How To Do A Chin up

How To Do A Chin Up

Often a goal of my female clients is to be able to 1 chin up.  Seeing a woman bang out
unassisted chin ups in the gym is one of the most impressive sights there is.  Not to mention the empowering effect it has on the female trainee herself!  Hell, its often a goal of my male clients too!

Along with the bench press the chin up has stood the test of time and incessant gimmickry of the industry by remaining one of the best upper body strength exercises there is.  The truth hurts.  Training needs to be hard to work so you will never see them advertised on late night TV as the latest fad.

It is a very hard thing to do when you’re coming from a place of zero chin ups but definitely attainable, like all gym goals.  The right plan, the right nutrition and constant dedication is what gets you there.

Here is a sample program on how to be able to perform one chin up inspired by the likes of Strength Coach Tony Boutagy

The Eccentric Chin Up:

The term ‘eccentric’ refers to lowering phase of any lift.  If you’re not sure what the lowering phase of a particular lift is just ask yourself, which way would the weight go if I dropped it?  That’s the eccentric.  In this case the eccentric phase of a chin up is the lowering phase starting from the bar with the chin above the bar to the bottom position with straight arms.  If you “dropped the weight” (i.e. yourself), it would go towards the floor.  Hence the eccentric portion of this lift.

* Start at the top of a chin with palms facing you by either placing a block under the bar or being lifted into place.  Lower yourself down eccentrically over 4 seconds.  Over time increase the eccentric time up to 10 seconds then eventually you need to do this for 30 seconds.

* Super set the chin up with a set of 8 lat pulldowns palms facing you using a weight you can only pulldown 8  times

* Rest 90 seconds then perform incline dumbell press or seated overhead dumbell press  for a set of 8 reps

*  When you can perform 3-5 sets of 1 x 30 second eccentric chin up followed by 8-12 pulldowns you will be able to do 1 chin up

* Below is a video of Personal Trainer Patricia Enriquez demonstrating the 30 second eccentric straight into the pulldown.

Reasons you still cant do them

If you’ve been busting your hump and still can’t grind one out here are a few tips to help maximize your chins:

  1. The more rounded your shoulders are from bad posture the less chance you can chin.  Fix your computer  posture by strengthening your scapular retractors and shoulder external rotators.  
  2. A weak grip will inhibit your chinning ability.
  3. Having weak biceps will also hold you back.

So there you go.   Not for the faint hearted, but extremely gratifying when they become easy.

See you in the gym

Personal Training – Bondi Junction