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If you want to build a big, wide back and sleeve splitting biceps you have a lot of options but one of my all time favorite moves that hits them BOTH at the same time is the weighted chin up! With this single back and biceps exercise you can stimulate hypertrophy in both your lats and your biceps at the same time. In this video I’ll show you the proper loading parameters, rep ranges and techniques to add mass, strength and power to your upper body pulling without having to resort to split muscle group training.
Many people know about the power of the chin-up in building back and biceps but since it’s a ‘bodyweight’ move, they tend to overlook one very important element; the ability to load. Once you are able to perform sets of 12, 15, or even 20 reps on the chin up you need to start adding some weight to continue to elicit the proper response for strength and size. If not, those super high rep sets start turning the move into an endurance challenge which is fine; but not what we want when our goal is increased biceps or back mass.
From a biomechanics stand point the chin up puts your shoulder in front of your body so not only are you getting a better lat stretch but you’re also getting the protective effect on the shoulder joint when it is elevated (as in the bottom of the chin up) as opposed to the abducted end point of a pull up.
Make sure you squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, even if it means lowering the weight that you’re able to use, if you want to put them on overload and create increased biceps size. As you will see, I’m weighting my chins with over half my bodyweight for the heavy sets (around 90 lbs) but it’s important to make sure you respect form, and full range of motion to get the most out of this move. As always never let your ego dictate your loading parameters.
When you put it all together you have a one two punch that can quickly kick start your back and biceps development. Add this into your pull day and you will see results fast.
As always, you can get a complete workout program to start looking like an athlete by heading to and getting your ATHLEAN-X Training System. See what the top pros are using to build biceps, back and a complete athletic body in just 90 days.
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