The Chin up is a fantastic upper body exercise using your own body weight as the resistance. If you have never tried a chin up before prepare for hard work! It is not easy!

It requires the use of various muscle groups from the shoulders, arms, back and core.

You need some strength and stability of the shoulder girdle to complete a chin up correctly. Without stability of the shoulder joint and strength of the surrounding muscles it is impossible to complete a chin up correctly.

To get the benefit of a chin up it is extremely important to be able to maintain control and good posture throughout the movement.

Common Errors in the Chin Up

1. Using momentum – Swinging your legs to give you more lift upwards assists your upper body however doesn’t allow for improvements in strength and stability – slow controlled movements will activate more muscle fibres and in turn improve your upper body strength.

2. Shoulders positioned forward – you must keep your shoulders back and chest lifted.

3. Legs should be positioned straight below the torso not swinging forward.


If you can only do 1 chin up correctly – practice this until you can complete 2 chin ups and so forth
Don’t continue a poor chin up you will not improve and may cause yourself a shoulder injury.

Five Technique Tips for the Beginner:

1. Have your palms facing you when holding onto the bar – this will incorporate your bicep muscles and is an easier form of the chin up

2. Firstly trial eccentric chin ups – jump up so you holding yourself on the bar then slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are full extended.

3. Activate your glutes (buttocks muscles) and core muscles this will help to keep your spine in a neutral position and to prevent your legs from swinging forwards.

4. Slowly lift  yourself towards the bar continuing to maintain this posture then slowly lower yourself until you have reached near to full elbow extension.

5. Repeat as many as you can with this posture! If you cannot maintain technique.  REST!

Can’t do a chin up? – TRY THIS FIRST!

Eccentric chin ups!

1. Instead of lifting yourself towards the bar try to jump up and hold yourself then as slow as you can lower yourself to the ground.

  • Remember to maintain good posture (chest lifted slightly, shoulder back and down )
  • Only lower yourself to the point at which you lose your technique. Continue with this until you can lower yourself all the way down.
  • Once you can do the above correctly – try a full chin up !
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