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Chin Up

May 16, 2023 | Joel Runyon

Chin Ups are one the best compound, full bodyweight exercises you can perform. Unlike their relative, the Pull Up, Chin Ups are a little easier to perform for those who haven’t yet developed the requisite upper body strength.

Chin Up vs. Pull Up

The difference between a Pull Up and a Chin Up is that for a Chin Up, your palms are facing in towards your body. This will target primarily your biceps, but will challenge your shoulders and back muscles as well.

How to do a Chin Up

Start the exercise by standing just under a Chin Up bar or handles above your head.

If you’re not quite tall enough to comfortably grab the bar, you can use a small step stool or box. The key is that you want to initiate the movement from a static position, not swinging or halfway leaping up to the top of the bar.

With your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing inwards, grab the bar with a firm grip and let your arms and body drop to a loose hang. Bend your knees and pull your feet up a bit behind you. Activate your shoulders and your biceps to pull your chin just above the height of the bar, exhaling as you do so.

Pause for a second at the top, and in a controlled manner, lower yourself back down to a hanging position with your elbows almost locked out at the bottom. This is one complete Chin Up. Do as many as you can until failure. Make sure to bring your self all the way and all the way down for a complete movement. Pulsing halfway does not count as a full rep.

Chin Up Tips

Also make sure to control your body as you ascend and descend. Swinging or jerking your torso upwards takes the emphasis off of your biceps.

Chinup Video Demonstration

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Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® and MoveWell. In addition to free fitness resources on Impossible Fitness - you can buy performance apparel and supplements on