8 Killer Chinup Challenges

Master these moves to build an impressive upper back.

3. Medium Parallel-grip Chinup

In this variation your hands are semi-supinated (palms facing each other), about 22 to 24 inches apart. This position places your elbow flexors in their most effective line of pull, and very likely you'll use this type of chinup when you start using additional resistance. This grip also places the least amount of stress on the wrists, elbows, and shoulders.

4. Sternum Chinup

This is the king of compound exercises for the upper back because it places great stress on the scapulae retractors and lats. This chinup, popularized by Vince Gironda, requires you to hold your torso in a layback posture. The beginning of the movement is more like a classical chin, the midrange resembles the effect of the pullover -motion, and the end position duplicates the finishing motion of a rowing movement.

As you pull yourself to the bar, extend your head back as far from the bar as possible and arch your spine. Toward the end point of the movement your hips and legs will be at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keep pulling until your collarbone passes the bar, your lower sternum makes contact with the bar, and your head is parallel to the floor. You can use either a supinated or a pronated grip, and vary it from narrow to shoulder width (the latter requiring more strength).

5. Narrow Pronated Pullup

This grip increases the overload on your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles and is easier on your wrists than the supinated grip. Use a grip in which your hands are spaced four to six inches apart.


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