I cant seem to get good at chin ups! Any ideas that personally worked for you?
You have two options depending on how many you can do now. If you can’t perform one rep, check out Poliquin’s Chin-Up progressions mentioned in issue 100. If you’re already doing pull-ups and chin-ups fairly easy (12 reps bodyweight) then I suggested you add weight and use lower reps. You can place a dumbbell between your feet holding with ankles or use dip belt that allows you to attach weight. I’d say keep your reps between 1-6 if you want your strength to shoot up.
Read Poliquin’s Back to Basics article. Try the negative chins. Do them first in you workout at the beginning of the week. Eliminate all other back movements until you get good at them. Pick a number of reps (Arnold style), say 50 and do as many sets as it yakes to get them. Take some BCAA’s before your workout when you plan to do chins. Just do them until it feels as if you back is going to bust and your arms are going to fall off. Those are a few things you can do to improve them, but number one is, you have to do them. DOn’t get on the pull down machine expecting to “get strong enough to do them.”
Probably the best thing I’ve found at getting better doing them is partner-assisted pull-ups or chinups. Have a partner grab your feet and push against him to help pull yourself up…then have him let you lower yourself under control…it’ll definitely get your reps up
Read the article by Poliquin in the FAQ section at t-mag called “No More Geek Back Training”. Like Charles says it will take you from “zero to hero” when it comes to chins.
Getting a single pullup can often be a seminal event for a female trainee and even for some male trainees. One sure way I have discovered to increase limit strength is thru the use of the negative, or eccentric, portion of a movement. For the pullup that would be the part where you are coming down. For a beginner you could incorporate some pure negative work into your routine perhaps 2X a month (don’t overdo it as negatives place a lot of stress on the body’s ability to recover). The method is fairly simple. Either get someone to help you or figure out a way on your own to get to the top of the movement and then lower yourself slowly under your own power. If you do it right you will feel like you are shifting the weight of the worls by the 5-6th rep.
You might try a method the Charles Staley presented is Mesomorphosis. It is a three day a week split for the targeted exercise (no need to train the biceps), and it lasts three weeks (with the fourth week for recovery/testing). First, you select a grip type (or an amount of additional weight) that allows you to complete a comfortable 6x2 at 41X0. This is the back work you do on Monday of week one. Wednesday, you go up to 6x3. Friday, back to 6x2. Monday of week two, 6x4. This jump/drop continues until reach 6x6 on Wednesday of week 3, and 6x2 of Friday. Then, take week 4 off from training (back only?), and test your chins on Thursday, using the same tempo as training. I’ve never done this cycle for chins, but I try it squats, and I went 5 reps at 305# (hey, I had just gotten back from initial entry training, and had run an average of 35 miles a week for almost six months!) to 13 at the same weight in those three weeks. This cycle works!
I found out that Handstandpushups really drive my chin ups through the roof! My guess is that the Handstandpushups work the antagonistic muscles and carry over to the pullups. Anyway, cut out chin ups for a month and focus on Handstand pushups. When you can do 10 handstandpushups try doing chin ups again. You will feel like you are flying over the bar.