Many forms of martial arts require upper body strength. The stronger your arms and shoulders are the easier it is to perform the routines. There are numerous ways for a martial artist to increase strength. Chin-ups are simple exercises that can be performed almost anywhere. And chin-ups have the added value of strengthening your entire body. As always, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
Simply hang from a bar with your hands shoulder length apart and facing you. Pull yourself up with your arms until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back down until your arms are straight and pull yourself up again. Start with three sets of ten repetitions. Increase the sets and repetitions as your strength increases.
Chin-ups train and strengthen many muscles in the body. The main groups are the lats, traps, rhomboids, rear delts and biceps. Even the hamstrings are strengthened, as you typically have to tuck your legs up behind you to prevent swinging. The chin-up may be the best biceps exercise there is. Lifting your entire body weight with your biceps doing chin-ups is much more than you can do with curls.
A variation of the standard chin-up is the close-grip chin-up. Start with your hands closer together on the bar, a less than shoulder width grip. This variation will work your arms and shoulders harder. Even though your core gets a workout from chin-ups, the closer grip will work it even more. The closer grip increases the body’s tendency to rotate as you perform the chin-up. The ab muscles need to tense more to keep from twisting in one direction.
If you are a martial artist, add chin-ups to your repertoire of strength training. If you are considering starting with martial arts, do yourself a favor and start a strengthening routine that includes chin-ups. You will be better prepared for the routines that you will learn.