Proper Chins?

Hey fellow T-Gurus…

Just a quick question…I was perusing Poliquin’s “The Poliquin Principles” and was reading his chapter on doing proper chins for targeting the upper back. Now be prepared for a real stupid question from someone who’s been up for many hours…BUT what is the PROPER way to do a general chinup like Poliquin talks about (No fancy King-variations, just the simple basic chinup)…

Herein lies my confusion…on one page, Poliquin describes a chinup as having a palms-facing grip, and a pullup as having a palms-away grip. THEN on the next page, there are two illustrations: one for chinups, one for pullups. In the chinup image, the palms are facing AWAY, and in the pullup image, the palms are TOWARDS (which is how I’ve always done these two exercises)…

I hate to be pedantic, but which is the most correct way for targeting the upper back?

Is it just me, or am I the only one finding these “contradictions” all the time?? hmph…


I believe that was a typo. Chins are done with the palms facing you.

“Chin-up” is a generic term meaning any exercise where you pull yourself up and get your chin over a static bar. These days, though, “chin-up” usually means palms facing you or a supinated grip. This is typically easier for most people and you hit the biceps more.

A pull-up is technically a type of chin-up but usually when people say “pull-up” they mean palms facing away, or pronated. Both variations are good as are semi-supinated chins i.e. palms facing each other (using a V bar usually).

Quick note: Add some King to your Poliquin- that means don’t forget to do rows just as much as you do chins. You need both for balanced back development. One arm dumbbell rows and bent over barbells rows should be your staples, plus you can throw in some machine and cable rows for variety. Done correctly, deadlifts can be a good upper back exercise if you keep the “lock-out” position as you lift.

Go here Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION for a great chinning program.

Wow! Thanks for the response Chris and John!

I guess I was more nieve before today, in that I was always under the impression that a chinup had a supinated grip (palms away) wider-than-shoulder width. And a pullup had a pronated (palms facing) narrower-than-shoulder grip to target more the biceps…

Thanks for the link Chris, I'll check it out..

And yeah, I love both hammer strength rows and one-arms!

Not to flog a dead horse, but just as an end-note here, this is exactly the reason that bobybuilding books and other published materials should be well copy-edited. Yeah, yeah, I know that you don’t buy a book like the Poliquin Principles for its spelling, you buy it for the content. But when it’s so poorly edited and proofed that someone can read the thing and actually NOT KNOW what the hell it’s talking about, then there’s a problem. Wazoo, bud, I have one piece of advice for you: if you got confused by the Poliquin Principles, don’t even think about reading “Get Buffed” until it’s come out in a second edition.