We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Most people twinge when they recall junior high days and trying to lift themselves high enough to get their chin above the bar on a pull-up. Even when you get older and stronger, you face the pull-up bar with a fair amount of terror. While pull-ups are the best way to work your back muscles, or lats, this body weight exercise also requires a strong core, grip and shoulder muscles. Chin-ups use a similar up-down vertical movement but you can squeeze your biceps to peek over the bar.
Differences in Grip and Movement
When doing a pull-up, use an overhand, or pronated, grip in which the palms face away from you. The standard grip width is slightly wider than shoulder-width distance. For a chin-up, you use an underhand, or supinated, grip in which the palms face toward you. The standard grip for a chin-up is shoulder-width distance. Although you work your lats, or the muscles in the middle of your back, in both exercises, the movements are different due to their respective grips. Pull-ups employ shoulder adduction. Your elbows move up and down along your sides. In chin-ups, you use shoulder extension, so elbow movement takes place in front of you.
The Strength of Your Biceps
To perform chin-ups, you use your biceps along with your lats to lift your body weight, so the difficulty of the exercise will depend on your arm and back strength. Pull-ups require more work from your lats because your biceps are in a weaker position. Because most people have strong arms, chin-ups are easier to do than pull-ups. The narrower grip of a chin-up also trains the biceps. As you widen the grip, you rely more on the strength of your back to pull yourself up and over the bar. Marathoner Clint Verran uses chin-ups to strengthen the muscles of his back and arms as part of his post-run routine, according to his article Upper-Body Advantage in "Runner's World." The underhanded grip better mimics the movements in running.
The Midground: Modified Grips
By performing a neutral-grip pull-up, you can transition from a chin-up to a full-fledged pull-up. In this type of pull-up, you grip the parallel bars of a pull-up station, palms facing each other. The handles should be at 90-degree angles to the bar. Because your arms are positioned inside your shoulders, you can leverage more of your upper body to lift your body weight. You can also perform the pull-up with a narrow grip. By positioning your hands closer together on the bar, you can draw on your biceps to help you lift your chin above the bar. The narrow grip is therefore a little easier than the wide grip on a pull-up.
If you're one of the chosen few - too strong and can pop off pull-ups with ease - you can add weight to the exercise. Attach a weight plate to a dipping belt and wear it around your waist. If you don't have access to a belt, you can hold a dumbbell between your feet. Aim for a weight that is about 5 to 10 percent of your body weight, according to Michael Mejia's article Master the Pullup in "Men's Health." Because of the added resistance, the number of reps you can perform may decrease by two or three. Perform four to five sets of your targeted number of reps, resting a minute between sets.