Chinups. A basic exercise that targets your lats, teres major and biceps as well as involving your core and back. A great all-round exercise to master.
Chinups are similar to pullups of course. The difference? A chinup is performed with an underhand grip, whereas a pullup is done using an overhand grip (palms facing you).
But how can you make chinups harder once you have the basic move mastered? Here is another in our series of Difficulty Ladder articles, where we explain the easiest and hardest versions of all your favourite basic exercises.
The basic chinup has always been the same. You grab the chinup bar with a shoulder-width, underhand grip. Hanging at arm’s length, you pull your chest up to the bar. Once the top of your chest touches the bar pause and then slowly lower yourself back to the hanging position.
Here are eight variations of the chinup from the first step on the ladder (the Negative Chinup) to the eighth (Wide-grip Pullup). Start at the bottom rung and as the weeks go by, move up the ladder when you feel comfortable doing so. Remember not to push yourself to fast too soon – listen to your body and only progress when you find the current step too easy.
Step One – Negative Chinup
Set up a bench under the chinup bar. Grasp the bar with a shoulder-width underhand grip. Jump up so that your chest is touching the bar. Now, lift your legs at the knees and cross your ankles behind you. Lower yourself slowly (five seconds) until your arms are straight, or as low as you can if you find that difficult. Use the bench to jump back up to the starting position and go again.
Step Two – Assisted Chinup
Either use the assisted chin-up machine at the gym, or use a band. Loop one end of a large resistance band around the chinup bar and pull the other end of the band through. Perform a basic chinup with your knees placed in the loop of the band.
Step Three – Close-grip Chinup
Perform a basic chinup with your hands placed six to eight inches apart. When you do this, the exercise relies more on your biceps, making it easier to achieve.
Step Four – Basic Chinup
Perform the basic chinup as described at the beginning of this article.
Step Five – Parallel-grip Chinup
Use the parallel handles of a chinup machine or use the accessories available for your chinup bar so that you perform the basic chinup with your palms facing each other. Make sure you pull your chest up to the level of your hands.
Step Six – Mixed-grip Chinup
Perform a basic chinup with one underhand grip and one overhand grip. Swap grips half way through your set.
Step Seven – Basic Pullup
This is the same as a chinup, but use an overhand grip. When doing a pullup, your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Step Eight – Wide-grip Pullup.
Exactly the same as a basic pullup, but this time you should place your hands on the bar at about 1.5 times shoulder width.
Now go do some chinups! What step of The Difficulty Ladder are you on? Tell us in the comments below…