How To Improve And Master Your Chin Ups
Firstly guys, in order to improve your chin ups, you need to work on building strength.
To build your strength it is important that you gradually overload your muscles and strive for progression.
So, how do you achieve this?
There are several ways… It would be best to use a mixture of the below points J
- You could perform more repetitions of a specific exercise that will build your upper body strength such as the lat pulldown or the dumbbell shoulder press (so if you usually do 12 reps, increase this to 15-20 reps)
- You could perform more sets (complete 5 instead of 3)
- You could reduce your rest between sets
- You could increase the weight lifted (Please ensure you do this at a slow and progressed pace so you do not cause any injuries. Building strength is a process that requires time and muscle adaptation).
How do you know if you are overloading your muscles?
The best way to maximise your results is by recording the weights that you lift. We highly recommend you do this to ensure you are actually lifting enough to build your strength. To monitor whether you are lifting enough, you want to ensure that on the last two reps of each set, it requires a lot of effort to push the weights up.
Repetitions suggests that you bring either a notepad OR record in your phone the weight you lifted for each exercise as well as the amount of reps, sets and the estimated rest time you had between sets. This is also a fantastic way to keep yourself motivated as you can set yourself small goals that you would like to reach.
In our personal training sessions we specifically do this for you, however it is impractical for us to record everyone’s workout load, during a group class.
Will you still see improvements if you don’t record these details?
Yes, you will as we will push you and motivate you to work hard during your sessions. However, you will find it much more motivating, fun and will experience faster and long term results if you start to record this yourself.
During our classes we vary the amount of reps during workouts. The majority of the time you will perform between 8-15 repetitions. We generally perform 2-4 sets with a rest break anywhere between 45 seconds to 2 minutes. This type of training is GREAT for increasing muscle strength, hypertrophy (growing bigger muscles) and improving your over all muscle tone.
Note: Don’t worry girls, you do not have the testosterone to pack on huge muscles. You will achieve the look of being lean, fit and strong.
How do I know when I should increase the weight I am lifting?
There are so many ways you can do this, but we recommend the following below points as it is a very easy way to track J
The prescribed workout is to perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions on the last pull down machine with a rest of 30-60 seconds between sets. (this machine is located in the upstairs section of our gym)
If you can perform 12 reps on the first two sets then increase to 14 repetitions on the next set.
If you can perform 14 reps on that last set, you should then increase the resistance lifted next time you perform that same exercise. (For example; if you lift 15 kgs, increase this to 17kg). You want to aim to increase the weight by 10% for your next work out.
Below is a description of the different types of pull ups…
So, firstly we have chin ups – commonly referred to as having palms facing back towards your face. Then there are pull-ups – over hand grip, palms facing away from body. There are also loose/neutral grip chin-ups, where your hands are facing inwards.
There are also easier options that you can use that will assist you in building the strength you require.
- You can use resistance bands
- You can use your feet or knees rather than just hanging
- You can get a partner to assist
If you are unsure about how to do any of these, don’t hesitate to ask one of our trainers as we are more than happy to assist J
Below we have listed some harder options for you..
- Grip the bar slightly wider
- Use a weight such as a belt with a plate attached or a dumbbell
What are some other practical solutions to build your strength?
The chin up predominately uses your back muscles to perform this exercise, more specifically this is your lat (latissimus dorsi) muscles.
It would be ideal if you could train this muscle 1-2 times each week. As a general rule you want to allow at least 3 days recovery between workouts as this will enable to muscles to recover and then grow in strength.
Another option would be to perform heavy lat pull downs. We consider heavy weight to be anything that is hard for you to push/pull. It does not have to be a specific number as we all have different bodies and levels in strength.
You could also start with one of the easier options of chin-ups. Self-assisted chin-ups would probably be the easiest.
Aim to perform around 8-10 repetitions. Once you are able perform 2-3 sets of this then over time you will progress by moving into either a resistance band or partner assisted chin up.
We hope you enjoyed the article, happy training J