How high should a chin-up bar be placed?

Written by paul lupi
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How high should a chin-up bar be placed?
(© 2005 Ravi Tahilramani)

The chin-up is a basic exercise that works the muscles of the upper back and arms, specifically the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, posterior deltoid, teres major, biceps brachai, levator scapulae, mid-trapezius and low-trapezius.

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How to Chin Up

To do the exercise, place the hands on a sturdy overhead bar that is level. Place your hands a little more than shoulder width apart or a distance apart that feels comfortable. Either a pronated (palm away) or supinated (palm towards) hand grip will work. Cross the ankles and bend the knees to a 90-degree angle holding the body from the bar. Once in this position slowly pull your body up to the bar raising your head above so that your chin is higher than the bar then slowly return to the starting position.

Can You Do It?

To properly complete a chin up an individual must have the strength to lift their entire body weight. Through my experience, most people cannot perform a chin up as this is not a motion that most would do on a regular basis. Most individuals require some preparation prior to doing a chin up.

Prepare

To help individuals prepare to do a chin-up, it is best to utilise a piece of equipment in the gym called a lat pull-down. This piece of equipment will allow a person to lift a weight that is a percentage of their body weight to train them to gain strength slowly and ultimately allow them to perform a chin-up.

Where to Chin Up

While most of the time people can find a chin-up bar at a local park on their vita-course fitness trail or on a local playground mounted at a predetermined height, they sometimes have to mount one on their own.

Setting The Bar

The most popular chin up bars are units mounted on door frames. There are two types of door frame mounts available: permanent and removable. With a permanent bar, raise it as high as possible, as clearance is needed in the doorway to allow for everyday activities. Just allow a few inches of space between the bar and the top of the door frame to allow for your hands to grip the bar. Removable bars have tensioners (springs that secure the bar within the door frame without having to bolt or screw them in) that allow the bar to be quickly installed and removed. These can be placed anywhere in the door frame that feels comfortable for the user. The only requirement is that they be higher than the tips of the user's fingers while they are standing on their knees with their arms fully extended over their heads.

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