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Simple Methods To Improve At Chinups and Pullups Exercises

Updated on July 22, 2014

So you’re looking at becoming better at pull-ups or chin-ups? These two exercises are no joke, and can not only be extremely tough but may lead to you getting an injury if your not careful. You probably feel like many people do trying to perform these exercises and are barely able to perform 1 to 3 repetitions. So how can you get better at something that you can’t even do enough of to get better at it? Well below are multiple ways to help you get better at pull-ups and chin-ups.

Different ways to get better at Chin Ups & Pull Ups

Partner assisted – Well trying to perform a chin up have your leg bent so your partner is able to assist you easier by placing their hands underneath and helping your through the motion. Continue to do as many reps as you can until it gets to a point where your partner is doing most of the work at that point then stop, breath, and try again when ready.

Partner Count Ups - This one is technically for people who are able to perform some pull-ups however it can still be adapted for beginner types. Begin by performing 1 chin up or pullup, then your partner does 1. Next you perform 2 repetitions, then once again you stop and your partner performs 2. You keep advancing up by one until you or your partner are unable to continue and that’s when you start all over.


Use a plyometric box - You can also use a stool or chair for this exercise, just insure that it is safe and solid frame. Begin by standing on the box and grab on to the pull up bar. Then keep only one leg on the stand or box. Perform pull-ups but use the stand to help assist as you pull up by pressing through your heels at the same time. This allows your leg muscles to act as a partner and assist your weaker upper body muscles to perform the exercise.

Jump and hold – As silly as this might sound, for many its the first pull up that is the problem. By increasing their grip strength and ability to be able to hold on to the bar, can really improve technique. All you do is jump up and grab on to the bar. Then you just breathe and hold on for dear life as long as possible.

Body Weight Rows (One of the best videos)

Build Up Back Muscles - Of course doing any back exercises such as bent over barbell rows will help your back develop. However performing body weight rows using a bar, Leibert system, or similar really helps you get used to using your body weight. See video to the right for more explanation.

Just Do Chin Ups Instead - Pull ups are harder than chin ups for many people. If you are one of those people, then why bother trying to do pull ups when you are struggling on chin ups? Stick to what you can do and progress slowly and safely.

Using Assist Machine

Use Momentum - Don't be afraid to use momentum to help you get up and perform multiple reps. The main goal is to get better and sometimes using momentum may be just what you need at the start to help you at first.

Assisted Machine

- These are those nice machines that many gyms have and not many people care to use. They allow you to increase the amount of weight your reduced by. For example if you weight 200 pounds and you put the pin at 100 pounds. You are now only doing a pull up or chin up as if you were 100 pounds in weight. A video showing a lady performing a lift on a assistance machine to the right.

Hand Position - Lastly nothing beats mixing up your hand position. Maybe on your first repetition you do with palms facing you and doing a chin up. Next you perform a pullup, then again with a wider grip.

Stay Positive! Age, gender, and weight are generally not a reason to be unable to get better at performing either chin-ups or pullups. Like anything the more you work on it and practice, the better you become at it.


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