T Nation

Chin-Ups with Slipped Disks


hello everyone I am a trainer in the Cleveland area.

This may or may not be a stupid question but Ill ask anyway.

I have a client who is in pretty good shape is 33 yrs old and wants to put on muscle. The issue I am having is he does chin ups but he had a slipped disk about 3 yrs ago in his C4 or C5 and the chins irritate it sometimes.
my question is there a different way he can do chins so it doesnt irritate this?

I didnt want to try pull ups w/ him yet untill he got a little stronger. i would hate to cut these out of his program all together and have to go to lat-pulldowns or supine rows..

If anyone has any advice about this I would appreciate any feed back I can get...
thaks -


I also would like an answer to this.

I just recently was diagnosed with slight bulging disc at c5-c6. Pullups aggrevate the living crap out of it. I have had the injury for a while and before I was diagnosed I had to stop pull-ups due to discomfort in the trap area.

So bump it up for some expert advice.


I have had c6-c7 disc issues and have found that neutral medium grip pull-ups can be done without discomfort. I keep my eyes forward with my chin to my chest to avoid looking up during the pull which seems to cause pain.


This, just take a look at an anatomical model of the spine. As you can see, this will relax the cervical area which will cause reduction. By looking up there will be more compression in the cervical area and will cause provocation.


I had major lower back issues years ago, but I found I could do pullups without aggravating the situation.


That's the lumbar region of the spine. =)


If you have to resort to lat pulldowns, or pulldowns on a plate loaded or selectorized machine, do so. Client safety should honestly be numero UNO in anyone's training approach.....for the simple consideration of someone elses safety and also liability/risk management issues. I am currently a trainer at an Urban Active Fitness center and I deal with a lot of special pop. clients each day.

Plenty of them are either obese, have knee problems, lower back problems, etc. I try to work on my client's form and also just experiment with what movements will and will not aggrevate an injured area. If the client doesn't experience on-set pain or discomfort, and doesnt experience any joint pain/tendon/ligament pain the day after, then i find the movement to be useful. Just some advice.....take care and good luck