How to Do a Chin-Up in Ten Easy Steps
Chin-up are one of the best exercises to develop some serious back muscles. This exercise will lead to impressive biceps as well. You will also look really cool doing them and gain instant respect from everyone in the gym. The first time I did a chin-up I felt like I was flying.
The strategy is to begin with the assisted chin-up machine, and gradually lift more of your weight by yourself. Eventually you will graduate to the unassisted chin-ups and continue to build rock solid muscles. If you just follow these ten easy steps you will achieve this goal in record time.
Meet the Assisted Chin-up/Pull-up Machine
The assisted chin-up machine must become your new best friend at the gym. This machine helps you do chin-ups by effectively reducing the amount of weight you have to lift. Contrary to other machines at the gym, a higher weight actually means it is easier. If this assisted weight was set exactly at your body weight it wouldn't take any effort, and if it was set to zero you would be doing an unassisted chin-up.
Step 1: Find the correct weight for your first set of assisted chin-ups.
Begin by choosing a weight that is close to your body weight, but a little less. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds put the pin on 90 pounds for your first set. Position yourself on your knees and do 10 slow repetitions with perfect form, all the way up and all the way down. Remember this is not a ride at Disney World so don't fly up and down quickly without putting in any effort.
Using perfect form will lead to strong muscles and the ability to do chin-ups unassisted.
Step 2: Do your second set at a weight that is more challenging.
Move the pin 10 pounds less, and do a second set of eight repetitions. If you were on 90 pounds try this set at 80 pounds. Don't forget to use perfect form.
Step 3: Now do your third set.
You guessed it! Do your third set of six repetitions at a weight that is ten pounds less than your previous set.
Step 4: Three is the number.
The magic number is three. Do 3 sets at the 3 different weights a minimum of 3 times each week. Do them every other day rather than consecutive days to give your muscles a rest.
How many chin-ups can you do?
Step 5: Challenge yourself a little more each week.
The second week start at a weight that is ten pounds lower. For example if you began with 90 pounds then on the second week do you first set at 80 pounds, the second set at 70, and the third set at 60. If you are unable to complete at least four repetitions at your new target weight (60 in this example), continue to start at the higher assist weight for the rest of the week. Each successive week you should attempt to decrease the weight by 10 pounds, but don't ever do a lower assist weight than you are able to complete with good form. Don't worry about accomplishing this in any particular time frame. Just make sure you are consistently doing the exercise three or four times a week and you will eventually make progress.
Fun Facts About Chin-Ups
- On December 29,1994 Lee Chin-Yong completed 612 consecutive chin ups. He was 69 years old.
- Jack LaLanne did 1000 chin ups in an hour to promote his fitness show at age 45.
- Chin-ups improve grip strength and work the abdominal muscles as well as the back and bicep muscles due to the required stabilization.
Step 6: Try pulling yourself off the machine.
Are you having fun yet? Once you can easily do all three sets at the lightest weight on the assisted chin-up machine, try pulling your body a little off the platform. If you can do this you are ready to try the real thing - unassisted chin-ups.
Step 7: Try your first unassisted chin-up.
Find a chin-up bar at home or in the gym, or see if your machine allows you to fold up the seat. Try just doing one chin-up and don't worry if your body swings a little. Didn't I tell you this was fun and that you would feel like you are flying?
This is perfect form.
Step 8: Focus on your form.
You should establish perfect form before you try to increase the number of chin-ups you can do. Here are requirements for good form on a chin-up:
- Your hands should be approximately shoulder-width apart.
- Cross you legs behind your back to maintain body stability and avoid that swing.
- Let yourself down until your arms are completely straight.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is slightly higher than the bar.
- Move slowly and evenly, without swinging.
Step 9: Try to increase your number of chin-ups.
Once you have mastered perfect form you can begin increasing numbers. Start by doing only one chin-up a minimum of three times a week. Again don't practice your chin-ups on consecutive days so that your muscles can rest. The following week try to do two at a time. If you can't increase to two chin-ups do only one for another week and try to do two the following week.
Step 10: Reward yourself!
Finally, reward yourself with some new clothing to show off those new muscles. Warning: you might find yourself doing spontaneous chin-ups in random places in public, just to show off! Keep practicing and enjoy the process and soon you will be doing ten consecutive chin-ups and feeling like a super hero!