How to Do a Chin Up

Many of you want to learn how to do a chin up. It’s a great goal to have and it’s not impossible.


There’s a difference between a pull up and a chin up. First of all a pull up is an overhand grip and chin up is an under handgrip. If you want to do a chin up, you are going to engage your biceps a little bit more.


Here’s a short video to give you some tips on how to do a chin up:


It’s great to learn how to do a chin up, but you don’t want to just use your biceps when doing the movement, because your back is a lot stronger than your biceps alone. So, we want to engage the back and the biceps to be able to get one chin up or maximize your chin ups.


The first thing you’re going to do when you’re learning to do a chin up is you’re going to grab your chin up bar and you’re going to learn how to isolate your back. You need to to do a scapular retraction. This is when you squeeze the shoulder blades down and back, like you’re squeezing a pencil between the shoulder blades. Hang from the bar and try to lift your body without bending your arms. This is a scapular retraction. You can get about three or four inches of movement just by retracting the scapula. So this is the first step in learning the chin up: learning scapular retraction.


Now, before you can ever do a chin up, one of the best thing to do is to do assisted chin ups.

Here are the steps:

· Go to the chin up bar.

· But a box, bench or something to stand on underneath you.

· Start the movement with a scapular retraction, try to get a few inches of movement without bending the arms.

· Then you’re going to help yourself all the way up with the chin over the bar.

· Then you’re going to do the eccentric contraction all the way down. So in other words you are going to slowly lower yourself down.

Now, a lot of people think that it is the contraction or the movement on the way up that builds strength and that is actually inaccurate. It is the eccentric or lengthening of the muscle that builds strength. So you can do an assisted pull up, help yourself on the way up, control the descent, control that eccentric contraction that is what is going to help you build strength.

Now, be warned those eccentric contractions cause a lot of muscle soreness, so you don’t want to do a whole lot right in the beginning, start slowly. Do maybe two or three on the first day and build up and each day you might get closer to being able to do your own chin up without any assistance. clip_image008

Again the two strategies to get your first chin up are: first of all start with learning how to do a scapular retraction, learning how to engage the lats through isolating the scapula and secondly doing the assist and working the eccentric contraction.

You’ll be banging our a ton of chin ups after you learn how to do a chin up with these strategies. clip_image010