…ways to improve your chin up performance:
- Drop your body fat. Having fat hanging around your waistline is certainly not going to help you get up to the bar. In fact, fat is not going to help you move in any direction except down. Drop your body fat percentage a few points and watch your chin up numbers go up.
- Improve your grip strength and endurance. Hanging onto the bar by your finger tips is certainly not going to help you get up to the bar. A stronger grip is going to signal more motor units to be recruited allowing you to exert more force. Improved grip endurance is going to help you add more reps on to the end of your sets.
- Strengthen your external rotators. Your external rotators might be your weakest link and you’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link. Add in some side lying, shoulder horn or cable external rotation training into your upper body work.
- Strengthen your scapula retractors. The ability to do a chin up is not just a function of arm strength. It’s also a function of being able to retract those shoulders blades. This past summer I added about 5 reps to my max number of body weight chin ups with out doing a single chin or pull up for four weeks. Instead the focus was on more horizontal pulling work. I went from doing 50 to 55….not bad huh?
- Count down. Whatever exercises you’re having a hard time with, and from what I see everyone has a hard time with chin ups, count down from the goal. For example if your set calls for 10 reps, or in my case 55, count down from 10. The mind-muscle connection here is amazing. When you’re counting up in a set, as you get towards the end all you’re thinking about is how much work you’ve done and how good that meat lovers pizza is going to taste post workout. When you’re counting down, all you’re thinking about is how much work you have left. Much more motivating.
There you go. Five tips to send your chin up numbers through the roof, literally. And no, I can not do 55 chin ups.