Seven tips to nailing that chin up.
1. The most shoulder friendly chin up grip is neutral, with palms facing each other. This differs from traditional chin ups (palms facing you) and pull ups, where your palms are facing away from you.
2. The tall kneeling lat pulldown is the missing link between seated lat pulls and full, total body chin ups. The position trains core musculature to contract and aid in the movement. You should feel your stomach muscles working throughout the pull.
Posteriorly tilt that pelvis, and push hips into the pad with the balls of the feet. Keep hips forward throughout entire movement. Minimal lean back on the pull. Let shoulders drift up to mimic a hang, and shrug shoulders down away from ears just before initiating pulldown.
3. When choosing handles, use the wider ‘M’ handle if available. The bottom ‘V’ handle tends to place the hands too close, forcing excessive lat work to “rip hands apart” instead of drive elbows downward. Hands closer to armpit width mimic the grips and back coordination meant to pull body weight vertically.
|‘M’ handle on top. ‘V’ handle on the bottom.
4. If you have access to stretch bands, they can be used to develop core stiffness. Being tight from head to toe trains the body to work as one piece. The body should remain vertical. Don’t allow a bend at the hips and let the legs drift forward. The band helps you most at the bottom, so allow yourself to get as long as possible. Bunny hop into a drop (LOWER than the surface you set up on) and use tension in the body to lengthen the band and ‘snap’ you back up.
Grip pinkies on the bar first, as they’re usually the weakest link.
5. Pull elbows straight down instead of back.
Vertical line. Scapular alignment. Diagonal line. Scapular tilt into anterior shear.
Glenohumeral joint is happy. Your AC joint will soon be sad.
6. Single arm pulldowns should be done from a half kneel position. Working arm is on the side of the back leg. (STABILITY!) Use these regressions if you have pain in either shoulder or trouble getting hands overhead.
The angle of the pull is closer to 45-degrees. Use same deliberate scapular retraction before pulls as noted above. Being able to separate movements helps coordinate the contraction.
7. The thick band lat stretch with rotation helps with any tightness or discomfort in the shoulder girdle. They can be performed before or after chins/ vertical pulls.
Hinge and sit the back. Attempt to get the hand through hips in a straight line. Pulling against the band acts as traction, attempting to stretch tightened shoulder tissues. Rotation challenges the stabilizing musculature. You’ll feel this most in the lats.