In this article you’ll learn about 5 of the best chin up exercises you can do to build a stronger, more defined body. Chin ups and pull-ups do an amazing job at building your upper back, lats, abs, biceps, and more. It takes an insane amount of strength to do chin-up exercises, but you’ll find that when done properly, you will develop amazing strength and power.
What’s amazing is that these exercises are arguably more effective than using the lat pull-down machine at the gym. The activation is the same, but you’re simply using the weight of your body to build muscle. If you do these workouts correctly, you should definitely notice an increase in lean muscle mass.
I’ve been doing these exact workouts on different days of the week with incredible results. They’re part of a 3 day home bodyweight training program I follow. Because of it, I realized the true power of these specific exercises and just how instrumental they are in transforming your physique.
Since I began, I dropped 13 pounds of pure body fat, and that was in just a few short months. This completely blew my mind, considering how many different workout and eating programs I’ve followed in my life. Since then, I’ve been raving about it to anyone looking to seriously build muscle and drop fat. If you’d like to learn more, it’s called the Movie Star Bodyweight program, and you can learn all the details by visiting this page here.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the 5 best chin up exercises you can easily do from home.
Classic Chin Ups
This is arguably one of the best ways to build your biceps, even though we mostly think of chin-ups as an exercise to work your back. It also works your forearms and shoulders, while engaging your abs.
- HOW TO DO IT
You want to start with a full hang. Pull yourself up until your head is above the bar. Then lower yourself with controlled movement.
Click here for a video that shows you how to do this exercise in proper form.
One Arm Chin Ups
This specific exercise takes an incredible amount of strength since you’re putting all of your resistance onto one arm. One of the great things about mastering this workout is that when you finally work your way up to a one arm pull up, you tend to improve your movements in various other exercises as well.
- HOW TO DO IT
In order to do this correctly, you want to start from a full hang, using only one arm, and then pull yourself up until your head is above the bar. Just like a classic pull-up, lower yourself down with controlled movement.
This video will teach you how to work your way up to a one-arm chin-up by doing easier variations that build upon each other. This is Greg O’ Gallagher, the founder of Kinobody, and it’s the exact video I follow in my bodyweight training program that helped me progress to finally being able to do my very first one arm chin up.
Close Grip Chin Ups
The main difference between the close grip chin up variation and a classic chin up is that your hands are close together. This form causes the biceps to play a bigger role in your exercise than they do with a wider grip. This exercise actually activates the biceps better than other workouts that target your biceps directly. And this workout uses a heavier load, being your bodyweight.
I can say, firsthand, that close grip chin ups really do have an effect on your biceps as well. I had to stop doing curls with my adjustable dumbbells, because I developed tennis elbow, which really sucks. I saw that there’s an alternative workout to bicep curls in my bodyweight program. The alternative was close grip chin-ups.
I was skeptical, thinking to myself, chin ups work your back, not your biceps. I even asked in the private Facebook group if anyone had done close grip chin ups for biceps. A few guys responded with how surprised they were at what an effective exercise this is for biceps development.
Well, within a few weeks, a friend of mine said that my biceps look bigger and more defined than they had before. The only thing I changed up was my biceps workouts. I moved from doing curls with my adjustable dumbbells to doing close grip chin-ups on my pull-up bar.
- HOW TO DO IT
This is essentially the same exercise movement as a classic chin-up. The difference is you want your hands to be close together. I keep mine side by side and touching each other, but they don’t necessarily have to be that close.
Pull yourself up from a hanging position, until your head is above the bar. Then lower yourself down with controlled movement.
This short video will show you how to properly do close grip chin-ups.
Sternum Chin Ups
Sternum chin-ups can be slightly awkward to complete at first, especially if you’ve never done them before. This chin up exercise works your entire back in ways that no other exercise can. Done properly, you’ll develop a thick and ripped back. This also helps develop that v-shape that a lot of guys are looking for.
- HOW TO DO IT
Rather than pull your head above the bar as in the previous exercises, you actually pull your body up higher, and at an angle, so that your lower chest is pulled to the bar. Your head should be almost parallel to the floor when you get to the top of the position.
Here’s a video of proper form with the sternum chin up exercise.
Neutral Grip Chin Ups
The neutral grip chin up is also known as the hammer grip pull up. This exercise requires that you have a set up where you have two parallel bars pointed toward you as you can see in the image above.
I personally don’t do this exercise as I don’t have that kind of setup at home, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s still a powerful workout. This chin up does a great job of working your forearms and lats. Because the brachialis is worked during this exercise, this is also a fantastic workout for your biceps.
- HOW TO DO IT
Grab the handles, with your palms facing each other. Pull yourself up from a hanging position until your head is above the bars. Then lower yourself with controlled movement.
Here’s a video showing you how to complete this chin-up variation.
Breakdown Of Why These 5 Chin Up Routines Are So Powerful
These are 5 of the best chin up exercises you can do to define your back, biceps, and abs with lean muscle. What makes these workouts so powerful is resistance. Many people at the gym lifting weights aren’t getting nearly enough tension on their muscles with the workouts they’re doing. This is why bodyweight training is so powerful.
It’s the tension that builds muscle. Tension is how much resistance you’re pushing onto your body. When you’re lifting weights, there’s tension. But when you’re doing bodyweight training, there’s an INSANE amount of it. Can you think of a weight lifting exercise that requires the same amount of tension as it takes to lift your entire body with one arm?
Aside from strong tension in your workouts, a powerful bodyweight program must have proper volume. Volume needs to be strategically in place and it must progressively build, so that you notice your muscles physically change and get bigger over time.
- THE POWER OF HOME BODYWEIGHT TRAINING
The bodyweight program I follow does this over the course of 3 months. The volume gradually changes in intensity from month 1 to month 2. By the time you reach month 3, the tension and volume align almost perfectly. Because of the strength gains you’ve made from the first 60 days, month three takes it to another level to give you insane results by the end of 90 days.
It’s an incredibly simple program that focuses on only 2 things. Eating right, and working out 3 days a week. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life as a fitness and health geek. It’s probably why there are literally thousands of success stories because of it too.
I didn’t get absolutely shredded like some of the other guys in the program whose transformations are literally jaw-dropping. But I dropped 3% body fat, and, most importantly, I’m confident & happy with my body for the first time in my adult life. I’ve been incredibly self-conscious since I was a kid to walk around shirtless anywhere, and now I have no hesitation at all. To me, that’s incredible progress, both physically and mentally.
I owe it all to this program. If you’re serious about getting in shape, and building lean muscle while dropping unwanted fat, there’s no other workout plan I can recommend. Click here to learn more.
I hope this article was helpful in your search for different chin-up exercises you can do. If you have any others that you have tried, I’d love to know. These are pretty much the only ones I do. However, I AM going to have another post soon discussing pull ups exercises I do. They’re similar to chin ups and the main difference is that the palms of your hands are facing forward rather than facing towards you. But that will be another post. Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions or comments at all, please leave them below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. I appreciate you being here!