This is the easier of the two because pulling yourself up with your biceps is much easier than the pull up, which involves more effort from your forearms.
- Start by grabbing the bar underhand
- Bend your elbows slightly. It's not cheating to start with bent elbows because completely straight arms makes this exercise nearly impossible.
- Focus on your biceps and lats as you pull up and stick your chest upward toward the bar.
- Try to get your chin over the bar and lower slowly back to your bent elbow starting position.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip.
- Bend at the elbows like with the chin up
- Focus on your back muscles and as you raise yourself up, pull your shoulder blades toward each other.
- Again, try to get your chin over the bar and slowly lower back down to starting position.
- If you cannot perform one chin up or pull up work your way toward this goal by using a step or stability ball underneath you. Try to use as little help as possible from your legs to raise yourself up.
- Mixed Grip. Try one hand over and one hand under to change up your routine. Remember to perform a second set with the grips reversed so you achieve muscle symmetry.
- Towel Grip. Throw a strong gym towel over the bar and grip with your palms facing each other. This "hammer curl" grip will work the side of your arms and forearms.
- One Arm Pull Up/Chin Up. If you are really strong and can perform numerous chin ups, try doing them one handed.
- Flexed hang. If you can get hold your own weight but you can't complete full reps yet, try to see how long you can hold your weight with your chin over the bar in any grip.
Chin ups and pull ups are surprisingly good for your core. I noticed that after I started practicing a couple years ago, my stomach flattened up rather quickly. It takes a lot of abdominal strength to pull your weight up. So you will really feel it the next day.
For direct core work on the chin up bar try:
- Hanging knee raises. Hang on to the bar and let your body drop. Now raise your knees in to chest as many times as you can. Try not to let your knees drop lower than your hips on every repetition as it puts strain on the low back.
- Hanging leg raise. This variation is harder than the knee raise. Straighten your legs and raise them as high as you can. Try holding for a few seconds for an extra killer workout.
- Side to Side Raises. Using either your knees or legs try raising side to side for extra focus on your obliques.
It's incredible what a bar can do for your physique. They are affordable, easy to assemble and can be secured anywhere that is strong enough to hold your weight. Most door frames are perfect!
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