Pull-ups and chins are advanced strength training exercises. The ability to work with one’s own bodyweight is a hallmark of strength, and the ability to perform pull-ups and chins makes you more independent as a trainee, because as you become stronger, you no longer need the lat pulldown apparatus.
The latissimus dorsi, biceps, and forearms are the largest prime muscle movers in this exercise, though the hands, deltoids, rhomboids, and trap 3 muscles are also involved. This particular form of pull-up demands a great deal from the brachioradialis muscle – the forearm muscle that starts on the outside of the elbow, and runs along the top of the forearm when your hand is in a neutral position.
The strength of the shoulder in explosive extension is a key to improvement in many sports endeavors. Examples include producing better running speed in the first 30 meters of sprinting, and as an indicator of throwing speed in sports such as baseball and softball. In mixed martial arts and judo, the strength of the grip – also trained in pull-ups and chin-ups – as well as the ability to pull your opponent with great force, are key determinants of success.
To perform the close grip pull-up, grasp a suspended straight bar with a palms-away grip anywhere inside the width of your shoulders. Inside-shoulder width is the key to making this exercise a “close-grip” variation. To relieve undue amounts of stress on the wrists, be sure to keep the palms at least 4-6 inches apart.
Once you have grasped the bar, bend the knees and hang in mid-air with the arms straight. Inhale.
As you exhale, begin pulling yourself upward toward the bar. Your chin must clear the bar with your head in line with the body in order for the repetition to count. Once you reach the top position, inhale as you begin your descent.
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