Range of Motion


See if you can do this: Starting with your elbows straight at a dead hang, pull your chest up to the bar. If you can mange it, you've just demonstrated that you have full control over your shoulder position, a strong functional back, and plenty of pulling strength.

Watch the video below to see what it should look like!

The Acceptable Range Of Motion Standard

Starting with your elbows straight at a dead hang, pull your chin above the level of the bar.

If you can’t get your chest to the bar, chances are your back isn’t strong enough to fully complete the movement (yet).

If the dead hang position is hard on your elbows or shoulders, your overhead shoulder mobility is probably lacking.

Here's what the acceptable standard looks like.


The mobility requirements in the chin-up are less complex than many other movements (squats for example). Here's the low down:

Typically I like to do some self massage work, followed by a stretch, followed by an activation drill that forces you to engage the muscles through a full range of motion. Without working with you and seeing what will work best for you, it's hard to recommend exactly what to do, but this is a starting point:

If you have trouble getting in a good 'hang' position, try this sequence:

  1. Self massage on the lats and triceps. 2mins per side. (The buffer can be good here too!)
  2. Lat stretch with band. 3x45sec/side
  3. Dumbbell straight arm pull-overs 2x 8reps.
  • Keep lats engaged throughout;
  • Keep abs engaged to maintain neutral spine;
  • Use a 3-4sec lowering phase.

Just hanging from the bar for extended periods can often be therapeutic too.