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Exercises to Help with Chin-Ups...

I’ve gotten a lot better/stronger at chin ups in the past year. Going from needing a complete stack [160#] of assist weight to actually being able to do 3 without assistance. I know, thats not shit to most of you guys…but you probably don’t weigh 295# right now either. [Down from 380, so please cut me some slack for progress]

What I notice when chinning is I have little difficulty with the first 3/4 of the movement. It is the last squeeze to get my chin over the bar…the last 6-8" or so that I struggle with the most.

Are there some exercises I can do to help me in this area? When I try hangs, it is this same area I fall through fastest…so I’m not sure how much benefit I’m getting from that technique.

Try just doing that partial of the exercise with some assistance? Partials.

Or try the same with the pulldown machine.

Or rack chins… partials.

try adding some slowly performed negatives to your workouts. a Cluster set, a set of rest pause, a set of negatives and some partials… that’ll fuck ya!

Try doing 1 perfect rep followed by 2 mins rest, repeated for 5 times… this is a cluster set and is the equivalent of doing 5 reps with your 3 rep max.

Try strengthening the biceps too… and rows will help also.

Hows your grip, that can make a hell of a difference, sometimes people think they struggle at chins full stop, but often it is just the pain they are feeling from their grip going first…

JJ

Top range partial chins should do the trick.

Don’t be afraid to use the lat pull down machine. Especially if you are losing weight. The problem with chin ups and pullups is that the work you are doing changes with your body weight. Pull downs eliminate the guess work. I very seldom do chin ups or pull ups, but I have no problem knocking out sets of 15 at a bodyweight of 230 lbs, due to the pull downs I do.

[quote]2274 wrote:
Top range partial chins should do the trick. [/quote]

This answer is so easy, I should be bitch-slapped for not thinking of it myself…lol.

I do lots of rows already and throw in one dedicated bicep workout a week also. After too many years of being a bench/curl dominant lifter, I think I’ve got a very balanced workout now. When I finally peel all this fat off, I think I will have some impressive size left.

good job on the progress man, I’m in MN too.

Jstreet- pulldowns are not the same as pull ups, the difference is closed chain vs. open chain movement, it has to deal with the way your scapula move and your body handles the movement, not that pulldowns aren’t a good choice to build your back, just they are not the same as chinups and they should both be done IMO.

[quote]ungs9 wrote:
good job on the progress man, I’m in MN too.

Jstreet- pulldowns are not the same as pull ups, the difference is closed chain vs. open chain movement, it has to deal with the way your scapula move and your body handles the movement, not that pulldowns aren’t a good choice to build your back, just they are not the same as chinups and they should both be done IMO. [/quote]

So where are you studying ungs9?

I didn’t realize the difference in pull ups vs. pull downs…although I still don’t know what open chain vs. closed chain represents, I guess at least I know they are different. What I do know is in all the years I’ve weight lifted, I NEVER made gains in strength and back width/thickness with pull downs the way I have this past year with the availability of a assisted pullup station in my current gym.

[quote]ungs9 wrote:
good job on the progress man, I’m in MN too.

Jstreet- pulldowns are not the same as pull ups, the difference is closed chain vs. open chain movement, it has to deal with the way your scapula move and your body handles the movement, not that pulldowns aren’t a good choice to build your back, just they are not the same as chinups and they should both be done IMO. [/quote]

I know the difference between pullups and pulldowns. You guys try to complicate thing WAY too much. The movements are close enough that if your get stronger on pull downs you will get stronger on pull ups. The key is going heavy enough on pull downs.

I had the same problem going from assisted to unassisted about 4 months back.

I did timed slow negatives for the movement I had trouble with. Adding weight while doing the negatives was my second step.

Now I am starting weighted chins for 5x5, so, it worked well for me…

Hope that helps a bit…

[quote]jstreet0204 wrote:
ungs9 wrote:
good job on the progress man, I’m in MN too.

Jstreet- pulldowns are not the same as pull ups, the difference is closed chain vs. open chain movement, it has to deal with the way your scapula move and your body handles the movement, not that pulldowns aren’t a good choice to build your back, just they are not the same as chinups and they should both be done IMO.

I know the difference between pullups and pulldowns. You guys try to complicate thing WAY too much. The movements are close enough that if your get stronger on pull downs you will get stronger on pull ups. The key is going heavy enough on pull downs.[/quote]

exactly, good point Jstreet.

I didn’t say you couldn’t use pulldowns, I do use them, I’m just saying that because you can do 5 pulldowns with your bodyweight doesn’t mean that you will be able to do even one pullup. They’re different.

SeaHag-I go to MSU in mankato I did go to Gustavus as a Health Fitness major but they made us take all these nursing classes with the girls(they have a great nursing program there) and the 10 Health Fitness majors were an afterthought to the 100 nurses in every class.

I asked this question on EliteFTS a while ago: how to get better at chins. Harry Selkow answered here:

http://asp.elitefts.com/qa/default.asp?qid=74059&tid=

You’d start with week one doing 10 singles
Then move to…
week 2: 10x2
Week 3: 10x3
Week 4: 8x4
Week 5: 6(or 7)x5
etc. Do a chin/pull up work out with those parameters 3x each week. Take as much rest as you need between sets.

To give you an Idea, I went from doing 10x2 to start with and have done 8x4 twice this week (i’m doing pull ups, hands facing away). So it seems to be working.

CT wrote an article about chins:
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460273

  1. Pull your elbows apart as you go up, this really helps

  2. Do lots of sets of low reps

  3. Cheat; put some swing in there and then lower yourself slowly under control

[quote]jstreet0204 wrote:
ungs9 wrote:
good job on the progress man, I’m in MN too.

Jstreet- pulldowns are not the same as pull ups, the difference is closed chain vs. open chain movement, it has to deal with the way your scapula move and your body handles the movement, not that pulldowns aren’t a good choice to build your back, just they are not the same as chinups and they should both be done IMO.

I know the difference between pullups and pulldowns. You guys try to complicate thing WAY too much. The movements are close enough that if your get stronger on pull downs you will get stronger on pull ups. The key is going heavy enough on pull downs.[/quote]

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

I like both. If i am doing back first i use pullups - if i do back after a bodypart such as legs (like at the moment) i like pulldowns.

JJ

[quote] JJ wrote:
jstreet0204 wrote:

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

JJ[/quote]

Are you sure about that? I cant think of any reason why open change would lead to more of an anabolic hormonal response, and they are kinetically different; not as much as the difference between leg press and squats though.

To the OP,

Heres a couple of thoughts.

*If you want to get better at chins, your gonna need to focus on chins. No other exercise will help more than plain old chins.

*Dont think of pulliing your chin above the bar, instead think of pullling your chest to the bar. It makes a difference.

*Make sure your pulling your scapulas down and back with the movement. This is more important than getting your chin above the bar.

*If you can only do sets of three at the moment, do sets of 1-2, and focus on pausing and squeezing at the top… Since this is your weakest portion it makes sense to strengthen this position. You can use weighted isometrics at the top as well, but full ROM BW with a pause will probably do.

*Lastly, make sure your working your horizontal pulling with BW rows.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

[quote]dankid wrote:
JJ wrote:
jstreet0204 wrote:

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

JJ

Are you sure about that? I cant think of any reason why open change would lead to more of an anabolic hormonal response, and they are kinetically different; not as much as the difference between leg press and squats though.

To the OP,

Heres a couple of thoughts.

*If you want to get better at chins, your gonna need to focus on chins. No other exercise will help more than plain old chins.

*Dont think of pulliing your chin above the bar, instead think of pullling your chest to the bar. It makes a difference.

*Make sure your pulling your scapulas down and back with the movement. This is more important than getting your chin above the bar.

*If you can only do sets of three at the moment, do sets of 1-2, and focus on pausing and squeezing at the top… Since this is your weakest portion it makes sense to strengthen this position. You can use weighted isometrics at the top as well, but full ROM BW with a pause will probably do.

*Lastly, make sure your working your horizontal pulling with BW rows.

Hope this gives you some ideas.[/quote]

I am - when the body moves through space more hormones are released, in comparison to when the weight moves (Open/Closed chain)

OK - they may be different, but no different muscles are used or not used, maybe different intensities on certain muscles though - and it depends on the form/technique used… pulling straight up or pulling to chest. But all things being equal what kinetic differences are there?

JJ

[quote] JJ wrote:

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

I like both. If i am doing back first i use pullups - if i do back after a bodypart such as legs (like at the moment) i like pulldowns.

JJ[/quote]

Did I give someone the impression that I need a technical lesson to this question :slight_smile: I know they are different I never said they were exactly the same. He’s having trouble doing bodyweight chinups for reps. As you stated yourself, the same muscles are used on the same plain to pull down the cable that are used to pull your body up to a bar. If you strengthen the those muscles with pulldowns your pull-ups/chin-ups will improve. I wasn’t implying that he should give up pullups/chin-ups

[quote]jstreet0204 wrote:
JJ wrote:

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

I like both. If i am doing back first i use pullups - if i do back after a bodypart such as legs (like at the moment) i like pulldowns.

JJ

Did I give someone the impression that I need a technical lesson to this question :slight_smile: I know they are different I never said they were exactly the same. He’s having trouble doing bodyweight chinups for reps. As you stated yourself, the same muscles are used on the same plain to pull down the cable that are used to pull your body up to a bar. If you strengthen the those muscles with pulldowns your pull-ups/chin-ups will improve. I wasn’t implying that he should give up pullups/chin-ups [/quote]

Yeah, but pull ups and pull downs aren’t the same. Don’t you get it?

The differences in muscles are not major. The prime movers are the same; back and biceps, but a lot of the supporting muscles are different.

People tend to use a lot of legs and abs in their pulldowns, where if your doing strict pullups, this is not possible.

And just because an exercise works the same muscles, doesn’t mean it will make you better at the other exercise.

IMO if the OP wants to get better at chinups, and isn’t doing this to just build muscle, then he should only be doing chinups.

He can do BW for lower rep sets, and do negatives or jumping chinups for higher rep sets.

I think the reason you see so many people in the gym that cant do proper pullups, is that they just assume lat pulldowns are as good or even better, and never take the time to practice the pullup.

Oh and to the poster above, you said pullups were open chain, and caused more anabolic hormones to be released. Did you mean closed chain? I could see this being true, although I doubt its a significant difference.

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
jstreet0204 wrote:
JJ wrote:

Pullups are different, open chain exercises produce more of an anabolic hormonal response.

I dont think that chins and pulldowns are different kinetically though.

I like both. If i am doing back first i use pullups - if i do back after a bodypart such as legs (like at the moment) i like pulldowns.

JJ

Did I give someone the impression that I need a technical lesson to this question :slight_smile: I know they are different I never said they were exactly the same. He’s having trouble doing bodyweight chinups for reps. As you stated yourself, the same muscles are used on the same plain to pull down the cable that are used to pull your body up to a bar. If you strengthen the those muscles with pulldowns your pull-ups/chin-ups will improve. I wasn’t implying that he should give up pullups/chin-ups

Yeah, but pull ups and pull downs aren’t the same. Don’t you get it?[/quote]

Maybe I missed that. Hopefully someone will write an article about the differences so I will know exactly what all the physiological processes involved are, or maybe I could just keep doing what I’m doing and lift heavy stuff.