T Nation

full extension chin-ups

Last night I was advised that going to full extension at the bottom of chinups was hard on the shoulders, and if I wanted to make chinups harder I should add weight instead. Is this real or another NASM thing like not squatting below parallel? Going to full extension never seems to bother my shoulders, although other things like bar dips below 90 degrees do. Thanks.

If, by full extension, you mean that you allow the shoulders to come up relative to your torso, then yes, you should avoid that part of the movement. Once you allow the scapulae to rotate, the tendency is to keep that rotation rather than keeping them retracted. You do want the arms to go to fullextension, buth don’t lose the scapular retraction.

emily: Your downward range of motion should
extend as long as the upper back muscles will
allow. With chins, once you stop feeling the stretch
in your lats and start feeling it in your rear-delts
or God forbid in your rotator-cuffs, you have gone
way too far!!! If these guys are suggesting that
you hang from your rotator-cuffs (which tends to
happen in a fully extended position) TELL
THEM TO PISS OFF… these guys are just plain
stupid!!!

The thing to avoid is relaxing at the bottom position - when you allow the tension to come off the muscles at the bottom position, the stress is transferred to the supporting structures (ligaments, tendons, etc.) in your shoulders. It’s the same thing as relaxing at the bottom of a squat - your knees “open up” and put stress on the supporting structures. As long as your muscles stay contracted at the bottom position of squats and chins, full ROM is safe and preferable. I belive this is the same thing Joey Z. is saying?

Yes, Zev, that’s it (well said)!!! - Go for the full ROM,
but NEVER relax at the bottom or allow the tension to
leave the target muscles. Doing so will result in one’s
entire body weight being supported by the shoulder
joints and rotator cuffs!!!

THANK YOU! I was wondering what the fuck I was doing wrong. Everytime I tried to do chinups I can do the first one no sweat, but when I go down apparently I was going too far and my left shoulder really couldn’t handle going back up and now I know why.

whoa, Zev my man, I have to say I am guilty of relaxing in the bottom position of the squat. Good thing i read your post or i would probably have never known it was one of the evils of leg training. Needless to say I will adapt immediately, thanks bro.

I used to FULLY extend at the bottom of my chins (thinking that I was getting a better stretch) and thus unconsiously relaxing my shoulders. Now I go to physical therapy 3 times a week for a supraspinatus muscle tear. Cant even overhead press anymore.

Thanks, guys. I’ll change my ways.