Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups

The heaviest work your arms will undertake are as a helper during pressing and pulling movements for your chest, shoulders and back. Adopting a narrow-grip for your pull-up or a reverse-grip (AKA chin-up) places an increasingly greater emphasis on your biceps - they become an even greater helper, assisting your lats in completing the exercise.

Chin-ups are an efficient multi-lever/ multi-muscle exercise; therefore, if your workout time is limited, chin-ups are a sensible exercise to add to your repertoire and a top choice to work your biceps heavy, as well as hitting the major muscles of your back.

Here's how I choose to perform them:

1. With your palms facing toward you (supinated), hold the pull-up bar with your arms slightly closer than shoulder width.

2. Extend your arms so that you hang from the pull-up bar. Tip: By looking up (in the direction of travel), you should naturally bring your chest out and arch your lower back, which I consider to be the ideal stance.

3. Kink your elbows to assume the load on your biceps and lats. This is your start-position.

Start-Position for Chin-Ups.

4. Then, as you breathe out, pull yourself up - bring your chest to your hands and your chin above the bar.

5. Squeeze your biceps at the maximum point of contraction (mid-position).

Chin-Up mid-position.

6. Then lower yourself slowly to the start position and repeat. Tip: I choose to retain load on biceps and lats by not locking out my elbows and keeping my shoulder girdle tight at the start-position.

This exercise can be made harder by adding weight or enhancing grip requirement, using a product like my Globe Gripz. This exercise can be made easier by performing the exercise assisted (spotter, bands, foot on the floor, assisted chin machine).

Here's a video demonstration that addresses the tips suggested:

I should also note that keeping my head up during the exercise is not to be confused with a Gironda Pull-up (AKA Sternum Pull-Up). I'll demonstrate this in another video, but the body's angle in relation to the pull-up bar is more exagerated (about 45 degrees) and you pull-up to the lower part of your sternum/ breastbone. 

If you have found this article and exercise video helpful, please support our free-resource by sharing it online using the social buttons. You can also purchase our acclaimed Globe Gripz workout tool at For recommendations on pull-up bars, please check out our UK store .

Thanks and best regards,

Matt AKA Gym Professor