Chins Ups

I’m thinking of making chins a priority in my training. They are already the mainstay of one workout a week, I can do 10 supinated. Is increasing my max # of reps more a matter of losing weight (I don’t see the fat guys chinning) or increasing strength. I am 5’ 9’’ and weigh 180 lbs. Just think it would be cool to be able to do a lot of chins.

I agree with you! It is cool to be able to do a lot of chins. On August 30th at the age of 48 I did 31 dead hang chin-Ups to win a Marine sponsored contest.

Sorry to start off by bragging. But, hey if you don’t take a little pride in what you can do, what’s the point of doing it?

As for your chin-up training. I think you should do sets of “pull-ups” not “chin-ups”. The reason being that pull-ups are harder and there is a direct transfer of power and ability from Pull-ups to chin-ups. Also, there is less of a chance of injury doing multiple sets of pull-ups than chin-ups, as pull-ups are more of a natural movement. When we climb we do not climb underhanded! I am especially refering to the fragile tendons of the lower forearm.

I recommend that you train pull-ups three times per week. Do four sets of 10 each session. Gradually adding a rep to each set as you are able. At the end of your four sets strap on some weight, perhaps 10lbs, and do either a set of 5 negatives, or a set of 10 half reps (top half). Please do not jump into this program all at once. Work up to it gradually. Maybe twice per week with three sets. No negatives or half chins with the 10lbs. in the begining.

Remember to switch off to chin-ups on one set per session, preferably the final set. After one month on this program you should have increased your chin-ups by at least 60%!

Personally, I think that Pull-ups and Chin-ups are the single best upper body exercise that you can do! You are right when you state that fat people cannot chin themselves, but don’t worry about that. At 5’ 9" and 180lbs, and with the ability to do 10 chins you are far from fat!

Make sure that you do them in “dead hang” fashion. That means going all the way down, where your arms are fully extended. And then all the way up where your chin is even with, or over, the bar.

During your period of Pull/Chin training I would not do any other Lat exercise. Let all your added back muscle be exclusively for Chin-Up power!

Good Luck, and I hope you let me know how you are doing on occasion.


ZEB, what an awesome how-to post. That’s the thing T-Mag articles are made of. You are truly the Dead Hang Pull-Up King!!!

Yep, you’re catching on, ZEB! :wink:

And props to you for 31 dead hang chin-ups! That’s awesome at any age!

On the subject of chins, I had a odd occurence of pullups recently. 3 months ago I was doing 5 x 5 sets of pullups with 40 lb weights once a week. I suddenly lost my strength doing these and now can only handle non weighted pullups. Anyone know what makes this happen? I didn’t experience any pain, just loss of strength.

Getting enough to eat? Enough sleep? How’s your stress level?

If everything else is in line and nothing has changed, then it may be time to get to a doctor.

Hey Zeb thanx for taking the time and trouble to lay it out there for me. I will start your suggested routine in another week and will definitly give you a heads up on how it goes.

Great Tinman!