The Ultimate Beginners’ Guide to Building Strength for Chin-Ups

Beginners' Guide to Building Strength

Chin-ups are one of the most difficult moves that a gym enthusiast can try out. Sure, the exercise might seem simple because of the limited range of motion, but it’s actually really hard to pull off properly. Even if they’re challenging, chin-ups are so popular because they strengthen your shoulders, abs, and biceps. 

Because of how difficult and popular they are, chin-ups have become more than an exercise–they’re a status symbol. Getting your chin above the bar means you’ve got great strength, stamina, and control. Sometimes, even athletes who are great at running and lifting will have trouble with chin-ups.  In this article, we’ll be giving you a couple of tips on getting your chin-up game on. Keep reading to see what you’ve got to do to kill it at the bar next time you head to the gym!

1. Dumbell Holds

Dumbell holds are best done with weights that are a lot heavier than you would usually lift. If you often go for eights, maybe go and try for a pair of twelves. Stand with your shoulders squared off and your feet set hip’s width apart. Hold this stance for about thirty seconds before you set the weights down and then lift them back up. Do a set of ten before resting and starting again. 

Dumbell holds to develop your core strength by helping you get used to holding a posture even with more resistance than usual. Gravity causes your shoulders and core to engage and tighten to hold the posture. This is perfect for chin-ups because it keeps your muscles tense without straining them too hard. 

2. Timed Hangs

This exercise is very elementary–literally, it will take you back to your time on the monkey bars in elementary school. Just grab onto the pull-up bar and keep your core engaged. Your legs will have a tendency to swing and this is what gives this exercise most of its resistance. Hold onto the pull-up bar and try as hard as you can to square your shoulders. Passively hanging on won’t do anything for you: think of this as holding on by engaging your shoulders. 

Try and hold onto the bar for 30 seconds before taking a break for 60 seconds and then starting again. Five rounds of these 30-second intervals are great for beginners. Once you get to a more advanced fitness level, you can go up to 10 rounds to help you improve further.

3. Scap Ups

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This next exercise is all about pulling with your shoulder blades. In a way, it’s very similar to Timed Hangs because you keep the same posture: your core has to be engaged, your shoulders squared, and your legs actively still. However, this has an added action–you have to pull your shoulder blades back as far as you can.  Imagine that you’re trying to make your shoulder blades touch. Hold on for about ten seconds and then release. Repeat the exercise 15 times for one set. 

This exercise builds your back pull muscles. One of the most common causes of injury with chin-ups is straining back muscles. Back muscles are very big muscles but they’re usually neglected. Doing scap-ups at least thrice a week can help you ensure your back is in good shape for chin-ups. 

4. Plank

A lot of people think that a plank is easy but it’s actually a very challenging exercise that a lot of people do the wrong way. When in plank position, you should make sure your core is engaged and that there is a straight line from the crown of your head down to your tailbone. Your hands should be right under the shoulders and your elbows should stay slightly bent so your muscles are engaged the whole time. Tuck your tailbone and don’t let your back dip: this makes sure your muscles work and that you avoid injury. Do a plank for a minute every day and you’ll be shocked at the results. 

5. Hollow Holds

This is a very beginner-friendly exercise: lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. Lift your torso and try to have your arms and legs meet in the middle as you raise your shoulders off the ground in a slow jack-knife motion. Do this for one set of sixty repetitions every day and you’ll be surprised at how much your strength level changes.

Becoming a master of chin-ups depends a lot on how you prepare for it. Part of that preparation isn’t just knowing which exercise to do but also where you do it. Make sure you have access to great materials and to well-equipped personal trainers. Rec Xpress Brighton is a good example of a gym that has really good staff and facilities. 

You can sign up for a membership and then have their fitness trainers suggest a good workout plan for you. You should also feel free to ask them about the different types of equipment and how to use them. This is the perfect supplement to our list of exercises for chin-ups. Remember that you should always be willing to invest a bit more on your health: train to do pull-ups and invest in your health!

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