T Nation

Posterior Arm Pain after Chin-Ups

Ive been doing assisted pull ups for about 6 months slowly working down to less band assistance. I do 3x10 on my vertical push pull day. I started a few weeks ago doing neutral grip chins without bands on other days and have had no problems. Usually do 3x4-6.

I did regular chinups today and had a discomfort in the posterior part of my upper arm. It doesnt feel like tricep pain but it could be. I was wondering about the insertion of the lats and whether this new angle for me is too stressful? I did 3x3.

The lats insert on the anterior (front of) humerus near the shoulder, which doesn’t sound like your site of pain.

When you say the pain “could be tricep”, are you referring to the fleshy tissue just above the bony prominence on the inside of the elbow?

Also, anecdotally, I’ve heard many have issues with pronated (conventional) pull-ups, especially with higher loads. 3 x 3 sounds pretty heavy (relatively), you may be well served trying band-assisted pronated pull-ups for higher reps (3 x 6-15). If your pain subsides, you’ll know not to do pull-ups for lower reps. If you pain persists, you’ll probably have to switch back to Neutral Grip chins.

Good to know about the lat insertion. It’s actually high on the posterior upper arm. Maybe 1/3 the distance down feon the shoulder. It was gone an hour after the exercise but ive not had that pain before. Ive gotten pretty tight in the last year focusing on strength training so perhaps its just an over stretch of the tricep

This would have to be your tricep then.

Are you experiencing any referred pain down the arm, particularly on the back of your arm, or any tingling/numbness?

Do you go into a full/deep hang on your pull-ups? I think your theory about tight triceps could be right. The long head of triceps (“inner” head of horshoe) contributes to shoulder extension (making it active in pull-ups) and you may have strained it with pull-ups, especially since you were going relatively heavy.


  • rolling/smashing your triceps with a barbell in the rack. Face a barbell set to about chest to shoulder height, flex your elbow (as if doing a supinated curl) and shoulder (as if trying to elbow someone in the chin) and roll on the triceps with the barbell, or move the elbow and arm around

  • properly activating lats and scapular depressors (lower traps) before pull-ups. Something like a straight-arm pull down or the sequence below before your first set, and really focus on squeezing your shoulders down and back, and pulling with your elbows during your rep.

Hopefully this helps, but it is always best to seek professional help