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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 June 26, 2019

I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: at this time years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you having trouble getting to sleep, go and

2. Eat Healthily

I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

3. Write It All Down

Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

5. Get Some Exercise

This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

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Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

6. Treat Yourself

Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

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Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

8. Dance

Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

9. Get Organized

A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

10. Pay It Forward

Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

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Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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