should i be using it as a main back or bicep exercise?
Either that or bent-over rows.
It depends on where you actually feel it, I use it as a lat exercise (which would be back).
I feel the over hand wide-grip the most by my shoulder blades, chins not as much but both are great exercises that your back and biceps.
I guess it depends on where you feel it most. I feel it most as a back exercise. If you feel it more in your biceps and want to hit your back with it more then I would do sternum chins (lean back at the top and touch your sternum to the bar).
I've found close grip supinated chins to be the best bicep exercise for me. It allows me to hit the biceps heavy without all the cheating and bad form guys use with heavy curls. It also hits the lats (obviously). Emphasis can be directed somewhat by focusing the "feel" and effort on either the bi's or the lats.
To the OP, it also helps to "curl down" the weight.
use it as a compound vertical pull exercise
chin ups aren't good for a main back exercise. Your back is a lot more than just your lats. Of course you could do sternum chins to hit different muscles but those can be rough to do properly. I use barbell rows and deadlifts as my main back exercises. I do pull-ups as a secondary.
heck yes use it. add external weight and explode up with those chins. of course don't use it as your only bi/back exercise, but make it one of the main few.
I go wide with palms facing out for back and narrow with palms in for biceps.
I prefer palms facing each other. Anywhere from 3' to 1' apart.
iwould consider it both for back and biceps. it will depend on how you would used it. it can act as primary back exercise and assistant exercise for your biceps
Chinups are a back exercise.
If you feel like you can use it as a bicep exericse, my guess would be you aren't doing it correctly.
I think it depends on how difficult they are for you.
When someone is really focusing on doing an exercise for hypertrophy you need to focus on that muscle and if ideally keep as much tension on the muscle as possible. CT has talked at length about this. Poliquin has also discussed how the upper lats respond best to higher reps, fairly high TUT.
As an example, someones 8rm with dumbell bench might be 90lbs. But really concentrating on the muscle and squeezing and keeping tension, this weight is not doable, they might use say, 55lbs or 60lbs, usually it is quite a drastic difference, (same reason people say bodybuilders are weak). Now in my opinion if you are at your limit strength doing pullups meaning, you do 8-10 reps and you just barely keep good form the entire time and cannot focus on squeezing the lats or any of that, I would not say under those circumstances pullups are the best choice for adding size to the back. And often the muscle that will be hit very hard in these types of situations are the biceps IMO. For people that are quite strong on pullups however, and can do 8-10 controlled squeezed and maybe even constant tension reps, pullups IMO are incomparable as a back builder.
Also someone mentioned bentover rows, I know these are a staple in bodybuilding magazines, but I have always found that using a weight and a rep range that would be challenging for the pulling muscles, almost always prematurely fatigues the posterior chain (mainly lower back).
FLAVA DAVE who is the girl that is your avatar? I know I have seen her in a testosterone article, but I was wondering if she was a real athlete. Just ridiculous either way...
I like to think that the bottom portion of the exercise is mostly back, but the top portion activates biceps a lot. I basically do a 3/4 chin and hold for a second before lowering down. Most guys I know with good back development do a similar movement.
Chins are the best back movement out there. When you lift your head above the bar your lats are forced to contract with a slower negative for a full 180 rep. Wide grip chins (weighted) are the most effective back movement in my routine.
if you pull with your elbows you will be recruiting more back.