How To Do Chin Ups For Biceps Properly

Doing chin ups for biceps is a sure-fire way to increase the size of your biceps. Often when we mention exercises that target the larger bicep area, a plethora of exercises that involve weights i.e., the curls are first to spring to mind.

That said, chin ups for biceps are a better alternative if bulking out the bicep area is your goal.

It is an exercise centred around hoisting yourself up using an underhand grip.


  • Position a chin-up bar above shoulder height preferably somewhere like a doorway.
  • Place your hands on the bar in an underhand grip (with your arms facing your body) ensuring your hands are shoulder-width apart.
  • Afterward, use your arms to lift your body up towards the bar stopping only when your chin is above the bar.
  • Once the chin is over the bar, lower your body down and stop when your arms are once again completely straight.



The biceps are tasked with handling the majority of your body weight while doing the chinups for biceps.

This is because when you flex your elbow joint while lifting yourself up all the work is directed towards the closest muscle group.

In this case that happens to be biceps. As such, the biceps bear the load your are lifting (body weight)

Therefore, every time you hoist yourself up, you enlist the biceps to get you moving up and down.


Chin ups for biceps primarily engage the biceps to complete a rep. However, the latissimus dorsi more popularly known as the lats also play a major role in helping you pull your body up.

Whilst the biceps do the hoisting the lats provide a platform of support enabling you to support your body mid-air.

The latissimus dorsi are what connect your arms to your shoulders and spine. They are also responsible for shoulder and arm movements.


The shoulders play an integral role in allowing you to lift your arms.

This is facilitated by the bone at the top of your shoulder which connects to your clavicle, therefore, allowing you to even get into starting position while doing the chin ups for biceps.

However with every rep, as you go down the shoulders are engaged both in regulating the speed of your movement but also allowing you to extend your arms above shoulder height.


The forearms facilitate the intricate movement of various body parts crucial to doing chin ups for biceps.

As mentioned above the elbow joint is used to channel the workload towards the biceps. However, for this to happen it all starts with the forearm.

The forearm is what coordinates and links the wrists to the elbows. Therefore, when your wrists initiate a move, the forearm allows this to translate into flexion in the elbow and this trickles to the biceps.

The biceps finally muster enough force to lift you up and above the bar.



For a lot of people big biceps are an aspirational quality of working out. This is because on top of increasing the amount of weight your bicep can handle it is also an aesthetically pleasing quality.


Doing the chin ups for biceps heavily engages the upper back. As such,the area is forced to adapt and get strong enough to complete the required movements.

This is particularly helpful in functional activities i.e. For instance, it allows you to carry heavy loads much more easily.

It also lowers the risk of injuring your back when doing physical activities that are taxing to the back area


Hanging mid-air with your upper body weight purely supported on your arms forces you to pivot on your core and back for balance.

However, the more your body gets used to it the stronger your core gets lengthening your hang time whenever you jump up.

This refers to the amount of time you can stay up in the air when you jump. This differs per person based on their core strength.

Long hang times are common in elite athletes who engage in activities that require a lot of jumping.



This is just like a chin up for biceps but with reversed motion. To do this exercise:

  • Adjust the pad so it sits snugly on your thighs to minimise movement.
  • Grasp the bar with a wide grip, looking forward with your torso upright.
  • Retract your shoulder blades and pull the bar down in front of you to your upper chest.
  • Squeeze your lats at the bottom of the move.


  • Stand in front of a squat rack and set the bar to the desired setting preferably at your waist height.
  • Get under the bar and lie down and reach up for the bar in an overhand grip
  • Pull yourself up, leading with your chest. However, the bar doesn’t need to touch your chest but you should get as close as possible
  • Pause for a second before slowly lowering to the starting position, with your arms fully extended.


  • Hook the handle up to the cable machine and place the handle at a notch at about your waist height.
  • Grab the handle with one hand and pull it out so that the cable is tight.
  • With your arms extended, bend at the knees and squat down till your knees make a 90-degree angle.
  • While holding the squat position, pull the handle straight back and pinch your shoulder blades together.
  • Complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 rows while holding the squat position then switch to complete 10-12 rows on the opposite side.



Doing the chin up for biceps is no mean feat. However, like every exercise there is a starting and ending point in order to complete a rep.

It is however common to see people, especially beginners, do an incomplete rep. This often involves partially lifting yourself and not getting your body over the bar right up to the chin.

This reduces the effectiveness of what you intend to achieve.


When things are difficult, it is easy to get tempted into using momentum to help you complete your reps. This often involves either craning your neck or moving your lower body.

All these ways of generating momentum deny you the adequate strain needed to affect any change.

You should therefore keep your lower body static to avoid using it to propel yourself above the necessary threshold.

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