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Simple Hacks To Help You Master Chin Ups & Build A Better Body

Simple Hacks To Help You Master Chin Ups & Build A Better Body

Chin ups are an exercise that we should all master. Few exercises offer as much muscle and strength building bang for the buck. Doing them properly will help you build and strengthen nearly every muscle in your upper body. They especially target your back, biceps, and shoulders. When done properly, they’ll even help you build strong, flat abs.

The only problem with chin ups is that they’re very tough to perform at first. Most men and women cannot do 1 rep properly when they first try this exercise. This, in turn leads to most people ignoring them and instead performing easier exercises like lat pull downs and barbell rows.

Don’t be one of these people. With the proper strategy and some hard work anyone can do chin ups. This article shows you how. Follow the tips in this article and you will soon be doing them with world class form.

Chin Up Progressions

Use Resistance Bands
The thing that makes chin ups so tough is that you need to be able to lift all of your body weight off the ground from a hanging position. One way to take off some of the load and make them easier is to use a resistance band.

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Resistance bands will do some of the work for you, decreasing the amount of weight you have to lift off the ground. Using them is simple too. All you need to do is tie a band to your chin up bar so that there’s a loop at the bottom. Place one of your feet in this loop and you’re set. You’ll now get the assistance you need to perform a proper chin up.

Start with the heaviest resistance band required to perform 5 chin ups with proper form. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 reps it’s time to use a lighter band. Continue with this progression until a resistance band is no longer required.

Negatives
If you don’t have access to resistance bands you can still become strong enough to do a chin up. You just have to learn to accentuate the negative.

This doesn’t mean you should become angry and say bad things about this exercise. What it means is that you need to emphasizing the negative (lowering) phase of the chin up. Doing just this part of the exercise will help you become stronger and eventually make it possible to perform a complete chin up.

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Perform this exercise by standing on a chair or bench, grabbing onto the pull up bar and raising yourself to the top position of the pull up exercise. Your chest should be even with the bar. Then, lower yourself from the top position of the pull up to the bottom for 5 seconds. Increase the amount of time you take to lower yourself by 2 seconds every workout. Do this until it takes 15 seconds to perform 1 rep. Your goal is to be able to perform 10 pull ups this way.

Once you can perform 15 second negative pull ups for 10 reps you should be able to perform at least 2-3 sets of 3-5 pull ups. Make it your goal to add at least 1 more pull up to your workout every week. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 pull ups, you can begin to add weight or perform more difficult variations.

Chin Up Assistance Exercises

Strengthening your weak points will help you master chin ups faster. The key is to perform the right exercises.

You need to focus on strengthening muscles that help you pull your body up and over the chin up bar. This means building stronger biceps, back, and shoulder muscles. The exercises that helped me become strong enough to master the chin up included farmer’s walks, kettlebell swings, and inverted rows.

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Putting It All Together

The best way to become strong enough to perform chin ups is to do them often. I recommend doing them 3 times a week with a days rest between each workout. They should be the first exercise in your workout. This will ensure that your body is rested and able to put 100% into every rep.

Below is a sample workout to help you get started. Take a day off to rest and recover between each session. Perform each exercise for 3 sets of 5-8 reps. Increase the weight when you can do 3 sets of 8 repetitions with good technique.

Workout A
Resistance Band Chin Ups
Push Ups
Kettlebell Swings
Inverted Rows
Lunges

Workout B
Negative Chin Ups
Standing Shoulder Press
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Bent Over Row
Farmers Walks

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Now you have a complete blueprint for mastering the almighty chin up. Apply the information in this article and before you know it, you too will be cranking out chin ups and be the envy of your gym.

(Photo credit: young bodybuilder training in gym via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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