December 22, 2013 | John Paul Catanzaro
You know you’re supposed to vary the grip with chin-ups to avoid stagnation, promote balanced strength and size development, and possibly avoid recurring injuries. The problem is that you only have a straight chin-up bar. Supinated, pronated, and even mixed-grip chin-ups are not an issue, but what about neutral-grip chin-ups? Here are 3 options:
a) Triangle Handle. There’s a very simple solution to enable you to perform this exercise: drape a triangle handle over the bar, and you’re good to go! Obviously, you’ll need to shift your head over to one side as you go up so you don’t hit the bar — just make sure to switch sides each rep to keep it even.
b) PVC Pipes. Go to the hardware store and buy a 2-inch PVC pipe. Cut two pieces about the width of your hands (around 3½ to 4 inches wide). Now, wrap those pieces with some hockey tape, and secure them onto your chin-up bar. I use an ankle strap threaded through each pipe for my setup, and the great thing about it is that you can position these handles as wide or narrow as you wish. Another option instead of using PVC pipes is to use Fat Gripz if you have them.
c) Wood Grips. The ones I use are called Metolius Portable Power Wood Grips. Unlike the options mentioned above, these grips allow some rotation of the arms and shoulders, and the asymmetrical design offers a different hold profile on each side. Plus they can be flipped over for two more unique holds. I’m telling you, they’re great for developing grip strength in addition to all the big “show” muscles of the upper body and core.