10 Reasons to do Chin-ups

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Whether your goal is to be a MMA fighter, champion strength athlete or build the best physique possible, chin-up variations have a place in your program! Why do so many exclude them from their workouts? Simple, it’s because they look to the path of least resistance. Since you are reading this, I assume that you are looking for the path of superior results. Let’s take a look at ten reasons chins should be in your program.

  • Chin-Ups are a closed kinetic chain exercise. Closed Kinetic chain exercises are much more functional than open kinetic chain exercises like the lat pull down.
  • Direct strength transference of motor pattern. On most strength exercises the concentric is the upward phase and eccentric is the lowering phase. The lat pull down is the opposite of this, while the chin-up fits the mold of core lifts like the bench press and overhead press.
  • Chin-ups work more muscles than machines. Big lifts equal big strength gains and big fat loss. They also release large amounts of anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone.
  • Brett Contreas in his own words, “When I conducted my EMG studies, I was shocked to find that the bodyweight chin-up led to the highest levels of lower rectus abdominis activation. It surpassed every ab exercise imaginable – even ab wheel rollouts and hanging leg raises.”
  • Brian Dobson trainer of Ronnie Coleman and Branch Warren says “Deadlifts and chins built Ronnie’s back. Chin-ups are king for upper back development. Chin-ups are the upper body squat!”
  • Special forces and other elite organizations use chin-ups as a testing standard.
  • Chin-ups are a catalyst for bicep growth!
  • Look at the back development of athletes like gymnasts that use chin-ups as their primary means of strength training in comparison to the physiques of basketball players that use lat pull downs. Physique enthusiasts envy the upper back development of gymnasts. Yet, very few feel the same way about basketball physiques.
  • Assuming you are not wearing straps (which you should not be) chin-ups build great grip strength!
  • Chin-ups force you to handle your own body weight, which is a crucial aspect of success in most sports!

What if I can’t do Chin-Ups yet?

Great question! Don’t use those assisted machines because they completely eliminate the stability component of chin-ups. Moreover, direct transference will be very limited. Even partner assisted chin-ups remove much of the stability aspect. They are also much harder to quantitatively track because your partner doesn’t know how much he/she is assisting.

Drawn out negatives are okay especially for those just looking to build muscle mass. But, eccentric overloads can cause excessive soreness (DOMS) and the transference to the chin will be limited because a single repetition chin-up is a concentric-only movement. In addition, repetitions become a reversible muscle action with an eccentric, amortization, and concentric phase (in other words, a positive, negative and reversal phase).

Now that you know what not to do, here is what to do: Get EliteFTS bands and do band assisted chin-ups. What size? Well that depends on your strength to bodyweight ratio. This method keeps with the stability aspect and does not alter mechanics.

Armed with this knowledge about chin-ups, now is the time to take action and enjoy the benefits of a movement that has helped combat athletes, strength athletes and physique artists for centuries.

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About the Author

Josh Bryant is one of the fastest rising names in the fitness industry. He works as a speed, strength, and conditioning coach at one of the top high school programs in Texas. Currently, he is a personal trainer who works successfully with many clients both in person at Metroflex Gym and via the internet. By using the Joshstrength Method, he has trained world record setting powerlifters, women fitness competitors, Olympic athletes, professional fighters, NCAA champions, and a host of high school athletes who have received collegiate scholarships. As an athlete, he won many national and world titles in both powerlifting and Strongman and, at 22-years-old, was the youngest person in powerlifting history to bench press 600 pounds raw. He squatted 909 pounds in the USPF, officially bench pressed 620 pounds raw, and officially deadlifted 810 pounds raw. In 2005, he won the Atlantis Strongest Man in America competition. Along with ISSA certifications in fitness training, nutrition, and conditioning, Josh has been awarded the prestigious title of Master of Fitness Sciences (MFS). He was also recently named the ISSA Director of Applied Strength and Power. In addition to being certified by the NSCA as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and by NASM as a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), Josh completed his master of sciences degree in exercise science (July 2010). He has been published in numerous magazines, periodicals, and websites and is the founder and owner of Joshstrength.com and the Joshstrength Method. To learn more about Josh or to contact him, visit www.joshstrength.com. View Josh’s training log.