PDA

View Full Version : Chin-ups



Susan Otcenas
11-25-2013, 10:00 AM
I'm curious to know how many women here can do a chin up. I'm betting Veronica can. Anyone else?

I've been using a personal trainer since January, with a special focus on core and upper body strength. He tested me quite a bit to start, to determine my strengths and weaknesses. Let's just say I had far more weaknesses than strengths! :o

The facility I use does not believe in machines. Everything is free weights and body weight based. I, of course, could barely hang from the chin up bar, much less get any movement trying to do a chin up. Nor could I get any upward movement when hanging from the bar with my feet braced against the wall.

So, he started me with a bench to stand on under the bar. I would pull up as much as I could, using my legs to do what my arms couldn't. Of course, it's easy to cheat like this, but I always gave it my all, getting to muscle failure in 4 or 5 reps. :o

But each workout, I would start by bracing my feet against the wall, just to see what would happen, and little by little, slowly but surely, over time I started to see some bend in my elbows. Progress!

A few weeks ago, I FINALLY managed to do a chin-up with my feet braced against the wall. WOOT! The next week I did two. :-)

Now the bench is gone. It's been replaced by a stretchy rubber strap. I dead hang from the bar, pull up, and the strap provides extra lift. I'm still using the thick strap (more lift). There's a thinner strap but I can't pull all the way up with that one yet, though I can get a little bend. I look forward to graduating to the thin strap in the next few months.

SOME DAY, I am going to do a chin-up. All on my own. It might take me another year, but dang it, I'm determined to be able to do it eventually. Losing some weight would help, of course, but in the meantime I'm considering it extra resistance training... :o

So, show of hands - can YOU do a chin-up?

solobiker
11-25-2013, 10:33 AM
A few years ago I could do several...back in my rock climbing days. I even go to the point where I could do them just using my finger tips on the bar vs a whole hand grip. Keep it up and you will get there. :-)

lph
11-25-2013, 11:27 AM
I've always been able to do them, palms away, even before I started rock climbing. But then I'd been riding racehorses for several years, and could on request produce quite an impressive "bull's neck" :-)

I think it's a mix of technique, static and dynamic strength, and having short arms helps!

Susan Otcenas
11-25-2013, 11:51 AM
I haven't even tried palms away. I do them palms facing me. I'm under the impression that palms away is more difficult, as it uses more triceps...

GLC1968
11-25-2013, 01:38 PM
I could do a set of them with the light band assisting me last spring (crossfit). I was almost at my heaviest back then.

I haven't tried lately, but I am fairly certain I could do at least one now (30 lbs lighter makes a HUGE difference!). Now you've got me wondering...

Congrats on your truly wonderful progress, Susan!

ny biker
11-25-2013, 02:08 PM
Back around 1990 I had a chin-up bar in my apartment in Chicago. I probably could only do a few at a time back then. I don't think I've tried to do one since then.

I won't see my trainer again until Dec 5. I'll try to remember to mention it to him and see if I can do any then. That way we can both laugh about it if I can't do one (rather than just looking silly by trying and failing when I'm working out by myself.) :D

Thorn
11-25-2013, 02:49 PM
Never been able to do one.

Last month I installed a chin up bar and, from your description, am where you were. I've thought this quest for a chin-up a fools errand, but you've just motivated me to keep trying.

Hoping to do my first chin-up ever by 60!

Susan Otcenas
11-25-2013, 02:58 PM
Never been able to do one.

Last month I installed a chin up bar and, from your description, am where you were. I've thought this quest for a chin-up a fools errand, but you've just motivated me to keep trying.

Hoping to do my first chin-up ever by 60!

Thorn, I've never been able to do one either. Well, at least not since I was knee high...

I DO think it's possible, though like lph said it's a mix of technique, strength and body type. I'd like to install a chin up bar. And a TRX! Just need to find some space...

Catrin
11-25-2013, 03:48 PM
I've a Jungle Gym, which is like a TRX. I actually prefer it to the TRX and it is half the price :)

I am allowed to do chin-ups (palms facing me) with bands occasionally and they are much easier than pull-ups (palms away). I've a recalcitrant shoulder problem that IS slowly improving :) We do have to be very careful with it however. I hope to someday be able to do chin-ups without assistance.

Veronica
11-25-2013, 03:57 PM
I can do a few chin ups unassisted. Pull ups I do with a band now and occasionally jumping up. I found the motion very unnatural at first and jumping up seemed to help train my body to do what I wanted.

Veronica

Catrin
11-25-2013, 04:05 PM
I can do a few chin ups unassisted. Pull ups I do with a band now and occasionally jumping up. I found the motion very unnatural at first and jumping up seemed to help train my body to do what I wanted.

Veronica

Our coach sometimes has us do jumping pullups without the band. Sometimes we are doing what he calls "resisted" pullups where the idea is to jump up to grab the bar, and then resist the downward movement that naturally comes. Some of my team-mates are pretty good at this - I get to do other things as he doesn't allow me to attempt it :o But part of why I pay him is to avoid injury and I have to make myself to remember that sometimes.

Dogmama
11-25-2013, 06:22 PM
I can do 1.5 with palms facing each other. For me, that's the easiest way. (.5 = I can get halfway up :p)

yellow
11-25-2013, 06:58 PM
Palms away, easy for me with my big lats and short arms. I have a harder time with palms facing, though. I have a bar in the backyard but I haven't been doing pull-ups lately due to some rotator cuff tendinopathy and a SLAP tear :-( I hope to get back at it by summer (I am thinking I will have the SLAP tear repaired in January, maybe). Before all the shoulder goofiness, I would try to do 5-10 at least a few times a week.

Once upon a time I could do muscle ups, too (on rings, not a bar). Once you can do a strong pull up, a muscle up is largely technique. Maybe someday I'll get back there.

roo4
11-26-2013, 05:32 AM
Nope. :( We have an assisted chin/dip machine in the basement. I still have to get an assist.

skhill
11-26-2013, 07:24 AM
I try to stop by the playground weekly to make sure I can still do a chin-up; last week, it was one. But I was wearing heavy boots and a coat so I'm counting it as 2! I could do a pull-up last winter, but I end up only doing much strength training in the winter so I can't right now (but maybe in a month).

(my dog looks at me like I'm nuts when I tell her to wait patiently when interrupting her walk so I can do a chin-up, how's my upper body strength going to help her catch a squirrel after all?)

GLC1968
11-26-2013, 08:14 AM
Palms away, easy for me with my big lats and short arms. I have a harder time with palms facing, though.

I'm glad you said this, yellow! I've been trying to mentally picture which way was easiest for me and without actually trying it, I swear that palms away was easier. I also have big lats and short arms...so maybe that's why? My triceps are also significantly stronger than my biceps, so I'm sure that helps too.

OK, good. I thought I was starting to lose my memory! ;)

Veronica
11-26-2013, 08:40 AM
It makes sense that being shorter would be easier. When I do walking lunges, I wish I were taller because it's always a set distance, not reps. When I do pull-ups, I wish I was lighter. :D

Veronica

Catrin
11-26-2013, 02:36 PM
It makes sense that being shorter would be easier. When I do walking lunges, I wish I were taller because it's always a set distance, not reps. When I do pull-ups, I wish I was lighter. :D

Veronica

I hear you - when we do broad jumps I REALLY wish I had longer legs ;)

The last time we did pullups (and I was allowed to do them), our coach used an attachment that had our palms facing each other, and the hands were able to rotate through the movement. I know my shoulder appeared to like that version, though of course I was still standing on a resistance band for assistance.

Susan Otcenas
11-26-2013, 03:54 PM
The last time we did pullups (and I was allowed to do them), our coach used an attachment that had our palms facing each other, and the hands were able to rotate through the movement.

Yesterday my coach had me doing them hanging from the TRX straps. I started palms facing my chin (line a chin-up), by my hands naturally rotated to the palms facing each other. I guess I'm strongest that way.

Catrin
11-26-2013, 04:14 PM
Yesterday my coach had me doing them hanging from the TRX straps. I started palms facing my chin (line a chin-up), by my hands naturally rotated to the palms facing each other. I guess I'm strongest that way.

That is the normal position for the TRX, it allows the joints to rotate naturally. This is why I am generally not allowed to do this with a regular bar as this doesn't happen. From what I've been told, this is the strongest position for most. Another good way to work on this is racked TRX rows - this is done with the face beneath the anchor rather than the feet. I think this is also called "inverted" rows.

Here is a You Tube video showing the racked, or inverted, row. It is a good way to work on pullup strength and as you can see, her hands are facing each other. I didn't watch the entire thing, but from what I saw she has pretty good form. Racked rows are HARD, at least for me they are.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJyBphx6Kds

Susan Otcenas
11-26-2013, 04:50 PM
I am a pro at that Inverted/Racked Row position. Really. My trainer says rows are my greatest strength. I can do a lot of them, getting my chest up quite a bit farther than the gal in the video. But I still can't do do a chin-up. :o Still, maybe there's hope for me... :)

OakLeaf
11-26-2013, 05:01 PM
Back before I got hurt I could do five chin-ups (palms facing me), and I could also hoist myself up a 7' wall (once), which is obviously palms away.

One day I'll do them again.

I'm really thinking about trying to add in some light strap work.

ridebikeme
11-27-2013, 03:47 AM
Like many here, used to be able to do quite a few, but unfortunately that's a thing of the past. I do have a pull up bar in the shop, so that's the goal for the winter months... oops that means I should be starting NOW! LOL It might be nice to continue to have a post here over the winter months with everyones progress.... anyone interested?

Wahine
12-02-2013, 03:27 PM
I can do maybe one pull up or two by myself.

Body weight is a huge fator and limb length. the longer your limbs are the harder it is to do a pull-up, it's all about leverage.

It looks like you're making good progress Susan!

Susan Otcenas
12-12-2013, 01:34 PM
OK, so I still can't do a chin-up. BUT, this morning, I climbed the the rope hanging from the ceiling. Big thick sucker, with knots in it every, i dunno, 24 inches or so. I couldn't do that a few weeks ago. :)

TrekDianna
12-13-2013, 01:40 PM
Now I am curious to see if I can still do them. I used to be able to knock them out -- lots of them - quite easily, but that was back in my Army days. Those days are behind me.