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Biceps Workout (2) – Chin Up

June 10th, 2008 · 8 Comments ·


I like both pull-up and chin-up. If you look at Olympic gymnastics winner with those powerful (and nice looking) arms, they train mainly with their own body weight. Chin up and pull up greatly improve your performance sport that requires your upper body strength. In Chin Up, the main muscle being worked out is your biceps. Your forearm and back muscles will be worked out too. As for Pull Up, your back muscle will be targeted.


  1. Hold the chin-up bar with a reverse grip (palms facing you). This grip is also known as supinated grip. Your hand should be at shoulder width or slightly narrower to stress more on your biceps. The grip and the the width of the grips that differentiate chin-up and pull-up.


  2. Pull yourself up and try to touch either your chin or upper chest (if you can) to the bar.
  3. Return slowly to the starting position where you arms are straight.
  4. Try not to swing back and forth.



  • The part which you lowering down yourself is the one hit the biceps most. You can improve endurance by slowing the speed. Trust me, if you can do that, you could feel your biceps “screaming” while you are fighting against the gravity!
  • If you do not meet the number of repetition you want, do not just lose the grip and come down. Hang there, drop one arm, then change to the other arm until you are exhausted. This approach trains your grip strength.
  • For advanced users who find body weight is no longer a challenge, you can actually add some weight plates or even kettle bells as shown:


  • For beginners:
    • Just like pull-up, beginners may make use of an assisted chin-up machine (also known as Gravitron), where one stands on a bar with a counterweight to reduce the weight that one pulls up. You will end up pulling up a fraction of your body weight. The good thing about this machine is that it provides progressively declining resistance. Unlike other resistance machines, in this assisted chin-up machine, the more weight you put on the machine, the less weight you are lifting yourself up. Say, if you are 200 pounds and you insert the pin at 100 pounds, you are pulling only half of your body weight.
    • Spotter can be helpful too for beginner. 2 options of spotting:
      • Bend your knee slightly and then let the spotter support you at the ankles during the chin up.
      • If you are small size, the spotter can actually support you at the waist level.
    • assisted-pull-up-by-holding-waist.jpg

    • if your gym doesn’t have any assisted chin up machine and you couldn’t get any spotter, don’t worry, you just need a bench together with Smith Machine. Let me show how you can do this:


      1. Get the bar at about chest hight. Put a flat bench in front of the Smith machine.
      2. Now, grab the bar, then place your feet on the bench. The bench is used to support some of your lower body weight.
      3. Then, lift yourself up. Keep your legs straight throughout the movement.
      4. You can do use the same method for pull-up. Just turn your palms facing away from you for pull up.

Because chin up involves mainly body weight, you can actually do it at home. The only thing you need is a solid bar secured safely to a door frame. I am thinking of installing a chin-up/pull-up bar at home. Anyone has it at home?




Category: Biceps

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8 responses so far ↓
  • trey // Jun 10, 2008 at 2:23 PM

    i had a Pullup bar at home before, but one of my friend broke it when he tried to monkey around on it. ha!

    anyways, bodyweight training is the way to go. simple, fast and effective.

  • aw // Jun 17, 2008 at 2:53 AM

    Yeah I have it. Try to get those without the irritating foam grips that deteriorate in a few months. For convenience, I just put some racquet grips on. I prefer mine to be attached using screws rather than just pressure.

  • nicholas // Jun 17, 2008 at 4:11 AM

    i own a chinup bar too… as u mentioned, i fixed it on the door frame…thus, the height of the bar from the ground is too short. this force me to further flex my knees and hamstring away from the ground. with this posture, i might feel a pulling sensation on my hamstring on my last few repetitions… so, friends, do remember to fix it in a higher place.

  • Extreme-bb // Jun 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    This is great for upper body workout. The abs are targeted as well. I also do MMA as a hobby and upper body strength is a must.

  • Branko // Jan 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM

    i found chinups to be really bood in adding bicep width. Also anotehr secret excersise that no1 really uses but really gets you massive biceps is revers barbell curls . You can do this with a dumbell or barbell.

  • christopher // Jun 30, 2010 at 4:27 AM

    I prefer doing chinups rather than barbell or dumbbell curls because I never really noticed much in my biceps as far as size goes, but after only a few weeks, I noticed my biceps are bigger, more definition. My wife and a co -worker noticed and mentioned it to me, so I think I will stick to the good old fashioned chinup. I have the Iron Gym chin up bar, and I like it. Chinups have become my favorite exercise.

  • Chris // Jan 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    I have the Iron Gym. I love it. you can do both chin ups and pull ups with it. And its not permanant so when you’re done you can just take it down and put it away until next time

  • Robert // Jan 25, 2017 at 3:19 PM

    What’s your take on direct bicep work, like curls? I think barbell curls make your arms grow faster than chin-ups. But chin-ups are still excellent.

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