If squats are considered the king of lower body exercise, then chin ups deserve that mantle for the upper body.If there is one movement for the upper body that uses the most muscle, requires great coordination and allows you to move a large weight – it’s the chin up and its variations.First, let’s clear a few misconceptions up.What is a chin up? A chin up is the movement of pulling your body from a hang position on to clearing your chin above the bar you are hanging from with a neutral or supinated (underhand) grip. A pull up, is the same variation, but with a pronated (or overhand) grip.The beauty of the chin up is the ability to pull a big load over a large range of motion. Hypertrophy, or muscle growth, can be expressed as the load you use multiplied by the amount of total reps you perform. In the case of the chin up, the load we use is usually greater than any other upper body movement. In our gym, it’s not uncommon to see males performing strict chin ups with up to 50% of their bodyweight attached by a weight belt.Now that we know what a good chin up is, what are the best ways to improve chin up performance?
The chin up is an anomaly within upper body exercises in that the drop off in performance between sets can be incredibly large. For example, even with adequate rest, it is not uncommon to see the amount of good form repetitions, from from; 10,7, 4,2,1 even with adequate rest between sets.
So how do we counteract this? If we are looking to increase the number of repetitions you can perform, let’s say from 6 to 10, I am a fan of using a large amount of sets, with low number of repetitions, leaving reps in the tank. For example, if you can do 6 chin ups in a row, you could do a workout of the following;
10 sets of 3 repetitions with minimum 120seconds rest between sets.
The following workout you would strive to achieve 10 sets of 4 repetitions. If you cannot, continue onto the next workout and attempt 10 sets of 4 repetitions. If you can, in the next workout strive to achieve 10 sets of 5 and so on and so forth. When you can achieve 10 sets of 6 repetitions, your chin up ability for a single set should have gone up to 12.
Another way you can do things is set a target of 30 total reps and try to get them in the minimum amount of time possible. This is density training; you are getting more done in a lesser amount of time. This was a favorite style of training for Egyptian weightlifters in the early part of the 20thcentury.
Now you may ask, what if you cannot get a single chin up, and your goals is to gain enough strength to achieve a proper, full range chin? Some trainers will use bands to assist the trainee, but the bands provide the biggest help at the bottom of the movement, which is actually where you are strongest in the movement, at the top, where you are weakest, the tension from the band is smallest. This is far from optimal.
Enter negative only reps. By stepping off a box set at the top height for a chin up, and lowering, or shall we say resisting, as slow as possible, we can train the chin up. If you can only lower yourself for 5 seconds, it doesn’t matter, we all start somewhere. With this method of training, I like to see a minimum 5 sets of lowering yourself, separated by 180-240 seconds rest (you can us this rest interval to perform a set for opposing muscle groups, like the triceps or any sort of press). The aim here is to be able to perform a lowering that takes 30s from chin over the bar to full hang. Once you can achieve this, you can start adding a small increment of weight, either in the form of a dumbbell between the legs, or a plate attached to a belt. Once you can perform a 30 sec lowering with an additional 10% of your body weight, you will be able to get your first chin up!
I cannot recommend or speak highly enough of Tim and his team at Bodyseek Personal Training, they are quite literally beyond compare!
Tim's knowledge and execution of training, nutrition, and supplement programs to suit a person’s age, background and lifestyle, and secure amazing results, is brilliant.
As is the case with anything somewhat difficult to attain, a fair amount of grit and determination are required from yourself as an individual, but to have the support of Tim and his team maximises every minute spent in the gym, every meal decision made, and ensures profound results..
Sick of all the advice so called 'people in the know' bang on about yet leaves you without a result? Give the guys at Bodyseek Personal Training a call and see what makes them so different.
Have never been fitter, healthier, or happier in my life as I am now, and I am well into my fifties..
TeamMates / TMA ClubJan 2023
I have been attending Bodyseek for 6 months. The gym has excellent equipment and is very clean and well maintained. I have been training with Lucas since joining and I have benefited from his rehabilitation knowledge and training expertise in that time. I arrived with a number of issues with my knees and walked with a limp and was in varying degrees of pain most days. Lucas has built a progressive training plan for me focusing on building the strength stability and mobility of my knees and overall body strength and we have achieved great results. My mobility and movement have improved noticeably. I look forward to continuing my journey with the Bodyseek team.
Jacqui VDec 2022
Personal training with Lucas is as elite as it can get. You’re provided with knowledge about the specifics of what you’re training to prevent injury, gain strength and nutrition on your wellness journey. Definitely moneys worth.
Helen PanayiNov 2022
Awesome place to train great facilities and coaches Lucas Lim is an amazing coach very professional.
Stephen MorrisNov 2022
Chris is a wonderful coach he always pushes me to do better. The whole team have become like family a great fun and supportive environment to work towards your fitness goals.
Ange SNov 2022
If you want to change your life around through wellness one can't look past Chris and Bodyseek. I could write in detail how great the work and ability for transformation to positively effect all facets of one's life but I can't recommend Chris and the work from Bodyseek enough so I'm encouraging anyone reading this review to try them and see it for yourself. It's no run of the mill gym or programme. The service here is completely personal where you're made to feel a part of the team and the results can be incredible if you're willing to put the work in.
Chochy KileenNov 2022
Joining BodySeek almost six months ago is one of the best decisions I've made this year. BodySeek provides a highly personalised and professional personal training service.
I had never stepped foot in a gym prior to BodySeek and so was somewhat apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. However, the process to date has been seamless and transformational for my physical and mental health. Joining is easy and the gym is well-equipped, private and low pressure (but high intensity!).
My trainer, Kevin, is a legend. He's fantastic at inducting new people to the gym and made an amateur like me feel completely comfortable learning and growing throughout the initial 12-week programme. I also did one session with Jack when Kevin was away and he was also excellent and insightful - the amount you can learn from these guys is immense! I have ended up staying on as I've enjoyed it so much. I've made great progress and I'm looking forward to continuing!
Nic PopeOct 2022
Both Kevin and Tim (the owner), are invested in your progress and success. I've found them to be available and highly knowledgeable and have learnt a lot about technique, physical fitness and nutrition.
Tim has a real focus on excellence and ensuring that BodySeek delivers a best-in-class training service. If you're looking for a personalised PT & gym I recommend giving them a go!
Nic PopeOct 2022
Best decision to join Bodyseek six months ago!! Very professional group of trainers. I was so apprehensive about getting a PT for years… but Kevin is an absolute legend, he’s helped me get through the initial challenges and to a stage where I actually quite like training and want to do even better (and so I have added an extra session!) Tim the owner is super knowledgeable and will help you stay on track and supported with any overall life and nutrition changes needed so that you can achieve something sustainable 🙂
Alison ClarkeOct 2022
I am so glad that I chose Bodyseek when I was looking for help to strengthen my bad back, lose some weight and sort out my bad eating and drinking habits.
I had never had a personal trainer before, but I believe it's worth the money for the attention that you get.
My trainer Kevin has pushed me way beyond any limit that I thought I could do, while teaching me good technique to avoid injury.
Tim is fantastic with sorting out nutrition and is incredibly knowledgeable with supporting any health issues.
I have enjoyed it so much that I have just completed my 12 week block and have stayed on for another round. That says a lot because I'm not a 'gym person'.
I'm loving how strong I am becoming and my over 50's body is going to look awesome this summer!
Cyndi BriggsOct 2022
1 train 3 days a week with Dasha l love how she challenges me to do better and because of her help l am keeping up my Flexibility and mobility which is so important as you get older without my training l would struggle day to day.