Upping Your Chin-up Totals

Often you can hit a sticking point in your training. Matters not what that training is for. It can be anything from Olympic lifting and Power lifting to one max set of Chin-ups. When this occurs it’s time to get creative, and that’s what I have done in order to add more reps to my one max set of Chins! (I am sure that others have used this technique and I do not claim to have been it’s creator.)

I call this the “Swinging Bar” method. This involves hanging your Chin-up bar from the ceiling by two strong chains, one on each end. Make sure the chains are secure and cannot slip off. The bar should be able to swing back and forth safely, sort of like a trapeze.

As you perform a set of Chins you try to keep the bar as still as possible. Not as easy as it sounds. There will be a tendency for the bar to swing back and forth from the momentum of your reps. This forces you to work against your own swinging inertia. As you move along in your training cycly this will become easier.

If you can normally perform 10 repetitions. You can expect to have that reduced to the 5 to 7 range. Perform three sets of Chin-ups or Pull-ups, three times per week using this bar. When you can get back up to your normal 10 repetitions for three sets you will be ready to go back to a normal bar.

Depending on the trainee and his/her level of fitness this should take anywhere from three weeks to six weeks. When you do go back to your regular Chin-up bar you can expect to be performing up to 30% more reps. Some can do even more! that means if you are stuck at 10 reps you will catapult yourself to 13 in a relatively short period of time! If you are at 17 you can expect to be at 22 or so on the regular bar.

Just remember to not touch a regular Chin-up bar for the entire time that you are working with the swinging bar.

This one method has helped me a great deal in the past. Remember not to overuse this technique. One to three times per year is enough.

If anyone has any question regarding this technique don’t hesitate to ask!

Best Of Luck,



     Great stuff.
     Do you ever kip on your chins and pull-ups, or do you like to keep it all strict all the time?


Ross Hunt

Cool idea Zeb. Just wanted to keep this post near the top.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:

     Great stuff.
     Do you ever kip on your chins and pull-ups, or do you like to keep it all strict all the time?


Ross Hunt[/quote]


Kipping to Chin-ups is like the push press, or jerk is to the strict press. Nothing wrong with doing them either way. However, as you know when you call upon other muscles to assist you, the movement becomes easier.

The good part about kipping is that you get to use other muscles. The bad part is you have no idea how good you are at dead hang Chin-ups. My personal goal is to get to 40 dead hang Chin-ups. Therefore, while I know how to kip and have tried the technique, I will not use it!

If I did kip I would be doing around 50, or so, consecutive Chin-ups. Without the kip I am closing in on 40 (not there yet).

Personally, I like to see everyone master the basic movement prior to adding a kip. Just my take on it.