If I had to choose one movement to build a great upper body, it would be the chin-up. The reason I like the chin-up is that it hits other muscle groups as well. The upper-back, lats, traps, and core are all engaged during the chin-up movement. The famous bicep curl only works one muscle group. This allows you to build a well-rounded upper-body. It’s also a good way to develop your relative strength. If you want to place a greater emphasis on the upper back muscle, you can do pull-ups instead. Pull-ups is when you have your palm facing away from you. Sometimes I like alternating between chin-ups and pull-ups so I can fully target the different muscle groups.
One version of the chin-up that has given me great results is the eccentric focused chin-ups with a four second pause at the bottom. The idea of this is to lower yourself down slowly when doing the chin-up. Once you’re at the bottom, pause for four seconds. The reason it’s good to lower yourself slowly is because the eccentric/lowering portion of a movement is where the most muscle tear happens. Muscle tear is the key to muscle growth. I like to add more resistance by adding a weight belt with a weight plate attached. You can also do weighted chin-ups without the eccentric focus but your muscle fibers won’t be stimulated as much.
Before using these advance methods of chin-ups, it’s important that you’re comfortable doing regular chin-ups. If you get good at the eccentric focused chin-ups with weights, your upper-body will thank you tremendously. I’ve experienced great results from this and I’m sure it’ll work for you too!
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