T Nation

How to Break Sticking Point in Chin-Up?


Last week I went for a 1.5xBW chinup which would've been a PR. I didn't quite make it, getting about 3/4 of the way up. So my questions are: what is my weakness in the chinup, and how do I get past my sticking point?

Thanks for any help.


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Uh, that didn't help.


try some full rom rows?


the top quarter is always gonna be the hardest for most people. Probably just too much weight simply.


I've been doing rows in the 5x5 program I'm on and have managed to bump up my PR a few lbs. But if you think they'll help I'll hit them harder.

What is the failing muscle in the top quarter - the biceps?


I'm no expert in biomechanics but it seems to me like it would be biceps and mid-upper back (rhomboids, lower traps, etc.)

wait now that i think of it we need to define chin up. I'm thinking of a pronated, wide grip. supinated close grip is another story (i call these pull ups).


Actually, that's backwards. Close supinated grip = chinups.


perhaps try to push your head back could help.
as if you are trying to do dorian yates barbell row with the chin bar ...


Get your speed up. Next time you do BW chins, do them all from a dead hang and explode out of the bottom.


Chins against bands. Overload the top for a little while. Or against bands with weight. For example I sometimes use a dip belt with weight on it and then attach bands to my lifting belt from the safety pins in the power rack and then do my chin ups.


I would try heavy iso holds and eccentrics. Honestly I have no idea if that would work though.


I did a few weeks of super heavy horizontal shrugs with a strap one handed and my lockout improved a lot.

Basically, a chest supported shrug with the upper body parallel to the ground one handed, I used about 160lbs for sets of 10-15and shrugged the weight back and down towards my lower body. It overloads the mid trap and low trap almost completely and fully. My low traps have really filled out from it. I was doing them to be able to set up a shirt bench easier.


Ohh lol sorry, I read that as a BW pullup. As in a single pull up






I heard forearm strength is implicated in top portion - possibly read about this in discussion forum for TIm Henriques latest article


Do heavy dips and/or shoulder presses before your attempts. Opposing muscles.


after you burn out on strict form go ahead and knock out some with a kip


Try out some single rep chins held in the contracted position for a TUL ( time under load ) of around 30 sec then fight the negative to conclusion ( x 1 weekly only ) , then try increasing by 2.5 - 5 lbs per week over some 6 weeks , Im sure you will se a difference. The single rep allows full concentration and effort.
I tried this over a 6 week workout programme and documented my results by video ( you tube ... see below ) and I increased/doubled my chins from 50 lb - 110 lb for similar TUL ( 45 sec )

All said/done if you do not allow for suffice recovery from any exercise regime then progress will be non existant , after many years of training ( now age 45 ) I know that I can only train a particular lift ( & any musculature involved in that lift ) every 9 days , otherwise I see regression in resistance and/or reps.

video; Week 6


       Week 3


       Week 1


Best wishes , T.