Video Demo: Training for Chin Ups

Yes, everyone is capable of doing chins!

Chins, chin ups, pull ups, whatever you call it, this is the move that most people are scared of. But everyone can do it, all you need is the right prep.

It is considered a difficult move. Most people have a sticking point in the pull up where it feels like your body isn't able to move past it to get all the way up. This is especially common (and de-motivating) for women. You can get past it.

I've put together some tips and a set of 4 exercises that will get you ready to do your first chin up. After you've mastered one, the rest will come!


First, let's talk about form

There are three different types of grip: 

  • Supinated or “Underhand”, on a normal crossbar
  • Semi-Supinated or “Neutral”, where your fists are facing each other - you will need to use parallel bars for this
  • Pronated or “Overhand”, on a normal crossbar

When you’re starting out, you should stick with a semi-supinated grip or even supinated. Leave the pronated grip for later on.

Always remember:

Activate the pull-up by squeezing your back muscles together. 

You must to go to full hang at the bottom. This means that your arms are fully extended and you are hanging loose. This helps you learn to get past your sticking point.

Let your legs hangs loose to the knees. If you need to, bend your knees so that your feet are behind you, keeping your thighs hanging loose. Do not lift up your knees! You see lots of people with their knees up - this is NOT a real chin up.

To get a feel for the whole movement of a pull up, you can use bands to reduce the weight.


4 exercises to help you get to your FIRST chin up

1. Lat Retractions: Squeeze your back muscles together and then release. This help build up strength - 3x10 reps

2. Long Negative Chin Ups: Jump up then lower yourself back down for a full 30 seconds duration - 1x30s or 2x20s.

3. Controlled Negatives: Jump up and lower yourself down for 5 seconds duration - 3 to 5 reps

4. Weighted Negative Chin Up : Attach a weight to your waist using a belt, 5-20kg. Stand on something to start at the top and lower yourself down for 10-15 seconds duration


Check out the video for a full demo of each move and the form tips.


“How do I know when I’m ready for full chin ups?”

The 30 second negative will be your best gauge. Once you have mastered one 30 second rep and feel reasonably comfortable with the exercises in the list, nothing will stop you from smashing your first perfect chin! 


Have fun and let me know how you go!

Grace xx