ups

This time, place a chair or a footstool beneath the pull-up bar. Ideally, you should choose a chair that will put you in the top-most position of the chin up exercise when standing on it (your arms should be flexed and your chin should be just above the pull-up bar).

Stand on the chair, place your hands in the same position that you’ve been practicing with the previous drills, and slowly lower yourself. The key here is to fight gravity all the way down, until you have your arms fully extended. You don’t want to simply fall downward.

Once you’re in a dead arm hang, place your feet on the floor and let go of the bar, climb back onto the chair, and get yourself into the starting position once again. Repeat the process until you can do at least 6 reps back-to-back, nice and slow.

Move On to the Flexed Arm Hang

The last step you should take in your chin up training is the flexed arm hang. Instead of practicing this drill at the beginning and end of every session, only do it at the beginning—when you’re at your strongest.

Just like with your negative training, set up a chair beneath your pull-up bar and get into the top-most position. Take your feet off the chair and fight to hold your position for as long as you can. Do this only once. When the time comes that you can hold yourself for at least 30 seconds, it’s time to move on to the real-deal chin up technique.

How to Perform a Chin Up

Position your hands on the bar, the same way you’ve been practicing, starting with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your torso as straight as possible, your chest out, and your elbows close to your body. Cross one leg behind the other, taking your feet from the ground (so that you’re in a dead-hang) and exhale as you pull yourself upward. Contract your shoulder blades as you pull your chest toward the bar.

Once your chin is above the bar, slowly lower yourself back down while breathing in. Repeat until you cannot go any longer, or until you’ve met your goal, and then lower yourself slowly to the floor (like you did with negative training).

Seeing Is Believing

Whether you’re doing chin ups for boxing fitness exercises or other sports, if you think a demonstration will help you excel, check out guided videos with helpful narration and demos. Get started on your journey to the perfect chin up today!

Author Bio:Jenna Thompson is a freelance writer and boxing coach from Los Angeles, California. With over 10 years of experience competing as an amateur boxer, she has received high recognition from clubs and studios everywhere. When she is not busy coaching, she enjoys publishing informative articles on media and news outlets.