A Shoulder Friendly Chin-Up

army pullup

As we referenced in a recent article (found here), our ability (or lack thereof) to breath effectively will impact the function of our shoulders and is something we often address in sports physical therapy or performance training (as well as with many runners). This can affect our posture or shoulder mobility, and even result in clicking/popping or reductions in strength.

Of all these factors, reduced shoulder mobility is often the most obvious characteristic.

In most situations, a slight reduction in shoulder mobility is not an issue unless you are performing exercises that require a great deal of shoulder mobility.

One of these exercises is the pull-up or chin-up. Proper performance of these exercises requires a great deal of shoulder flexion and overhead pulling strength. The body is then forced to compensate when these qualities are lacking.

It is common to see an individual lean back and puff out their chest up when initiating the movement from the hanging position. As this occurs, the anterior ribs will flare out and impact the position of the shoulder, which reduces overall function.

So how do we ensure that we are properly performing our vertical pulling movements such as pullups and chin-ups?

Simply perform these movements in a tucked position! This position flexes the hips which stacks the pelvis underneath the body. It is very difficult to puff the chest out excessively when the pelvis is in this position.

However, be warned because this position makes chin-ups and pull-ups much harder!

In addition to increasing the amount of work required from the abdominals, any time a position takes away your compensations, the movement becomes much more challenging.

When first performing this movement have your legs or feet supported. After mastering this step, attempt to hold them up yourself.

Check out this video of Dr. Cohen performing these in his training routine.

Be prepared for the tucked position to challenge your vertical pulling ability!


Image Credit

“Pullup” by U.S. Army Europe is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

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