Pull-ups & Chin-ups force you to lift your own body-weight. They are the best strength training exercises you can do for upper-body strength & muscle mass. Unfortunately Pull-ups & Chin-ups are hard. Very hard.
If you’re a beginner, chances are you can’t do 1 Pull-up or Chin-up. This article will not only teach you how to do Pull-ups & Chin-ups with proper technique, but also how to get stronger at them so you can do the weighted versions.
What are Pull-ups & Chin-ups? Hang on a pull-up bar with straight arms & pull yourself up until your chin passes the bar. The difference between Pull-ups & Chin-ups is in the grip:
- Pull-ups. Palms facing away. Less biceps, more back. Harder.
- Chin-ups. Palms facing you. Work your biceps more. Easier.
Other Pull-up variations include: palms facing each others, thumbless grip, towel Pull-ups, Fat Bar Pull-ups, Mixed Grip Pull-ups, Horizontal Pull-ups, Kipping Pull-ups, etc.
Benefits of Pull-ups & Chin-ups
- Build Muscle. Pull-ups & Chin-ups force you to lift your own bodyweight. This stresses your body, building the muscles of your arms & back.
- Grappling Strength. Pull-ups & Chin-ups help any sport which involves gripping, grappling & pulling, like Rock Climbing.
- Carryover. Get stronger at Pull-ups & Chin-ups and you’ll get stronger on the opposite movements: the Overhead Press & Bench Press.
- Shoulder Health. Balancing press exercises like the Bench Press with pull exercises like Barbell Rows & Pull-ups prevents muscle imbalances.
What Do You Need for Pull-ups & Chin-ups? A Power Rack with a Pull-up bar works best. Or a Doorway Pull-up bar. Any surface where you can hang from at arm’s length will do for Pull-ups & Chin-ups.
What if You Can’t Do 1 Pull-up or Chin-up? Whatever method you choose: pull yourself up as if nothing/nobody was helping you. Pull-ups & Chin-ups feel very different without assistance. And always try to beat your previous record.
- Chin-ups. Chin-ups are easier than Pull-ups. If you can’t do 1 Pull-up, try Chin-ups. Alternate Chin-ups with Pull-ups when you get stronger.
- Resistance Band. Attach a resistance Band to your Pull-up bar and loop it around your knee.
- Ask For Help. Ask someone to grab your side with his hands. Let him help you on the way up by squatting down & pressing up.
- Kipping Pull-ups. Swing your hips while pulling yourself up until you get stronger.
- Use Momentum. Jump up & use momentum. Control yourself on the way down. This one will get you a sore back & arms. You’re warned.
I’m too Heavy For Pull-ups & Chin-ups. Your body-weight is not the problem. Strength is. If you want to get stronger at Pull-ups & Chin-ups, do them more.