Chin-Up / Biceps & Back Exercise

Chin-Up / Biceps & Back Exercise

The chin-up is a body weight exercise (BWE) where you hold on a bar and pull yourself up with the strength of your biceps and your back muscles. Doing chin-ups with the palms facing your head is considered a biceps exercise, while the chin-up with the palms facing away is considered a back exercise. Biceps Chin-Up: Hands at shoulder width. Back Chin-Up: Hands at 2 shoulder widths. Find more biceps & back exercises at weight training and bodybuilding.


  • Hold on your chin-up bar with a reverse grip, the elbows fully extended and your hands at shoulder width (reverse grip = palms facing you). Your arms are fully extended, but to protect elbow and wrist joints, you should keep your grip firm. Extend your knees and don't hollow your back (abdominals slightly contracted). Those who hollow the back while doing chin-ups tend to create momentum by swinging the legs. Don't swing your legs!!!
  • Pull yourself up until your chin is over bar level and exhale slowly. The up motion can be slightly faster than the down motion. Don't swing your legs, don't hollow your back.
  • Then move back down and inhale slowly. Don't let yourself fall (risk of elbow injury). Slow down the lowest part of each chin-up repetition and also keep your shoulders low. A lot of people don't extend their arms enough when they move back down. Extending the arms stretches the biceps and back muscles, which makes this exercise more effective. The illustration above shows the full range of motion of a biceps chin-up. If you are competing chin-ups with a friend, both should fully extend the arms and then pull up until the chin is over bar level.


  • For a complete upper arm training without weight lifting equipment I recommend the chin-up and the triceps push up.
  • You can do chin-ups anywhere; A chin-up bar, a tree etc.
  • Weighted chin-ups: Use a weight lifting belt and attach weights to it (with a sling or a chain)