How To Do Chin Ups

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How To Do Chin Ups

The chin up is a classic exercise to target your lats, as well as secondarily, your biceps and shoulders. It’s notoriously considered a somewhat difficult exercise due to it involving lifting the entirety of your body weight. In fact, it’s often used as a cliché hallmark as to whether someone’s a “weakling” or not, if they can’t do a complete chin up. 

The truth is, it requires quite a bit of strength to perform one of these, meaning those just starting out in building upper body strength quite frankly can’t do this. Lifting significant weight is usually supported by much more of the body than just the upper body, after all. 

That said, if you’re at a point where’ve built the strength to start performing this exercise, it’s an excellent thing to add to your regimen, as lats are hard to target with some sets. 

What You Need 

All you need is a bar. It’s a good idea to wear gloves while performing this exercise, to prevent damage to your palms and fingers, and possibly a mat to pad the impact of landing. 

Chin Ups Muscles Worked


  • Stand straight, legs together. Reach up and grip the bar overhead, palms facing behind you. 
  • Bending at the elbows (using your biceps), pull to lift yourself upward until your chin is above the bar. 
  • Hold yourself for a second or less, and then lower yourself down gradually. Avoid letting gravity do this for you, and avoid hitting the floor hard, as this is hard on your ankles and feet. 


This is an exercise you shouldn’t attempt until you’re ready. The inability to perform this exercise isn’t a sign of failure, it’s merely an indicator of areas that need work beforehand. The human body, even a fit one, is extremely heavy, especially with nothing supporting it! 
If you have shoulder problems, consult a doctor before attempting this exercise. The same goes for sufferers of advanced rheumatoid arthritis, spinal conditions and the like. 

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