First there are two kinds of pulling movements that fall in the chin-up category. The chin-up and the pull-up. Pull-ups are performed with palms pronated (facing away from you). Perform the pull-up just like a lat pull-down, except that the body rises up to the bar, rather than the reverse where you pull the bar down to you. Make sure you clear the bar with your chin at the top, and pull the scapulae back at the bottom position. Think of “pulling the elbows to the ribs” rather than lifting the chin over the bar. Chin ups are the same movement but your palms face you and the arms stay closer to the sides.
Most people like to start out with chin-ups and the palms facing you, as for most it is the easier version. It doesn’t matter which version you do as long as you do them!
How to work up to a chin-up if you can’t do them:
The Jumping Chin-up: This is a simple yet great way to get the feel for the full blown chin-up. If you have a doorway chin-up bar, you can set it up at a height that allows you to grab the bar with a slight bend in your knees if you are standing below it.
If you are at the gym, pull up a box or bench to place it beneath the chin-up bar so you can get the jump off that.
From here it is simply a matter of how much leg power you want to put into your “jump up” to determine how hard the “chin-up” is for you. When you get comfortable, you can start off with a couple normal style chin-up attempts followed by the remaining reps performed “jump style”.
You can also jump up and do a very slow negative or lowering portion of the movement to build up your strength. Soon you will be able to pull all the way up and not just lower.
Why do I suggest the jump style method of chin-up over certain machines that can take of resistance? Because for what you are trying to accomplish here, which is fat burning and a wicked “V” taper, you want to burn calories and build your back. Jumping does that much better than the machines!
What to watch out for:
Make sure you get full extension at the bottom.
Make sure you get your chest up to the bar or at least your chin over the bar.
Avoid pulling with only the arms. This is a back exercise with the arms helping.
Here is an awesome little workout you can do anywhere. Yes, anywhere because chin-ups can be done hanging onto the top of a door, a tree branch a playground set, you name it!
The anywhere “V” taper workout: You are going to combine pushups and chin-ups for a total of 50 reps each. You alternate between the two exercises every rep. One chin-up and then one pushup until you hit 50. Time it and then try to beat it next time, and yes, you can use the jumping chinups!