Suck at Chin Ups? This Will Help!
The chin-up is on the list of “must do” exercises along with squats, deadlifts, and presses. Ages ago, it used to be the go to movement but has taken a back seat to machines and a lack of proper training knowledge. There are the rare few though you want to try chin-ups but just can’t do them. Let’s fix that.
Before we get into the specifics though, it’s important to understand why you should be doing the chin-up in the first place. As I tell all of my personal training clients, if you can’t think of a good reason to do an exercise, then dispose of it. Chin-ups is a nice bang for your back exercise you want to be able to do.
One of the main benefits of doing chins is how they train the latissimus dorsi (or lats for short). The lat is a large muscle that stretches the width of your back. It inserts along your arm and then originates in several places, one of them being your low back and the other being your shoulder-blade. Take that cellphone of yours and nab a selfie of your bare back– that’s a lot of real estate to cover. Don’t let this muscle go to waste.
It’s the connection to your arm where all the magic happens. This muscle is responsible for a lot of different movements at the shoulder joint. Throwing, pushing, pulling, and even running all involve this muscle. Powerlifters train the lats extensively because of the muscle’s role in stabilizing the barbell. Stability is pretty important when you’re lying on your back while holding 500 pounds above you. So for athletes, chins are a must.
If performance training isn’t your bag, then the lats are crucial in developing a nice looking physique. Developing them makes your torso wider, thus creating the coveted V-Shape look everyone is after.
Lastly, cable pulldowns are a nice accessory exercise to do after chin-ups. Chin-ups will make you stronger for pulldowns- but endless sets of pulldowns will do nothing for your chins. It’s not a mutually exclusive list.
So what are you waiting for? Just latch on to a bar and start pulling yourself up – this video will help.