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Thread: Chins-hows the best way to do 'em?

  1. #1
    bone crusher
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    So should one concentrate on doing chins with their palms facing each other, away from you, or toward you?

    should you try to do some sets of weighted chins when you can enough or just keep doing em until failure?


    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Chins with a curl grip are the best possible kind. The curl grip puts your biceps in their strongest position. This is important because they are one of the weak links in chins. Curl crip chins are also usually performed with with the hands being shoulder width apart. This is also preferable because it allows the lats to be worked through a fuller range of motion. I would recommend weighted chins if you are strong enough, so that you may use progressive resistance.

  3. #3
    Tuna Freak Frankster's Avatar
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    Alternate between all of them. They all work different parts of the back. I personally think that wider grips ( facing away) are best. And, just like other exercise, once you reach a high ebough number of reps ( lets say 12 for example) you should increase the resistence ( add weight )
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  4. #4
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    In my routine, I do my set of heavy barbell row (~4 reps) and then I quickly follow with chin-ups till failure (palm away-wide grip) and it works wonders for me.
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  5. #5
    Moderator Adam's Avatar
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    Would a wide over hand grip hit the teres and rhombiods more then a shoulder width palms facing chin?
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  6. #6
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    gb, I don't have much experience with palms facing chin but they seemed to work the bicep too much.. I think overhand grip is just as good and better for isolating these muscles.
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  7. #7
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    GB - I was reading an article some time back about how too wider grip is not as effective due to the decreased ROM...

    Because I find it hard to chin with palms facing outwards I perform them the other way around, perhaps slightly in, (as I grap part fo the bar that is crossed) and I feel that hits my lats just fine.. They are always sore and I can always feel them being worked during the exercise... In fact by doing them inwards I have noticed some good difference in the size of my lats..

  8. #8
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    I agree with Chris.
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  9. #9
    bone crusher
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    Thanks for all the info everyone!

    Just wanted to pass along that i changed one new guy's attitude at the gymn yesterday. He asked me to show him deadlifts. Told him about stuff i've learned here from everyone. He'll be doing low volume/high intensity compd movements now!

  10. #10
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Sinep, the fact that you feel the biceps working harder is a good thing. You cannot isolate your lats in any way shape or form during a chin. If your arms are bending then you are using the muscles which perform this function. If you perform this movement in a weakened position then you are weakening what is already the weakest link in the chain. Your lats are much larger and more powerful than the bending muscles of the arms, so when you chin, your arms give out way before your lats do. If your wrist is not fully supinated, your bicep is in a weakened position (that position improving the more you supinate the wrist). So, to do them any other way is to do them in an inferior fashion.

  11. #11
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    Chris, I'm not sure if I understand what you are saying.. I'll try palm inward on my next workout so I can further argue or agree with you. What I was saying is, like you said, bicep are weaker than lats.. and by using palm inward grip bicep may fail before the back.
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  12. #12
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Here, let me explain. Do a little experiment on your own, hold your arm up like you are going to flex your bicep. Now, flex it. As you are flexing it, (assuming you are using your right arm) rotate your wrist clockwise so that your fist is facing away from you. Now turn it back so your fist is facing towards you. What happened to your bicep? As you turned your fist away, your bicep became less contracted and as you turned it back in it became more contracted. The greater the level of contraction, the stronger the muscle. Now, imagine you have a chain with 5 links in it. This chain is quite strong except for the middle link. You decide to pull your friend's broken down car with your chain. You hook up the chains and start pulling. What happens? As you pull the weak middle link stretches and eventually breaks. Bummer! It is a very similar thing in weightlifting (not the breaking part), during a chin, the bending muscles of the upper arm (biceps being the primary) are the "weak link" in the chain (not counting grip which you can use straps for). So, why not strengthen that weak link so that you can get more out of it? If you place the biceps in a stronger position, you will be able to hit the lats even harder. Of course you will feel that your biceps have been worked harder as well, but the ultimate goal is to fatigue the lats to a greater degree.

  13. #13
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    cHRIS:

    What about the theory that wider grip equals wider lats or larger lats? You know that v-shape taper everyone wants, can you acheive that by doing chins with the bicep curl grip?

  14. #14
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    Ok, what you just explained to me is how I can use inward grip more efficiently by supinating the wrist. But by using outward grip, there's no weak link and in my book that mean more work for the back. The way I see it is, when you use bicep.. your back is attached to the chin bar by a ">" link and when you use the outward grip the link is like "|". Now imagine both movements, the second directly link the bar to the back and the pulling movement is all done by the back.
    But most importantly, what happened with my friend and his car?
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  15. #15
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Sinep, if you can bend your arm less forcibly, how are you eliminating the weak link? Your theory is based upon the flawed conclusion that if you use the biceps less the lats will somehow become more involved. If you cannot contract your arms as forcibly, they will stop bending sooner, which means you will stop chinning sooner, which means you will get less work for the lats. Let your friend hitchhike home ! By the way, the only way to directly link resistance to your back muscles is to place the resistace on the upper arms.

    Papaya, that theory doesn't hold water because you can achieve greater stretch in a muscle if you have a greater range of motion. The range of motion is very limited in a wide grip chin compared to a close grip one. In addition, as an adult it is very unlikely that you will be able to lengthen your tendons, ligaments etc.

    [Edited by chris mason on 02-09-2001 at 11:18 AM]

  16. #16
    Wannabebig Member
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    Hey SINEP.....

    This makes about as much sense as arguing evolution with GOD!!!
    Chris "IS" GOD!!!

    BDB

    [Edited by BIG_DONNIE_BRASCO on 02-09-2001 at 11:56 AM]

  17. #17
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    I need to hire someone to translate Chris vocabulary. Experience required. Shoot me an email if interested.
    Chris, like I said.. I'll give it a try and see if I see what I don't see now.


    [Edited by Sinep on 02-09-2001 at 12:18 PM]
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  18. #18
    Wannabebig Moron The Cobra's Avatar
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    I used to use palms facing me. I don't anymore. Here's why: Look very closely at the movement when you use palms facing you. The way your elbows are positioned and the way your body must balance itself in order to get up.. You know what that is? That's a lat-focused pullover. Look at a pullover movement, and you'll see the similarities. You actually bust your chest harder than you think when doing palms facing you (which yes, allows more weight). I use palms away, and it really does hit my lats harder. In a Gold's Gym in Florida I saw a VERY COOL machine that focuses almost entirely on lats!. Imagine doing a palms away chin up, but without using your arms at all. Impossible, right? No, not quite. The machine had pads that you put your elbows in and then you performed a pullup movement with your elbows in the same plane as your torso. The pads were in a socket joint, so they would rotate to accomodate differences in body shapes. It was one of the most innovative machines I've ever seen, and damn, it targets your lats like no other! I have no idea who made it, if anyone has EVER seen one of these machines, please tell me who made it!!!

  19. #19
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    A pullover is a very good movement for the lats Cobra. A chin that simulates this movement would be even better because you still have considerable resistance in the fully contracted position unlike barbell pullovers. Any involvement by the pectoralis is minor and it certainly is not a prime mover in the exercise. If you feel that the palms away chin is superior for you, that is ok with me. However, that opinion flies in the face of physiology. I too used wide grip, palms away chins for many years, but it was asked which method was best, and from a physiological standpoint the curl grip chin stresses the lats more than any other. You shouldn't confuse soreness with stress to the muscles, muscles don't have pain receptors so any soreness felt from a workout is not from the muscles. The limited range of motion associated with wide grip chins is also a major negative (assuming you are also advocating a wide grip). A good analogy would be doing squats of a partial depth. Do you feel that 8" squats will work your muscles as thoroughly as full squats? I will guess that you don't. Wide grip chins would be akin to partial squats. That machine sounds like a Nautilus machine from years ago. Do you sit in an upright position and start the movement with your forearms criss-crossing each other above your head? Then you contract your lats and your elbows move downward in a semi-circular motion along the same plane as the rest of your body. Is that correct?

  20. #20
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    I personally made great gains in my lat width after I started chinning regularly. I use an overhand, wide-grip almost all the time. Personally, I feel this exercise more in the lats and I am stronger on it than I am on underhand grip. I don't have any scientific studies to back this up, just my own personal experience. I think the key here is that you chin. Use whichever grip you feel comfortable with and hit them hard. Sometimes I use 3 different grips-overhand, underhand, and palms facing each other(using triangle attachment).
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  21. #21
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BIG_DONNIE_BRASCO
    Hey SINEP.....

    This makes about as much sense as arguing evolution with GOD!!!
    Chris "IS" GOD!!!

    BDB

    [Edited by BIG_DONNIE_BRASCO on 02-09-2001 at 11:56 AM]

    Hey, Donnie, I really appreciate the support, but I am certainly not on par with God.

  22. #22
    Tuna Freak Frankster's Avatar
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    So basically what you are saying chris is that with the palms facing towards you, the biceps is stronger and this allows for more weight to be used. Is that what you said? And that theres is a greater ROM.
    If thats what you meant then, i agree 100%. But theres is still the fact that if your biceps are stronger, wont you lift the surplus of the weight that you wouldnt normally use with the palms facing away grip with the biceps? that would be like saying : In the close grip bench press, if you put your arms further apart, you can lift more weight; well of course, but you chest also works more.
    And as for the ROM, it may be true that you can have a greater one with palms facing inward, but as they are two different exercises, i dont think its appropriate to say that one is better than the other. Just take the Barbell bench press and the Dumbell fly for example, i wouldnt say that the fly is better even though you can have agreater ROM with it.
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  23. #23
    Wannabebig Moron The Cobra's Avatar
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    Yes, Chris, that was the machine. Quite an excellent piece of equipment. :-) Chris, I'll disagree on the point about pullovers. When I do pullovers, I notice much more contractile forces in my chest area, and my chest is the limiting factor. When I did supinated (underhand) chins on a Chest/Back day, I could never do ****. I found that my chest really gets hit hard by them, and after heavy-ass bench pressing, it was hard to get a good set on supinated chins. I've gotten much better results from the overhand grip. I didn't say I use wide-grip, though! (At least I don't think I did) I use a grip barely beyond shoulder width. And you know my stance on squats, FULL DEPTH! I advocate a full range of motion almost all of the time. So I get as much a range of motion with pronated grip as with supinated. I don't have any studies to back this one up, but I certainly have personal experiences that will back this up.

    I will tell you the one case that I love supinated chins. If you do chins to the bottom of your chest, then they are great. It's kind of a half row/half chin. Quite an excellent movement for back development.

  24. #24
    Wannabebig Member
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    Yet another question. I'm stronger with my palms facing me. Is this the norm? Should I continue in this position or switch to palms facing out?
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  25. #25
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Frankster, your comment about moving your hands out on the close grip bench is actually an endorsement of what I am saying. If you spread your grip from what you would normally use on a close grip bench, what are you doing? You are allowing the pecs to have a greater effect on the movement (and changing the leverages involved), by altering the leverage you are putting the triceps in a stronger position, and thus the combination of these two allow you to lift heavier weights. You are, of course, putting more stress on the chest and thus stimulating it to a greater degree. You have done this by strengthening the weak link in the movement and changing the ratios of the involved muscles (chest doing a greater % of the work). That is the idea, strengthening the weak link. Your lats can lift more than your biceps. Think of this another way, think about curls. If you do reverse-grip curls can you curl as much as you can with your wrist fully supinated? No. Why is that? Your biceps are in a much weaker position and you are using your forearm extensors instead of flexors. So, think about the bending of the arm in a curling motion and the bending in a chin. Now, with the chins your muscles of the back are also involved, but to complete the movement your upper arms must be fully bent. The lats will not bend your arms at the elbow, the biceps and other muscles will do this. Those muscles will fail way before your lats. So why not make them last a little longer and allow you to place a little more stress on the lats?

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