T Nation

Chin Ups Weak Point Assistance Exercises

Coach Thibaudeau

I tried to find my 1rm on chin ups today and this is what happened: I got 105 for 1 but the second half of the movement was slow and hard. Then I tried 115 and got stuck exactly at 90 degrees. Is it a bicep weakness?

What assistance lifts should I do and what muscles should I focus to strengthen?

Almost forgot to mention that I did the multi-hold pump set for chin ups after that and the pump was out of this world. I have never felt a lat and biceps pump like that before. Even my chest got kinda pumped. Thank you for this novel method coach :slight_smile:

Maybe some partials from mid to top will help?

Don’t know, I am exactly the opposite, I am stronger from mid to top than from hang to mid.

VERY rarely are chin-ups weak due to lack of biceps strength, even when the sticking point is that the top/middle.

When that happens I find that in most case it is because the person initiate the chin up with his arms instead of with the back.

The muscle firing hard first, is the muscle that will receive most of the tension/do more of the work. If the biceps fire first to initiate the pull-up they will become the prime mover and the back will, at best, be a supporting muscle. Now, the biceps, even if they are strong, cannot do a lot of weight by themselves. Sure you might temporarily solve the issue by making your biceps stronger, but it doesn’t solve the long term technical issue. And since there is a limit toi how strong your biceps will become you will hit a chin-up ceiling very fast.

You need to engage the lats first and do most of the work with them.

Coach thanks a lot for your answer. So it could be a technique issue?

I don’t know, I always feel chin ups and pull ups in my lats, after a set they are always pumped and I can feel them working during the exercise. The only time when my biceps get pumped too are when I do very high reps. All the other times it’s almost only in the lats.

hmmm, then you could be one of the rare few for whom biceps is a weak link.

In which case I agree with an earlier suggestions of adding partials chin-ups (top portion) as an assistance exercise.

a suggestion here is to do dead stop chins (off rings, gives you more bicep stimulation).

i sit down on the floor in L-sit position with rings at arm length (Full stretch). you can put a dumbell between thighs and explode up (fine to bend knees if full L-sit hard). and when you’re up come down do halfway do partial reps/pulse/holds

killer combo and i feel it in my lats and biceps especialliy