T Nation

Chinups and Pullups Injuries


Hi guys,

I used to do weighted chinups and pullups all the time, with up to 40kg for 6 reps. I was much better at pullups than chins for some reason. A couple of years ago my left bicep twanged during a set of pullups and since then, I can't do pullups without it cropping up. Since then I switched to chinups and my body was suddenly much better at chins than before. Fairly recently I pulled my left bicep from chins, which has now healed but now my tricep cramps up when doing them. It looks as though my body has had enough of lugging me five feet up and down.

I always did chins at a slow pace and maintained tension on my working muscles throughout. I have been doing them on a straight bar, so it sounds like a straight bar does not fit my body type. Has anyone else had to give up chins or had similar injuries? Chins and pullups were my favourite exercises but it's not worth it in the long run.


Chad Waterbury and others suggest we avoid straight bars for these exercises.
Option A would be rings or 2 handles that move freely or option B neutral grip.
If we look at martial arts each punch we do involves some rotation so i allmost never use any straight bar/handle.

For vertical pulls i use dumbells, also for shoulder press, for pulldown i use 2 handles, etc...
My shoulder problem is over for 12 months so i read about that subject and it seems our body structure is often a bit off and many exercises create problems when done the proper way according to most books/articles.

After some rest and maybe some rehab you should be fine staying away from bad options for you.
On youtube you might find videos if needed for rehab.
All the best !


Hi there,

Thanks for your response. I have only just seen it as I haven't logged in for a while. Since this minor injury, I now avoid chins on a straight bar or pulldown and have noticed a massive difference. I make sure to stretch my body regularly to prevent any problems and apply light trigger-point therapy between sets if necessary.


I was rattling out 100 chins per day (fixed bar) for a few months. 10 sets of 10, 20 sets of 5 etc. All spread out throughout the day.

I ended up with a really nasty bout of tennis elbow. I was in agony for around 4 months. Had to end up getting a cortisone shot. Been 8 weeks since and haven't had any pain since.

I'll never do chins on a fixed bar again. Oly rings from now on.