How To Do Negative Chin Ups Properly

If your aim is to improve your upper body strength, specifically the muscles of the mid-upper back, and scapula stabilizers, then negative chin ups should be your go-to workout.

They are also beginner-friendly and will help usher you into the chin-ups if you find the latter difficult.

The negative part of any exercise will work the targeted muscles in their elongated or stretched-out position, which will eventually strengthen the muscles required to perform the positive part of the routine.

This exercise can be a great after-workout routine especially if you have performed back exercises. Additionally, it is a good warm-up for biceps training.

Read on to unpack crucial aspects of this routine such as muscles worked, benefits and common mistakes to avoid while performing it.


In order to perform this routine, you will require a chin up bar. Additionally, you can also perform this routine on rings or simply, monkey bars if you are in the playground.

Here is a guide to performing this routine with the correct form.

Grab the chin up bar and ensure your hands are approximately shoulder width apart. Also ensure that your palms are facing you.

In order to have your body in the chin up position, stand on a platform to be in the top position.

Jump and pull yourself up to the top position and perform the negative movement- lowering yourself down.

If you are able to, you can also jump from the ground and pull yourself to the starting position and follow this by the negative movement.

Before starting each rep, take a deep breath and brace your core. Additionally, gently tuck your ribs towards your hips such that your body is in a slight hollow position and squeeze your glutes.

This will help you maintain the required stability around your spine and pelvis.

Now lower yourself slowly and smoothly down by engaging the muscles in your mid and upper back and scapula stabilisers.

Be keen to engage these muscles all through the exercise as this will keep your shoulders packed all the time.

Lower yourself down and fully extend both shoulders. While at it, don’t allow your elbows to flare away from your body.

Ensure that you maintain proper alignment throughout by ensuring your spine is stable, ribs remain down and your pelvis and torso are also not rotating.

You can choose to either bend your knee or keep your legs straight but of importance is that you squeeze your glutes and the muscles in your legs. This is because it will keep your body rigid and a rigid body is a lot easier to control.

Take a count or two to reset and repeat for the desired number of reps.


Here are the muscles that get worked with this exercise.


The lats are the primary muscles that get worked in this exercise. This is because they are most involved when pulling up and down. In this case, they will help you to control your weight on your way down.


Any form of a pull up requires the back muscles particularly traps and rhomboids. Similarly, when it comes to negative chin ups, these muscles also work in coordination to help in lowering you down.


During this routine, your biceps will be engaged to a varying extent depending on the position of your hands.

If your hands are turned inwards towards you, you will benefit from more bicep recruitment.


Unlike the other muscles, the triceps are not engaged as much as the rest of the muscles. However, they play a role in helping in extending the elbow which will happen a lot in the negative chin ups.


Your core will also get engaged during the negative chin up a you will need to recruit it in order to help to control your body during the negative movements.


Negative chin ups train your shoulders, particularly your rear deltoids and traps muscles both involved in pulling motions.

You will also want to maintain your shoulders back and tight throughout which further engages them.


The following are the benefits associated with the negative chin ups.

This exercise will increase your upper body strength, especially in the lats, traps and rhomboids.

Increases the upper body strength in the shoulders and to a lesser degree the appearance of the upper arms and forearms.

Increases the strength in your erectors, scapula stabilizers and the anterior core.

If your diet and exercise routines are geared towards weight loss, the negative chin ups will be a good supplement to these in attaining your weight loss goals.

This exercise is convenient as it requires very minimum equipment to perform.

It also improves grip strength as you will hold on to the bar strongly as you perform the pulling movements.

Helps in building body control and coordination, as you will be required to be in control of your body throughout the routine.


These are the alternative exercise routines to the negative chin ups.


While this is a great mid and upper back routine, you can tweak it a little bit- by pulling with your palms facing upwards and it becomes a great workout that can replace the negative chin ups.


This alternative is easier as it does not restrict the range of motion that the machines allow.


Avoid moving your spine as this could lead to spinal injuries.

Also, avoid relaxing your glutes and leg muscles as this will make your body relaxed hence difficult to control.

Avoid flaring your elbows as this could lead to serious hands injuries.


The negative chin ups are a great routine, especially for those who can’t comfortably perform the chin ups.

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