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Zeb's Post on Chinups?


Could someone help me find the thread that Zeb started about improving chinups? I can't remember the name of the thread, so searching hasn't helped me much.

All that I remember is that it's rather lengthly lol.


i once heard that zeb killed anybody who PMed him asking for chinup advice.

P.S. http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=404137


When you are finished reading the post PM me if you have any questions. Of course I'll have to kill you after I answer your questions, but for the short time you are alive you will have been enlightened :slightly_smiling:

All kidding aside I have some new techniques I'll share with you when you PM me.


Can you maybe share the knowledge to everyone? This is pretty important to me being in the Marine Corps, it's one of three scored physical requirements that goes toward promotion points.


ZEB, I'd love to hear about your new techniques. I've worked my way from 0 to 4-5 consecutive chinups and want to get to 10...


Just a couple of quick things and then I'm off to play video games with my son.

  1. Body fat is even more important than I originally suggested (and I always thought it was important). I finally hit 40 straight reps by dropping my body fat to 8% (actually a tad below that). Body fat is simply dead weight which will hold you back in a big way with one high rep set. I was stuck at 35 for what seemed like forever because I was carrying just a few pounds of fat that I should not have been.

  2. Don't mess around with any weight at all (if you are attempting to perform one high rep set) until you can do at least 12 to 15 reps.

  3. I have noted that resting longer between sets yields better long term results. Do the sets as prescribed in my post, but rest at least 3:00 to 4:00 minutes between them. Remember this is not hypertrophy training, don't treat it as such.

  4. I have also used band training to my benefit training for higher rep sets. Use bands or negatives-Don't use them both in the same workout.

  5. I want to confirm that nothing helps someone who is having a difficult time at the top part of the movement like partial negatives from the bar slowly going down half way than exploding back up to the bar. Don't over do these, two sets seems to work fine.

  6. Train Chin-ups first in your protocol and train them three times per week! This is something that has not changed. You will always make better progress training them three times per week with a day or two rest in between.

There are a few other things, but I have to run....



Would it hurt to also do some curling during the wk if doing chins 3xwk? Im thinking of doing chins mon,wed,fri and doing an arm workout on friday after pullups with the weekend off. Any suggestions?



Congrats on the progress!


Actually, supplemental exercises are a whole other subject!

As to Barbell Curls, I think they can help you if performed correctly. How many times have you seen guys in the Gym working with a weight that's just to heavy for them? They then throw the entire upper body into the movement thus nullifying all the good.

I like strict Barbell Curls. In fact, if you don't trust yourself put your back against a wall, or post so that you won't be using upper body momentum instead of Bicep strength. Since you are not allowed to use any momentum when performing dead hang Chin-ups why use it when you train the biceps with other movements?

Depending on the schedule that I'm on I like four sets of Barbell curls always performed after your Chin-ups. I never go below 8 reps and on my last set I sometimes go as high as 15 or 20 reps. It might look like this: 8-8-8-20 (or some other similar variation). I am pushing the biceps on the last set (I drop the weight naturally) in order to completly fatigue them and get them used to performing while flush with lactic acid. The other sets are strength builders. Again, it depends on my schedule.

I also like close grip Chin-ups as a supplementary movement to regular dead hang Chin-ups. Place your hands on the bar so that they are no more than 6" apart. If you have never done this type of Chin-up you are in for a real treat (wink). It feels quite awkward at first because you are more or less shutting down the powerful back muscles in particularly the Latissimus Dorsi. It's you and your biceps!

If you are not used to this movement it will be quite challenging at first. But, as you get better at it you will see your normal (hand spacing) Chin-ups go through the roof in terms of reps!

These can be intense so I don't recommend that you perform any more than two sets at the end of your normal Chin routine. Make sure you rest a good 4:00 or so before taking them on. In fact, sometimes I will do them as the last two sets in my workout. Stop one or two reps short of failure. If you can only do one or two reps use a colored band to assist you.

There are other good supplemental movements, the two above are obviously just focused on the biceps.


I'm in your boat on this. I can't wait to get to 10

again, thanks for all the info, Zeb


I've recently become one of the guys putting his whole upper back into bicep curls. I've added a couple of sets of cheat curls to my program.

I don't think it 'nullifies all the good', my muscles still have to lift the weight, but it does change the focus of the exercise.

Where it becomes wrong is when the trainer believes they're actually doing bicep curls.


I would even suggest you SHOULD be cheating. I like to go strict for a heavy set and then try to match those reps subsequuently with strict reps followed by as many cheaters as necessary.

Follow it up with some lighter hammers for a clean set of 5-10 and your gold.



Thanks for the bicep advice. On the curls or close grip chins, do you do some type of bicep movement after chins on all 3 days? Thanks!


Only during the "intensive" part of my training schedule. This might be 4 weeks away from peaking. Otherwise, I only do them maybe one day per week. If I do perform them three times per week during my regular schedule I will cut back on my Chins. There has to be balance or there will be burnout and or injury. At least in my case, I suppose everyone is different.


Hold a frozen bottle of water (commonly known as ice) for 5 minutes between sets and see if it helps with the recovery. I found that it reduced the drop-off in the following sets.



Do you simply hold the ice in both hands or do you "ice massage" the effected areas?