Squat, bench, dead, overhead.........chins, rows, dips, etc.
Chins develop the lats, upper back, grip, forearms, and biceps. Solid all around upperbody pulling movement.
At 265 pounds I've done 85 pounds for 5 reps and 100 pounds for 3 reps. I've done 75 x 5 for multiple sets of 5 at 240 pounds and 20 reps on tons of occasions at 240+. These were full range chins, not that half range shit you see a lot of guys doing where their head is 6 inches from getting to the bar.
I personally prefer doing v-bar chins. They are easier on my shoulders, and I feel like I get more mid-back into the mix. Chins CAN be hard on the shoulders, so use a grip that causes you the least amount of pain in that regard. Let me repeat this, USE THE CHIN GRIP THAT IS MOST PAIN FREE FOR YOU.
If you want to use a lot of different grips, widths, and all that jazz, that's cool too.
Some high level overview points about chins to really improve chin strength -
- Chins seem to respond a lot like big lifts, in that if you improve your lower rep strength on them, then ability to rep bodyweight gets easier.
- There is nothing wrong with doing a ton of sets of 5 with bodyweight only. I used this tactic a LOT, then would have a heavy chin day every third week or so with great results.
- Throwing in lat pulldowns every so often and giving the chins a break helped as well.
- Using a 5x5 periodization scheme was good for me too. I hit my best (100x3) that way. I just used a calculator and spreadsheet and worked in the numbers over the course of 8 weeks or so and hit a nice PR. And that was at 265 and I gained weight over the course of that period. So the whole "I gained weight and couldn't chin" thing is kinda out. Just keep chinning.
- I never got more out of chinning multiple times a week than once a week. Your mileage may vary but that's how it was for me. I have chinned 3-5 X a week before, and I never noticed anything better from that than chinning once a week.
- On the flip side, my wife improved her chins like crazy by hitting em everyday for months. So again, there is always the other side of the coin.
- My take on the two above scenarios is this. The stronger you are, the more recover you need. Tiff could only do three chins and then worked her way up to doing 10. Obviously I could do more than 3.
- Don't be afraid to use that anti-gravity machine to get reps in.
- No, I don't have that spreadsheet anymore for when I did the 5x5 calculations.
Anyway, improve your chin strength. Why? Because it's fucking manly that's why.