Chin ups are not the easiest thing to do. But, that is why I love doing them. There is something empowering about being able to lift your body weight against gravity over and over again.
I first started doing chin ups in college when my roommate put up a pullup bar and we’d do them any time we walked by.
Then, a few years ago when I was dating Sam, we’d sometimes run to the local school and do some on their pull up bar. Sam taught me how to do kipping pullups, and kept on me for doing chin ups (even though I didn’t want to), and is the reason I am where I am now with them.
Today I was able to complete 8 chin ups in a row! This is the most I’ve ever done and have been working at them for several weeks now. That is because once I got 8 chin ups I’d get to buy some new fitness clothes! Yes, I am motivated with extrinsic rewards!
To back track a little, last summer around June or July, I had been working on them and Sam promised me a grill if I could do 6. (He claims he said 8, but I remember 6 because I had only gotten to 4 and knew I needed 2 more). Well, my birthday rolled around and I was so close with my chin ups, and he surprised me with a grill for my birthday!!! He was at work, so the first thing I did was go out and buy some propane and grill tools. When he got home I was grilling our first dinner and he told me I wasn’t supposed to be able to use the grill until I got 6 chin ups. OOPS!
Well, since I had already received my reward, I didn’t work on my chin ups as much any more. Then in October, we got in an accident, and I couldn’t use my arm for about 1 1/2 months. When I finally got back into the gym I focused more on my training and only did chin ups here and there. Until Sam set up another reward for me and BOOM! I got them all in!
Ok, so after I got home from the gym today, I jumped up on our pullup bar and did one so I could get a pic of my back muscles in progress!!! I feel so accomplished because not a lot of girls can do them and it takes so much work. But it all starts with one! -Happy Dance- Don’t think i’m stopping here. Next up is my goal of over 10 chin ups, so I can start doing sets of them, and I want to be able to do 6 pullups!
I want to share with you my process for getting 8 chin ups!
First, a chin up (palms facing you, close grip, like pic below) is a lot easier than a pullup (palms facing out, wide grip, like in pic above)
Here are some great priming exercises:
- Most gyms have a chinup assist (where you can put your legs or knees on a weighted platform to assist you up). Always try to use less and less weight to assist you. The less weight you use to assist, the closer you come to lifting your own body weight.
- Any back lifts like a lat pull down, dumbbell rows, bent over rows. Strengthening your back muscles will only aid you in getting up there! After I hurt my arm and couldn’t do anything for almost 2 months, when I got back in the gym and after a few weeks of working out my back I was able to do 4 just like that! The back work really helped me make progress.)
- Work on your biceps as they are a big helper during the chin up
Keep in mind that all the priming work will help a little, but what is going to help the most is jumping up there and toughing that chin up out
Here are a few tips to make chin ups easier:
- Use a pullup bar at home if you have one and use a chair as an assist
- Use resistance bands (hook to pullup bar and put one foot in the band to help you up)
- Have someone hold your legs to assist you up (it is great to do as many as you can, even if it is only 2 or 3, and then have someone hold your legs and help you do 5-6 more. Fail those muscles even with help!)
- Jump a little to assist getting you up there, but always work towards doing 1 from a dead hang
- Weight loss. The less you weigh the easier it is to lift yourself up!
There you go! Start with one and work your way up!