T Nation


My Gym owner (not in US) told me over the weekend he did a set of 120 odd chins which was a world record at the time. Also told me he did a set of 10 with 100 pounds hanging from his weightbelt. I remember reading that poliquin did 23 close grip supinated (which sounded pretty good at the time) and a 16yo russian swimmer then did 60. Whats up with these huge chin numbers - can anyone do anything like this or anything like 50 in two sets or 1 chin plus 70 pounds?

Id love to have a high max in bodyweight chins but just spent a month doing sets of weighed chins once per week and added only 1 extra chin to my max.

The high numbers could be attributed to loads of slow twitch muscle fibers , but being capable of doing reps with an additional 100lbs confounds the explanation.The most close grip chins I ever did was 10, I was (5’10)180 8%bf , my best bodyparts were arms (16inches) and back (chest circumfrence-47.5in with lats flared) and I certainly wasn’t weak with a 365lb ass to the grass squat,300 bench and 430 deadlift.

Whoa - nice lifts, especially for bodyweight. I think the slow twitch fibres must be a factor and maybe there is some additional leverage at work (joints, skeleton, muscle insertions) cause the guy that did the chins is about 5 foot 8, normal length arms, was 160 when he did the chins and had deadlift, squat and bench numbers 300 - 350.
Im 5’10, 170 at about 8% ,bench and squat 220, dead 260, and yesterday pulled off 16 chins, 40 in 3 sets and recently did 10 with 20 pounds and 1 with 50 pounds. The first time I did 15 chins was over 3 months ago so progress is slow.

I consider myself big (by definition anyway), but I can only manage about 4-6 unassisted chins at a given time. Those things are HARD man, but my lats are beginning to flare, so I’ll suffer.

My PR for chins is 315 for 1. My bodyweight (200 lb) plus 115 LB on the weight belt. It’s the only movement I’m really good at. However, when it comes to reps with bodyweight - forget it! I lose it after about 15 ‘breathing’ chins. I have never been able to do a lot of reps. On the other hand, I have never trained for reps. Have you ever seen the French rock climber who likes to climb skyscrapers? There was a segment of him on TLC doing a one-armed chin with one finger in a hold. Awesome! But he was scrawny looking. Sinewy and trained for ultimate endurance. I have tried some training for 1 arm chins by doing negatives. The best I can do is barely control my rather rapid descent! - Nylo

This reminds me of the P.E. tests in Junior High and High School. I always struggled to get 4 to 5 pull ups, and my friend Chris, who was a thin, wiry kid who didn’t workout, could bust out 30+. never failed to piss me off. but life isn’t fair.

Go to clarence bass’s website, he has a good article on a chin routine that helped him bust out a higher number of bw chins. I dont remember exactly what he did, but I’m pretty sure the routine had him doing a lot of chins every day. I dont remember it too well, but I’d recommend checking it out.

I was at the arnold and the marines had a chinup bar set for women to see how long they could hang, and men for chins, each winner won a prize, the last i saw around 3 o’clock was around 33 reps for the men.

Don’t forget The smaller you are the more relative strength you should have, just like the bigger you are the more absolute stregth you should have - at least for people who train. I have this kid in my unit that weighs about a buck twenty soaking wet and can easily do more then 30 pull-ups. Myself, I weigh just over 200 at 6’ and can crank out about 23-24 if I am feeling good. I can also get 10 reps with a 45 pound plate hanging off my waist on a good day. But then again, pull-ups are a mainstay of the Maine Corps exercise regimen and I prioritize that exercise in my training.

I remember doing 33 bodyweight chins (supinated) in Jr High, which was a school record at the time. I was more of a distance runner then, rather skinny. Now, at 200 lbs, I do 10-12 at +35 lbs for my first set, then 6-7 for the second. I haven’t done a failure set of bodyweight chins in a looooong time, it’d be interesting to see where it would go. The numbers you quote are impressive indeed. I seem to remember hearing about the guys who did best in special forces training not being (necessarily) the biggest guys, but more like todays triathletes in body type.

My best chin performance was 290 pounds for one rep. thats 230 + 60 pound dumbbell. When i go for reps the best i can do is around nine. But if you think about it, im doing a higher percentage of my max than someone who weighs 200 pounds and has the same max. I think that might account for it. But im content with lifting heavy weight.