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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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