Chin ups are a great exercise to add into your workout routine for a variety of reasons. They engage all of your upper body muscles, from your back and abs to your core when done correctly. Chin ups are also a good exercise for improving your overall posture and building up your grip strength. Also, in terms in practicality chin ups can be performed in a small space with little equipment. However, much like every exercise, it is important to perform these movements correctly in order to achieve optimal results and avoid injury.
What is a Chin Up?
You may have heard the terms ‘chin up’ and ‘pull up’ being used before, often interchangeably, but the two are quite different. Both exercises use the same muscle groups but the two use different grips and this changes the way in which the muscles are affected:
- Pull ups involve gripping the pull up bar with the palms facing downwards (hands facing away from you) and engages both your back and your biceps.
- Chin ups differ in that your palms face upwards (hands facing towards you) and, though your back muscles will be engaged, there is more emphasis on the biceps.
Therefore, chin ups are often used by those who wish to grow their arms as you are using your arms to lift your entire body weight.
How to Do a Chin Up
- First, grab hold of the pull up bar and grip it firmly. Your grip should be shoulder-width apart and comfortable.
- Carefully lift your feet from the floor and hang from the bar with your arms held straight.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is past the bar, by pulling your elbows towards the ground.
- Slowly lower yourself towards the ground again, until your arms are once again straight.
Maintaining Proper Form
In order to get the most out of your chin ups, it is important to maintain the correct form throughout every rep. Make sure to remember these three important rules:
- Always perform a full rep. Many people do not pull themselves high enough or do not allow themselves to drop low enough. For the best results make sure to make every rep a full one.
- Fully engage your shoulders at the beginning of the exercise to avoid straining your joints.
- Do not put yourself at risk of injury by overworking yourself. Though there are many variations of pull ups and chin ups, involving different grip widths, weights, and more, you do not need to do them all if you are not ready for them. Focus on form rather than looking impressive!
The chin up is just one of the exercises that personal trainers use with their clients. To learn more about these movements, and possibly even become a personal trainer yourself, you need to do our Personal Training Diploma! For more information, please follow this link.