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Programming Chin Ups

I’m currently dealing with a lower back ijnury, going on 4 months now. Long story short I’m basically going through my program (bastardized 5/3/1 due to injury) and picking some things to focus on to improve. I’m gonna end up doing an upper body hypertorphy based training phase while this injury sorts itself out (derailing from my typical strength oriented goals).

So I’ve decided I need to focus on my chin ups, I’ve been stuck at 3 sets of 8 reps for quite some time now. I’m basically wondering if there’s another way to program these instead of just going in and doing 3 sets of 8 reps twice a week. Some tricks to get these to imporove (low rep/ high rep days etc). I would appreciate the input.

Also on a side note any good ideas on how to hit the traps with a shot lower back? Deadlifts were doing wonders for me but now I"m wondering if chins/ inverted rows will build the area as well.

I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.

Yeah. Instead of doing 3 sets of an 8 rep max, do 6 to 8 sets of 4 reps and build up more total reps over time. Then some day and see how much you can max out on reps.

[quote]kakno wrote:
I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.[/quote]

How did you program this? Prior to 5/3/1 deadlift?

[quote]baugust wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:
I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.[/quote]

How did you program this? Prior to 5/3/1 deadlift?[/quote]
Split was: vertical pull, vertical push, deads, horizontal pull, horizontal push, legs
Just plugged my max + bodyweight into the 531 matrix and used that for progression on pullup days.

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]baugust wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:
I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.[/quote]

How did you program this? Prior to 5/3/1 deadlift?[/quote]
Split was: vertical pull, vertical push, deads, horizontal pull, horizontal push, legs
Just plugged my max + bodyweight into the 531 matrix and used that for progression on pullup days.

[/quote]

6 day split? Were you using 5/3/1 for a main lift every day or just for chin ups?

[quote]kakno wrote:
I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.[/quote]

that’s something I’ve been meaning to try for years

[quote]kakno wrote:
Just plugged my max + bodyweight into the 531 matrix and used that for progression on pullup days.[/quote]
This is critical. Don’t be a noob like me and try to plug in the weight on the belt, otherwise your 5+ sets will be awfully close to your 1+ sets.

The trick I used to improve my chin-up was choosing an arbitrary number (somewhere between 20-40, depending on the # of chin-ups I can actually do a set), and just getting there in X number of sets.

I first chose 20 total reps, 2 rep/set. Then 3 rep/set when I felt comfortable with 2 rep/set, and so on and so forth. When I was able to do 5 or so chin-up without issue, I increased that to 30 chin-ups. When I was able to do 8 or so chin-ups with no issue, I increased the total to 40.

The key for me was to undershoot and do lower reps than I actually could. That way I can complete the all the reps instead of getting tired halfway through and start having shitty chin form. Shitty form is for the last 2 sets, where you’ll probably be grinding reps out.

Got to 12 rep chin-ups when I decided to completely redo my chin-ups and start doing full ROM ones instead of my previous ones, which was about a 1/4 of a way short of being full ROM.

As for traps- I really have no idea, but wouldn’t a very wide-grip pull/chin emphasize the traps more?

If you train Pullups/Chinups twice a week you could do this:

Day 1: Weighted Pullups/Chinups: 6x5 + xtra weight.
Example:
set 1: 5 x bw.
set 2: 5 x bw + 5kg.
set 3: 5 x bw + 10kg.
set 4: 5 x bw + 15kg.
set 5: 3 x bw + 20kg. ( you failed at rep 4 )
set 6: 5 x bw.

Day 2: Pullups/Chinups for reps. ( goal 3 x 10 )
Example:
Set 1: 10 x bw.
set 2: 8 x bw.
set 3: 6 x bw.
( Eventually you will hit 10 reps on each set )

Just an Idea.

Not to long ago i decided to get good at pull ups, mostly because i followed the athletic fitness epidemic here in Sweden (and we have a world champion at the gym so its kinda easy to get the AF-fever).

Anyway i mixed some tips you already have here in this thread. The key is to work it kinda like the Squat, deadlift or the bench. 2-3 times a week and mix high/low rep, fail/non-fail etc.

I did this and it worked great. Going to jump back on that program next week.

Day1:
Max reps x 5. 3 min rest.

Day 3:
3-5reps x 5. Or lower the weight and stay 1-2 reps from fail and do 8 sets. 3 min rest. Warm up really well and just do a set of 3-5 reps, you should be 1 rep from total fail here. Stay in the 3-5 reps. This is where you build max strenght (you need it so far).

Day 5:
4reps x 10 sets. 2 min rest. Perfect form here. Add reps every week till you hit fail on the last rep (fail=not perfect form for this workout).

The first set on day 1 is the most important. This is your tracker. Like a powerlifter tracks his total. If this dosent move you need to change w/e it is you are doing.

I like to do my chins reverse pyramid style. After I warm up, I do my first work set of weighted chins shooting for 4-6 reps. Then I reduce the weight and go for 5-7 more. I then do AMRAP with body weight. After weighted chins the body-weight chins feel quite easy. Did 12 last week.

As far as weighted pull-ups go, florelius suggestion looks interesting, but I have no fvcking idea what a kg is. I do something similar, but different. Starts at 15 lbs, weighted, 3 rep sets. I ramp up at 5lb increments until I cants do no more. I then busts out some spinach, cause I’m strong to the finish, and I keeps adding weight in 5 lb increments doing sets of 2 with one forced rep until 2 reps are no longer feasible. From there, I jump 10 lbs and do a single with one forced rep. On the lighter sets you can add reps, but I generally opt to concentrate on the movement/burn as the different muscles get engaged on the descent.

^
5kg = roughly 10 pounds.

10kg = roughly 25 pounds.

20kg = roughly 45 pounds.

45kg = roughly 100 pounds.

60kg = roughly 135 pounds.

90kg = roughly 200 pounds.

100kg = roughly 225 pounds.

Definitely check out one of Chad Waterbury’s articles on here about them.
3 tips that helped me out personally was 1- Isometric holds at the top portion, also Isometric holds at the bottom, just def at the bottom use a suicide 4 fingered grip. 2 Doing chin ups almost every day, high frequency for strength gains. 3. Working the angles haha

Thanks guys, thers a ton of information on here so I’ll have to dig through and see what I’ll use. I’ll def check out Waterbury’s articles on them. Also I did 6 sets of 4 instead of the usual 3x8, felt much easier so I may reduce the rest between sets cause it was almost as long as I normally rest.

However, each and every one of those chin ups was perfect form, not like the usual where the last couple of each set are pretty rough. In that regard I think that this approach may be quite beneficial. I want to do weighted chins but I am only doing reps with bw, isn’t that a bit early to start loading?

On a side note I’ve been looking over Bruno’s articles on blast straps for quite some time now. I decided to try the TRX at my gym, and although I was first skeptical I’ve fallen in love with inverted rows. They are brutal. Push ups I need to figure out more cause they chafe my arms, but I went ahead and bought some blast straps. I’m pretty excited to start using them, seeing how they are easy on the nervous system they can be trained quite hard and often, something I’m pretty fond of.

[quote]baugust wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:

[quote]baugust wrote:

[quote]kakno wrote:
I used the 531 template on weighted chinups and really liked it.[/quote]

How did you program this? Prior to 5/3/1 deadlift?[/quote]
Split was: vertical pull, vertical push, deads, horizontal pull, horizontal push, legs
Just plugged my max + bodyweight into the 531 matrix and used that for progression on pullup days.

[/quote]

6 day split? Were you using 5/3/1 for a main lift every day or just for chin ups?[/quote]
Rest days when needed, usually 1-2 per week.

I used it for my main lift every day.

I thought people don’t recommend weighted chin/pulls until you can do 10-11 without any problem?

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
Thanks guys, thers a ton of information on here so I’ll have to dig through and see what I’ll use. I’ll def check out Waterbury’s articles on them. Also I did 6 sets of 4 instead of the usual 3x8, felt much easier so I may reduce the rest between sets cause it was almost as long as I normally rest.

However, each and every one of those chin ups was perfect form, not like the usual where the last couple of each set are pretty rough. In that regard I think that this approach may be quite beneficial. I want to do weighted chins but I am only doing reps with bw, isn’t that a bit early to start loading? [/quote]

Definitely try isometric holds at the top of the lift. For example, 1 rep but at the top hold for 20 seconds. Rest 1 minute and do another 20 second hold. Do numerous sets until you have trouble holding for 12-15 seconds (depending on where you start that is) I use a 5-8 second drop to determine when to cut the set.