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I've practiced doing chin-ups, both the full range:
(entirely hanging to chin above the bar), and approx ~90% of the full range, where I don't let my arms and shoulders 'stretch/hang', and instead hold my weight at the downward part of the chin-up so my arms remain slightly bent.

Although I never became injured from doing full-range-of-motion chin-up's, I did it because I feel as if its doing less ware & tare on my shoulder joints (also elbows a little).

Is there any evidence for or against using a full-range-of-motion when doing chin-ups?

  • The hang portion can be problematic for people with shoulder problems-it's good to keep the scapulae retracted to protect previously-injured muscles, at least in my experience. – Dave Newton Feb 5 '17 at 17:54
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If you want to use a range of motion you need to use that range of motion. If you don't go all the way to the bottom of a chin-up then you won't grow strength in that end range of motion, you won't develop joint mobility keeping or making that a comfortable movement, and you'll leave out the development of muscles and tissues that are only engaged at that end range (for instance, the pectorals).

Time and age make us weak and constrict our movement. One of the best reasons to move is to fight that decline and retain the ability to move. I've therefore never seen the point of preemptively reducing ranges of motion. Specifically for chin-ups, I find the controlled stretch or even relaxation at the bottom a great way to keep my shoulders open and healthy.

  • Re: "I find the controlled stretch or even relaxation at the bottom a great way to keep my shoulders open and healthy." - agree, Just hanging after is a nice way to stretch, OTOH, if I'm doing many reps I feel the transition between hanging and lifting myself is a bit jarring. Its not as if its hard or hurts to do it, just that I would avoid doing it a lot. – ideasman42 Feb 6 '17 at 6:34

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