Chin-up is a strength training exercise that primarily targets the biceps muscles in the arms, as well as the latissimus dorsi muscles in the upper back. It’s very similar to a pull-up, except for hand position: i.e. in a chin-up, the hands face the body, while pull-ups are performed with the palms facing away. As compared to pull-up, the chin-up is a notoriously difficult move, but it’s certainly possible to master it with effort and training.

  • Bodyweight
  • Compound
  • Pull-up Bar

It can increase upper body muscular pulling strength, shoulder girdle stability, and performance of activities requiring high levels of relative strength. The chin-up and its variations can be regressed, progressed and performed throughout a training year.

Similar Exercises to Try

Equipment Required

Benefits of Chin-ups

  • One of the advantages of chin-ups is this exercise’s ability to strengthen a significant number of muscles with each rep. It primarily targets the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back, but also includes a number of muscles in your chest, shoulders, and arms including posterior deltoids, biceps, triceps and lower and middle trapezius.
  • Performing chin-ups can clear your mind of the day’s stresses, elevate your mood and lead to greater self-confidence.
  • Chin-Ups are a closed kinetic chain exercise. These type of exercises are much more functional than open kinetic chain exercises like the lat pulldown.
  • Chin-ups work more muscles than machines. Big lifts equal big strength gains and big fat loss. They also release significant amounts of anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone.

Muscles Worked

Anterior (Front)

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachioradialis
  • Deltoid (Front & Back)
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis
  • Pectoralis Major

Posterior (Back)

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Trapezius

How to Do a Chin-up

Fitness model doing chin-ups
Fitness model doing chin-ups
  1. Put your hands on the horizontal bar with your palms facing your body. Grip the bar comfortably but firmly, with your hands spaced a few inches or shoulder-width apart.
  2. Use your upper arm strength to uplift your body, stopping when your chin is above the bar. At this position, your elbows should be fully bent. Cross your feet or bend your knees to distribute your weight more evenly.
  3. Lower yourself using a slow, controlled motion until your arms are straight. This is the complete range of motion for a chin-up.
  4. Repeat the process as per your strength.