Fitness | Training | Aug 21 2016

Beyond the chin up

Moritz Klatten takes a different look at how fighters can utilise the chin up
chin up
chin up

PULL UPS are often associated with physical education classes and military training. The goal is usually to be able to achieve a certain number, such as 10 reps, and maintain that for optimal performance. A fighter, however, needs to take a more serious approach to this exercise. First, let’s make the distinction between a pull up and a chin up. A pull up is performed with a pronated grip, such that the palms are facing away from the body. In contrast, a chin up is performed with a supinated grip, such that the palms are facing the body. There are many other variations of this exercise, but before getting into them let’s look at why these exercises are so valuable.

For improving punching power, one of the best exercises is the incline barbell press, which works the anterior deltoids, pectorals, and triceps. However, it’s equally important to train the opposing (antagonist) muscles to prevent developing a round-shouldered posture from emphasizing these muscles. In boxing, the sport does not adequately work these pulling muscles, so often it’s necessary to go into a training phase where I would emphasise chin ups with higher number of sets.

For beginners who struggle with this exercise, I don’t recommend hooking bands under the feet to assist with the movement. First, the bands provide the greatest pull when they are stretched, so they are in effect giving you’re the most resistance where you need it the least. They also reduce the amount of stability required to perform the exercise (which is why lat pulldowns have little carryover to chin ups – you need to pull your body around the bar, not pull the bar around the body).


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