Chin Ups

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Disco, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Disco

    Disco 11 years a white belt

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    Had an interesting discussion with a friend yesterday wanted to get some other opinions.

    What is the correct starting position for a chin up?

    I have always done it from the complete bottom. My arms are straight, my shoulders are not taught, they hang up next to my ears.

    He tells me that although it is admirable to do them from the bottom, the fact is that if you are allowing yourself to go limp, you are making too difficult to do the chin up, particularly on multiple sets. He advocates going down as far as you can without relaxing your muscles, so your arms would remain slightly bent, if at a 10degree angle, even at the bottom.
     
  2. Chernabog

    Chernabog Sherdog Curator

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    Let's see what Rip has to say about chinups:

     
  3. Pearse Shields

    Pearse Shields Amateur Fighter

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    Start from the bottom. You can still keep tension while going to full extension.
     
  4. ssdd

    ssdd Purple Belt

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    Go all the way down, arms straight, without letting your shoulders relax and "come out of the socket", not literally out of the socket but thats what it kind of feels like.
     
  5. snoop dogg***

    snoop dogg*** Baby Heath goon$quad

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    i go all the way down to the point where my whole body is straight.
     
  6. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    I find the bottom part of the chin the easiest. The answer is to always do it, and not make excuses.
     
  7. Babyeater

    Babyeater Yellow Belt

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    Bingo. Anything other than this, in my opinion, is an excuse. Are your arms straight when you take out your bench? I'm hoping they are. If so, why wouldn't you want full extension and fully straightened arms in a lift that should correspond with and support the engagement of your lats when benching?

    If you don't want it to carry over to your bench, disregard this.
     
  8. tkdyo

    tkdyo Orange Belt

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    baby eater, your post brings up a question I thought of today while benching. Sorry to derail the thread...but why isnt close grip bench the standard for benching instead of wide?

    I ask this because...on every lift we make a very large deal about range of motion (including here with the chin up) but when you do normal or wide grip bench, your arms dont end straight out in front of you, which implies theres still a lot of contraction the pecs could do, doesnt it? So it just makes me wonder why close grip is considered the accessory exercise when it involves more range of motion than normal grip.
     
  9. Fighting Sprite

    Fighting Sprite Green Belt

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    I've wondered something similar about deadlifts. Why not lift off as big of a deficit as you, safely, can?
     
  10. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Well, if someone's benching as part of training for powerlifting, the answer should be fairly obvious. But if someone is benching as part of strength training for something else, there's no reason why they wouldn't use a more moderate grip, barring some kind of shoulder issue that was less friendly to the narrower grip.


    You could, but as you increase the deficit, it progressively turns the deadlift into a heavy lower back / hip extension exercise, or a different exercise altogether. Not a bad one, mind, but one that'd have a place more like RDLs or GMs.
     
  11. tkdyo

    tkdyo Orange Belt

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    True, but I guess I meant in power lifting as a standard. Most rules in powerlifting are made so that the muscle has to go through a full range of motion, and also so the lifters cant artificially inflate their numbers right or is that not true? Because if not, then my premise is faulty lol. But with bench press, it seems like a wide or even standard grip doesnt really show a full range of motion. So I wonder why they found that ok instead of enforcing a narrower grip.
     
  12. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Really, the ROM and the weights used aren't necessarily that different between narrow grip and a wider bench. And the rules do limit how wide the grip can be, it's just not held to some arbitrarily high standard. But that's a good thing - a certain amount of flexibility in how various people execute the lifts is necessary.

    Unless we're talking about absolutely horrendous lifts getting accepted when they have no business being white lighted, decreasing ROM isn't much of an advantage. For example, sumo deadlifts have a shorter ROM than conventional, but every 1000lb+ pull has been conventional. Or more specific to this discussion, you'll see powerlifters who bench with a more moderate grip and/or arch in competition.
     
  13. Simon Boulter

    Simon Boulter Orange Belt Professional Fighter

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    I was jotting down ideas on this subject for an article and for my book last night, I hope this helps.

    I encourage a full range of motion when doing pull ups, that being said its important to not simply hang loosely from the bar at the bottom of a pull up, you must keep your shoulders tight at all times, this becomes especially important when training for a one arm pull up or hanging leg raises variations.

    If you hang from a bar with your shoulders loose, you’ll likely stretch many of the more vulnerable and delicate ligaments of the shoulder joint, which can sometimes result in injury, with the most extreme example being dislocation.

    So when doing your pull ups, along with any kind of hanging leg raise, aim to pull your arms down into your shoulder socket, even when your elbows are straight. If your neck starts to disappear into your arms and ears, you know something has gone wrong.

    If you ever wish to progress to a one arm chin up, you’ll definitely need to master this technique.
    That being said, with regards to chin ups (palms facing you), I suggest a slight bend in the elbow at the bottom, as they have been known to aggravate the elbow at high volume, but when using pull ups (palms facing away) grip, be sure to go all the way down and lock out the elbows.

    http://youtu.be/DaULRsHGfxE
    Notice the slight bend in the elbow at the bottom, but still using full range of motion.

    The natural movement pattern towards the bottom when doing chin ups is for the hands to rotate inwards to a pull up grip, to keep stress off of the elbows, and then rotate to a chin up grip on the way up. This is why many beginners begin to develop elbow issues when first starting to train with pull ups, the first progression many use are chins.

    To keep the elbows healthy when doing a high volume of pull ups, the best thing would be to do them on gymnastics rings, using a deadhang pull up grip at the bottom, then rotating to a chin up grip on the way up. That at least is what your arms 'want' to do when doing chin ups. Or just simply keep a slight bend in the elbow, if you are going to continue chin ups with an underhand grip on a bar.

    So yes use full range of motion, start from a dead hang with shoulders tight, pulled back and down, chest up as well. With pull ups, lock out the elbows. But since your thread title was chin ups, i thought it worth mentioning. I recommend keeping a very, very slight kink in the elbow until you progress to neutral grip or over hand grip pull ups.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  14. Miiiiiiighty

    Miiiiiiighty Gold Belt

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    As someone told me once :

    " Half-ass range of motion, half-ass results" ( I added the ass part I must admit lol )
     
  15. Disco

    Disco 11 years a white belt

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    Hi Simon that's a very interesting answer, and your video is very similar to how my friend did his. And I do have an elbow thing that sometimes gets aggravated by chins (or cleans) so I might try it like that
     
  16. Griborn

    Griborn White Belt

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    I've thought it was the other way around with the grip on chins/pull-ups. Googled it and seems like sweden's the only country that got it backwards.
     
  17. Brock2026

    Brock2026 Higher Primate

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    I would normally do chin ups/pull ups going the whole way down into a dead hang for every repetition.
     
  18. TriangleMan

    TriangleMan Purple Belt

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    Just watch those black guys work out in the park, their form is a million times stricter and smoother than Rip's
     
  19. Chernabog

    Chernabog Sherdog Curator

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  20. Simon Boulter

    Simon Boulter Orange Belt Professional Fighter

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    Thanks mate.
    You might find this article useful, just finished putting it together.
    http://boultertraining.com/pull-ups-101-from-zero-to-hero/
     

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