T Nation

1/4 rep chins?

t-folks,
I’m hoping that maybe someone will point out a good solution to this that I’m overlooking. I’ve been working on getting some bodyweight chins into my training for a few months now, and I’m not really sure where to go from here. I can do 60 second negatives (and I’m getting sick of them!), and generally can get myself up 3/4 of the way on my own. I always find my ‘sticking point’ at the last 1/4 of the concentric motion. What might this imply?
I’m wondering what would be a good path to follow to fix this - I’m thinking focusing on that specific range somehow would be good. I work out alone, otherwise I would probably keep shooting for assisted reps. Any ideas?

You can do assisted reps with a chair. put the chair behind you and use it to allow your legs to help you do reps. Keep your knees bent and the chair about a foot or two back from the bar, you shouldn’t be standing on it, just hooking your feet onto the edge of the seat. Good luck, once you get past this sticking point you will see some rapid advancement in your pullup reps.

I’m hoping someone can help you out better than I can, but I found that once I got my external rotator strength up a bit, the top portion of my chinning movements became much easier. Just an observation.

Try adding weight to your negatives. Once you can do a decent negative with about 30 lbs. you should be able to do at least a couple positives.

Thanks guys. All those points are really good ones. I’m glad to see no one suggested Lat Pulldowns. I really don’t think I want to go near one of those machines even ever again. The experience of watching people in the gym use them has been traumatizing…
I’ll try incorporating all 3 suggestions in at various points in my training regimen.

Steve - any suggestions as to good external rotator exercises? My shoulder work has primarily consisted of pre-hab work lately: bradford & cuban presses with light intensity.

Someone else asked this question recently. Patricia and I recently did pull ups for the first time in over a month and we were surprised to find that it was very easy to knock out 3 sets of 6-10 reps with bodyweight (at the end of our back workout too). The only pulling exercises that we have been doing is deadlifts and cleans. If you are not doing either of these lifts, you may want to start.

Try doing some isometric holds at your sticking point and also at the top of the movement. Just get in the 3/4 to the top position with the help of the chair and hold for 7 seconds. Then do it in the top position.
This will help with getting through the sticking point. If you can’t hold for 7 seconds then see what you can do and aim to progressively add seconds. If holding for 7 seconds is too easy then strap on some weight to make it harder. Do 2 or 3 holds in each position.This works great.Good luck .

The question is, why do you want to complete the rep? For total development? Or so that you’re not a wuss when doing chins? One really easy technique is to treat it like a power movement. When you start at the bottom, instead of pulling yourself up smooth, rocket yourself up (good form though). This will get you through your sticking point, and also give you more muscle tension at the bottom of the movement.

Ko - thanks. I’ve been doing deadlifts for a while now. Avoiding cleans because I’m not too solid on the technique yet… getting there. Incidentally, my deadlift poundages have shot up a lot this month despite doing them after 4 sets of slow rep squats. Go figure.

El_Machinae - Why do the complete rep? What would be the point of only being able to do half-reps? I might as well just get on smith machine while i’m doing it! :slight_smile: I’ve tried the explosive thing… but no luck yet… its not really a sticking point… more like a sticking wall. I’ll keep at it and update y’all in a couple weeks. The goal is to be able to do 8 bodyweight chins in strict form by thanksgiving.

If you can’t do one unassited chin now and think you are gonna be banging out 8 by thanksgiving I think you are being unrealistic. However, keep at it, chins are (in mho) critical to the overall progam. Poliquin published an article here a while back about getting chin reps up (check the back issues). He claimed any good trainer should have a (not fat) client doing 12 chins at a set w/in 90 days. I’ve worked long and hard to get chins in the 8-10 range, (way more then 90 days). Maybe you should check with CP and see if there is one of these miracle workers in your area.

tinman… If i won’t, I won’t. But like you said… keep shooting for it. 8 reps is a goal that I think is feasible but a long long shot… however, its something to shoot for eventually… even if it takes me twice as long, at least I can say I accomplished it.

i have to desagree with the people that don’t think you’re goal is possible. If you can do a negative that lasts 60 seconds, you should be able to get a decent number of chins up. Maybe you’re scared of letting yourself go all out? What helped me out a lot was the pull up machine that had the thing you stand on helping you. I had one at my gym, and after I got down to only needing about 15 pounds, I could pretty easily band out like 6 real pull ups. Get motivated! I think you can get a decent number in apprx 2 months. go for it! keep us informed.