Chin ups and pull ups are one of the best upper body exercises of all time for strength, muscle building and fat loss when performed in a metabolic-style program. You’ll find variations of this exercise in the program design section in my book, Fat Loss Revolution. Unfortunately, many forego this strength building exercise is lieu of the lat pull down, which can have its place in an exercise program, but is nowhere near as effective as the chin up. Whenever I visit a public gym, the chin up is one of the many exercises I notice being performed with less than optimal technique and incomplete range of motion.
Back in the day when I was training clients, ALL of my male and female clients, including women in their 70s were conditioned to perform a variety of chin ups and pull ups (and, not on the assisted pull up machine). Last week, instead of working out in my own gym, I went to a public gym for my workout. After a couple of sets of chin ups, two women commented to me that they wished they could do chin ups. My response, you can and you should!
Chin ups (close grip with palms facing one another or supinated/underhand) and pull ups (pronated/overhand) can be quite challenging, especially for females. Don’t allow lack of strength, no coach or a training partner to assist you from including this big-bang exercise in your program. For a nominal investment, there are industrial elastic bands that you can include in your fitness toolbox. These bands will help assist you through a wide a range of resistance so you can perform chin ups and pull ups.
1. Loop a jumpstretch band around a chin up bar and pull it through the other end so the band is tightly secure to the bar. Use a thicker band or two or three bands to make the chin up easier and a thinner band to increase the load, and in time, no band at all.
2. Grab the bar with palms facing one another. Place one or both knees in the loop of the band and hang at arms length with arms fully extended.
3. Imagine pulling the bar toward you as you pull your body up as fast as you can. Retract and depress (squeeze and pull down) your shoulder blades as you lift your chest to the bar until your chin comes to or above the bar depending on the apparatus you’re using. Squeeze your pinky fingers on the bar and imagine drawing your elbows into your back pockets keeping your knees directly under your hips as you pull your body up.
4. Slowly lower your body to a count of 4-8 seconds until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.