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Chin-ups: Add Weight or Reps?

With most of my lower body exercises I find I progress well if I add one rep per workout.

Eg. on glute ham raise it would be;

Workout 1: 5/5/5
Wrokout 2: 6/5/5
Workout 3: 6/6/5
Workout 4: 6/6/6
Workout 5: 7/6/6

…etc…

With weighted chin ups I’m finding this isn’t working nearly so well. I can’t add reps per workout with the same weight and sometimes I feel like I’m regressing. I’m also not putting on weight fast enough that I can’t complete more reps just because I’m getting heavier myself. I also don’t think I’ve been doing this exercise long enough to have peaked already.

Does anyone know why that is? Or has anyone been in a similar situation?

I’m thinking of just adding more and more weight each time instead of more reps, but I wanted to add more reps at the same weight instead of more weight at the same reps, because going too heavy on chins can mess with your shoulder.

One thing I would rather not do is add weight at the same time as decreasing reps - I don’t like this sort of periodization because I would never know if I was able to use more weight simply because I was doing less reps (instead of actually getting stronger)…?

add weight after 15 reps . and do pull ups too . get sure the chin up stand is solid . i have seen many chin up stand akward and too lows for tall people .

negative work may help

Would you use the same bench press weight all your life?

[quote]kakno wrote:
Would you use the same bench press weight all your life?[/quote]

^

One way to compare different loads and reps is to look at the total amount of weight lifted for an exercise.

Total weight lifted = Load X Reps X Sets

This allows you to track progress even if more than one variable changes. It may not be perfect because you de get different types of stimulus using different rep ranges but it works for similar rep ranges.

This^^^^.

I do both added weight and reps with bodyweight along with frequency.

[quote]alternate wrote:
With most of my lower body exercises I find I progress well if I add one rep per workout.

Eg. on glute ham raise it would be;

Workout 1: 5/5/5
Wrokout 2: 6/5/5
Workout 3: 6/6/5
Workout 4: 6/6/6
Workout 5: 7/6/6

…etc…
[/quote]

Well first, how often are you training chins? You may not be giving your body enough time to repair and improve itself between workouts. Either that or you may not be giving it enough protein. So, make sure your recovery (diet and rest) is up to speed.

Says who? And define “too heavy”? Yes, if you tried to go from no added weight to adding the equivalent of your body weight in added resistance your joints and connective tissues would probably be at a high risk for injury. If you build up intelligently though, you are not at any great risk of shoulder injury from going “heavy” (relative to your strength).

[quote]
One thing I would rather not do is add weight at the same time as decreasing reps - I don’t like this sort of periodization because I would never know if I was able to use more weight simply because I was doing less reps (instead of actually getting stronger)…?[/quote]

Look, the process of gaining strength sometimes requires that you will lose a small number of reps when you go up to the next level resistance wise. That is why people usually prescribe rep “ranges”, not exact repetitions when discussing strength training. If you add 10 extra lbs to your chins and your reps drop from 6 to 4, that does not mean you got weaker, it means that your muscles were challenged more from a strength perspective. The good news is that your body will adapt to this new challenge and your reps should improve over time.

Also, when you go back to body weight (or less added weight) your reps should have gone up. From there you can work on adding more reps if desired or adding weight while keeping the reps higher.

Or, if you’re just looking to add reps for the sake of adding reps, then you could try doing things like “greasing the groove” where you would take 50% of your max number of reps and then bust out a few sets (spread out so that you are as fresh as possible for each set) 4-6 days a week. Every few weeks retest your maximum and you should find that your maximum reps is going up.

Be warned though that this is mostly skill based training and is unlikely to result in any significant muscular adaptations IME.

thanks

Where does rest between sets come into play?

I’m someone who’s always timed their rest periods pretty exactly. I’m resting 90 seconds in between each set. I know some guys go by ‘feel’, but if I did this, I might get 10/10/9 reps one day, then inadvertently rest a minute longer between sets on another day and get 10/10/10 reps the next day. I’d think I was getting stronger - but my strength level has really stayed the same - I just got more reps because I allowed myself more rest.

So basically, if I’m stuck getting a certain number of reps at a certain weight with a certain amount of rest between each set, should I;

1). Increase the weight and decrease the reps, then try to increase reps again
2). Keep weight the same, but wait longer between sets until I can hit my desired reps, then try to decrease rest time again
3). Keep weight the same, but perform fewer reps per set, but more sets so total volume is increased, then try to hit desire reps agaim

… or do some combo of 1), 2), and/or 3)…? What would you do? I want to change as few variables in my training as possible, as it makes keeping track of progress much easier!

[quote]alternate wrote:
thanks

Where does rest between sets come into play?

I’m someone who’s always timed their rest periods pretty exactly. I’m resting 90 seconds in between each set. I know some guys go by ‘feel’, but if I did this, I might get 10/10/9 reps one day, then inadvertently rest a minute longer between sets on another day and get 10/10/10 reps the next day. I’d think I was getting stronger - but my strength level has really stayed the same - I just got more reps because I allowed myself more rest.

So basically, if I’m stuck getting a certain number of reps at a certain weight with a certain amount of rest between each set, should I;

1). Increase the weight and decrease the reps, then try to increase reps again
2). Keep weight the same, but wait longer between sets until I can hit my desired reps, then try to decrease rest time again
3). Keep weight the same, but perform fewer reps per set, but more sets so total volume is increased, then try to hit desire reps agaim

… or do some combo of 1), 2), and/or 3)…? What would you do? I want to change as few variables in my training as possible, as it makes keeping track of progress much easier![/quote]

All 3 options could theoretically work. Option 1 is the best option for increasing strength, option 2 is the best of the three for increasing endurance IME, and option three would be the best for increasing skill in your technique. What is going to produce the best results is going to somewhat depend on:

  1. what your goals are
  2. what is actually holding you back (is it strength, low lactic acid threshold/poor endurance/recovery, or technique).

I’d say pick the first option, try it for a few months, then switch to another one and repeat, then try the third option. That’s the only way you are going to know which option will work best for you. And honestly they all represent different forms of progressive overload, so they will all produce results to some degree.

[quote]alternate wrote:
thanks

I’m someone who’s always timed their rest periods pretty exactly. I’m resting 90 seconds in between each set. I know some guys go by ‘feel’, but if I did this, I might get 10/10/9 reps one day, then inadvertently rest a minute longer between sets on another day and get 10/10/10 reps the next day. I’d think I was getting stronger - but my strength level has really stayed the same - I just got more reps because I allowed myself more rest.[/quote]

I sopped timing rest periods. When I first took this approach it took me a few weeks to get used to, but I’ve learned that the body isn’t a methodical machine that goes by exact formulas. Some days you feel it and go harder, some days you don’t. There are also several factors to growth, one of which is total work load, so getting 10/10/10 with an extra minute rest isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Also as you grow stronger you naturally need longer rest periods, so you can’t always time it. Just some food for thought.

Last point, I’ve seen a lot of good advice and suggestions. I’d say go play around with this stuff for a few weeks.