T Nation

Looking for Wide Grip Chin-ups


My training is coming on nicely, with visable increases all over and some healthy numbers in leg work.

One thing that I still cannot do - and this really bugs me - is I can't complete a single wide-grip chin-up! I'm 15st 5lbs and reasonably strong in the chest and arms but I think my shoulders and definitely my back are falling behind.

Can people suggest exercises that will get me strong enough to get those wide-grip chins licked! Thanks.


Wide grip shrugs will get ya started.
you could also use some bungee cords.



Seems like you really do need to strengthen the back like you said. Concentrate on going heavy with your bent over rows, one arm DB rows and seated rows. Make sure you start the movement with your back and not your biceps also. Just do more chins. Start with a shoulder distance grip, and each session try to move out little by little until finally you have your wide grip chin. Chins suck and they are not the most pleasent to preform. Stick with them and push through even when you dont want to do them and you will be bangin them out in no time. Also, your new lats will help your bench and dead go up too, so get to work on those chins


i was always told that doing wide-grip is really bad on your shoulders, and i noticed when i do em it hurts like hell. any truth to that?


TC had stickied a chining article by CP a few days ago:



Don't do wide grip Chins (long term) if you value your shoulder health.


Just my opinion but I believe the the title of "wide-grip pullups" is usually misinterpreted. Often times it is interpreted that you need to get your hands much wider than shoulder width which can definitely cause some shoulder problems.

If you keep your hands just outside of shoulder width you should find the exercise very effective and most importantly, a lot easier on your shoulders.

I should have mentioned that I'm describing a pullup, with the palms facing away.


Are we talking pull-ups or chin-ups? Two different animals.


Since I looked this up recently...

For all ye confused:

Chin ups are generally palms faceing in, towards you. Generally done at or just less than shoulder width. (obviously wide grip chins are wider, and narrow grip chins are narrower)

Pull ups are a type of chins. When one referrs to pull ups, they generally are talking about palms away from you. Wide grip pullups is generally referring to grip at the ends of the bar, where it angles downward (if your bar has that).





Wide-grip chins/pullups and behind the neck chins/pullups put a lot of undue stress on the shoulders and can contribute to some major shoulder issues. Stick with shoulder-width and narrow grips.


Zeb, did't specify behind the neck.

Can someone describe the exact problem with wide grip and/or behind the neck chins/pull-ups. What are the "major issues" that they contibute too?

I don't see how a movement, done with proper form on a healthy joint (without a pre-existing problem) can cause "major issues".



the handgrip for the widegrip pullups both in front of and behind the head put the shoulder's AC joint in a precarious position.

I believe the more stress is placed on this area the closer one is to the bar (ie. when you touch the bar to your chest or back of neck), but i don't see partial ROM widegrip pull ups as useful solution either. On another note, if you are to go down that path, i have found using a grip with your thumb and fingers all on the same side of the bar places less stress on your shoulder and more on the lats.


Does ANYBODY have any scientific evidence to back up the above??????
How does the position of the thumb place less stress on the shoulder???
Haven't read that study yet.

I put that in the same category as:

  1. The knee shall not go past the toe
  2. Squatting is bad for the knees
    etc. etc.
  3. DL is bad for the back

Any safe exercise is USELESS. Sport and training, by their very nature are dangerous.



Nate explained it very well.

Over the past 35 years of training I noticed that those who went wide and did it often ended up with shoulder problems. I have not read any scientific reports to either back that up or refute it.

I never noticed anyone have problems performing the Deadlift or Squat properly. It could be that those are more "natural" movements than a wide grip Pull-up is,

I'm not sure. I only posted mu opinion to save you from future pain. Obviously, you can do whatever makes you happy. :wink:



I found that when i started deadlifting my back became a lot thicker and definetely a lot stronger. Try doing a deadlifting program. Also i think Ian King has a routine lying around which is a back killer..

Try searching the archive.


And what I found was that I passed the 35 years of training quite some time ago, and have used every manner of hanging/pulling exercise to strengthen my shoulders. And strong and healthy shoulders do make me happy.

Now, any research or scientific explanation? Anyone?



Good for you.

What i found what was good was going down by a river that is close to me, had some great Willow trees, started to wide grip chins on them, had the spring of the tree and could really work everything with different width limbs.

 Was good with a picnic with my girl, we could eat and do chins all afternoon amongst other activites.


The part about the thumbs on the same side of the bar is just personal experiance. i have shoulder issues, and hence have sought to mitigate them. Putting the thumbs on the same side as the fingers has helped me. No science to back it up. No olympic committee has paid me. No, i'm not a cscs. Do what you will, i just offered some information that has helped me.