Get Up To A Chin Up: The Progression Solution

Posted: Sunday, 13 May 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: , ,

Written By Vincent St. Pierre

After learning about how to do a proper chin-up /pull-up in the last post, I am sure many of you are at the point where I can’t do any or only 1. This post is meant to teach how to progress to a proper chin-up.

As I have stated many times, any form of training that involves your body moving through space is a superior form of training. Since this is the case, I am going to work backwards through the progression. Basically, you should only go down the progression if you truly can’t maintain proper form at least three chin-ups using the suggested alternative.

1) Band assisted chin-ups
This is an amazing way of training for chin-ups. When working with men and women athletes, I implement this technique often.  It is extremely easy to progress with it and cheap. Many gyms have elastics or you can pick them up for a few bucks at your local sports and equipment store.

  • The beauty of the bands is that they come in such a variety of tensions and can be combined in various ways. 
  • Use these by looping them under your knee and perform the chin-up as normal.
  • What I do love about the bands is that if you really start curling your body, the band may slip off your leg and leave a big red mark on your face.... So don’t let your form fall apart.
  • This video demonstrates how to use them. However the form is not perfect as you can see her legs curl up a bit and the band wants to slip off. Defranco is a great coach with fantastic ideas but his athlete’s technique are often subpar. 

Here is an example and great explanation of how to use bands by Andrew Heming

2) Machine assisted Chin-ups
This allows the athletes to still be able to move the body through space. However, it removes a great deal of the stability work.

This is an easy way to train if your gym has one available. If you need more than 50% of your body weight to assist you to complete three reps, this is not the exercise for you

3) Lat pull downs
I truly do not like this machine.  It is extremely overused and the only purpose it should have in a gym is when someone is incapable of doing chin-ups
Number one thing, the same rules in performing the lat pull downs apply as doing a chin-up,
please don’t be what I like to call a “full stacker

This video is probably the worst thing you can possibly do, it is even more useless then kipping 
In fact it is so bad embedding has been disabled so check out the link

To be honest, I attempted to find a video demonstrating proper form on the internet but I couldn’t find one so I had to make my own.

There you have it. Using these three variations you are sure to be able to develop a powerful upper body and perform successful chin-ups. Continue using these variations until you can complete at least three chin-up reps with proper form without completely exhausting yourself.