T Nation

Best Way To Do Chin-ups

I’ve heard two conflicting theories on how best to do chins and pull-ups.

One says that you think of your hands as just hooks over the bar, and do not squeeze the hands too much, but let the lats do the work of pulling the body up over the bar.

The other theory goes that you in fact want to squeeze the bar as much as you can to recruit muscle tension throughout the arm as you pull yourself up over the bar.

I’m a little confused? which way I should be going with this?

If you’re going to put your chin over the bar with the heaviest weight you can handle you’re going to “squeeze” those hands very hard no matter what.

Ideally, you would be able to do pullups nice and smooth as if you were doing a lat pulldown. Same mentality. If you cant do it like this your lats are too weak and you just have to yank yourself up. The bar should be able to stay in a direct path headed right for your clavicle (you dont have to touch it, but it should be headed in that direction). If you have to deviate from this path you wont be doing the movement optimally…

I have heard only one rule, and that rule is for pull-ups.

The rule is:

thumb over the bar, not under

Cheers!

When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.

For performance (ie lift the most weight and get the most number of reps) you want to get a great grip on the bar and lock it in place, make sure you use a closed grip (thumb opposite the fingers).

If you are just trying to stimulate your lats for maximal size then you can try to relax your grip but that would probably reduce strength, so I would wear straps instead (with the knowledge that chronic use might weaken your grip if you care about that).

Goals dictate training methods.

[quote]tweaker wrote:
I have heard only one rule, and that rule is for pull-ups.

The rule is:

thumb over the bar, not under

Cheers![/quote]

fingers over bar, thumb over fingers.

[quote]GT625 wrote:
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.[/quote]

Squeezing the bar as hard as possible will engage more muscles throughout the entire body.

Just look at any PL’ers set up for the squat. They advocate gripping the bar as tightly as possible in order to engage all of the muscles in the back…they certainly aren’t doing this to recruit more biceps or forearm activation.

Grip the bar any way you want. Just make sure you’re getting full range of motion at the scapulae (detoids touching ears at rock bottom, scapulae pulled down and elbows touching torso at the top).

[quote]swivel wrote:
tweaker wrote:
I have heard only one rule, and that rule is for pull-ups.

The rule is:

thumb over the bar, not under

Cheers!

fingers over bar, thumb over fingers.
[/quote]

You guys mean: false grip?

[quote]Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.

Squeezing the bar as hard as possible will engage more muscles throughout the entire body.

Just look at any PL’ers set up for the squat. They advocate gripping the bar as tightly as possible in order to engage all of the muscles in the back…they certainly aren’t doing this to recruit more biceps or forearm activation.[/quote]

That’s because they pull the bar DOWN, initiating the lats. You can’t compare a squat to a pull up in this case.

[quote]GT625 wrote:
Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.

Squeezing the bar as hard as possible will engage more muscles throughout the entire body.

Just look at any PL’ers set up for the squat. They advocate gripping the bar as tightly as possible in order to engage all of the muscles in the back…they certainly aren’t doing this to recruit more biceps or forearm activation.

That’s because they pull the bar DOWN, initiating the lats. You can’t compare a squat to a pull up in this case.
[/quote]

Please elaborate on your point.

[quote]Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.

Squeezing the bar as hard as possible will engage more muscles throughout the entire body.

Just look at any PL’ers set up for the squat. They advocate gripping the bar as tightly as possible in order to engage all of the muscles in the back…they certainly aren’t doing this to recruit more biceps or forearm activation.

That’s because they pull the bar DOWN, initiating the lats. You can’t compare a squat to a pull up in this case.

Please elaborate on your point.[/quote]

I think he just may have proved your point. Puling down is the same motion that pull-ups and lat pulldowns have, it’s just isometric. And yes, the grip squeezing helps in tightness. There’s a noticeable diff. for me.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
Modi wrote:
GT625 wrote:
When you squeeze the bar as hard as you can you’ll cause something called the irradiation effect, which is basically spillover to other muscles are close to the one(s) that are tensed.

In this case squeezing the bar, tensing your forearms, will cause you to recruit your biceps more. So if you want to hit your biceps more squeeze the chin bar; if you want to hit your lats more use a false grip (thumbless) or use straps.

Squeezing the bar as hard as possible will engage more muscles throughout the entire body.

Just look at any PL’ers set up for the squat. They advocate gripping the bar as tightly as possible in order to engage all of the muscles in the back…they certainly aren’t doing this to recruit more biceps or forearm activation.

That’s because they pull the bar DOWN, initiating the lats. You can’t compare a squat to a pull up in this case.

Please elaborate on your point.

I think he just may have proved your point. Puling down is the same motion that pull-ups and lat pulldowns have, it’s just isometric. And yes, the grip squeezing helps in tightness. There’s a noticeable diff. for me.[/quote]

Thanks aragorn, that’s what I was waiting for him to say. It doesn’t really matter whether you are pulling a bar across your back, or pulling down on a pullup/pulldown bar, the action is essentially the same.

For everyone else, think of it this way…if you’ve ever been in a fight, or very close to it, when you clench your fists tightly every muscle in your body tightens up. It’s not just the forearms and biceps. You should immediately feel your lats and rhomboids firing as well.

So when you squeeze the bar, try to squeeze the hell out of it, don’t just hold it and hope it doesn’t slip out of your hand, grip it like you are trying to crush it. Try it and see if you can notice the difference.

So it’s kinda really what’s more your goal, the type of grip makes a difference?
So like for isolating the lats more use a false grip, no squeezing the bar.

but for improving overal strength, getting the biceps more involved, use a locked grip and squeeze the heck out of the bar.

thanks, this helps.