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  • Writer's pictureCoach Matt Pippin

Chin Up Alternative For Elbow Pain

Do you love banging out sets of chin ups but every rep causes the inside of your elbow to burn more and more? That’s got mobility issue written all over it, specifically lack of supination. The good news is that you can still work on those chin ups with a really simple modification that won’t irritate your elbow. It’s basically an alternative grip that takes stress off of those elbows.


Elbow pain doesn’t just magically happen. The majority of the time pain, discomfort, and tightness in the elbow is caused by the inability for the elbow to rotate. Typically when we think about elbows, we only consider flexing and extending movements however, the elbow must also be able to rotate. Yes, rotate!

Test Your Elbow Rotation

  • Keep your elbow at your side, and flex your palm up to your shoulder.

  • From there, rotate your palm inward (pronation), and then rotate it outward (supination).

  • Make sure your elbow stays at your side and really see how far it rotates each direction.

  • If you struggle with being able to supinate, then elbow pain is definitely going to set in when doing chin ups or any kind of pulling movement with this open hand grip.


To avoid causing more problems in the elbows but still able to work on your chin-ups, try this alternate grip chin up in the video above with your palms facing inward. This simple adjustment will limit the amount of the elbow rotation needed to do it safely.

Don’t forget though, you still need to work on creating better rotation of your elbows which you can learn more about IN THIS COACHING VIDEO.


For even more mobility goodness, check out my go-to-mobility moves you can get for free in the link below. Once you check them out, you'll see why they're my favorites.



Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change. CLICK HERE to learn more.


  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)

  • Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor

  • Weck Method Qualified


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