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One day I want to do a chinup!

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  • One day I want to do a chinup!

    So, I haven't been able to do a chinup, or pull up (I'm not even sure what the difference is) since I was like 13. I'm 31 now, not much upper body strength. I'm female, 165 pounds.

    I can't even do a full push up. I can do about 8 intermediate pushups down to floor and back up (girl pushup with feet elevated). I've been using dumbells to work my biceps and shoulders. What else should I do to work up to a chinup?

    I can barely hang from the bar at this point, no glimmer of movement.
    How much and how often should I be working my upper body?

    When I can do like 20 full pushups, for example, will I be close to a chin up? Or are those different muscles?
    Thanks for any insight!

  • #2
    Well looks like you got you work cut out for yourself! But an excellent and worthy goal.

    First a chin up is defined by having your palms facing towards your face, this uses more bicep muscle. A pull up your palms face away from your face, the uses more muscles in your back (latissimus dorsi). They both work your arms, back and abdominal muscles, to vary degrees.

    So pull ups are somewhat challenging, especially if you can't do a single one. First thing you can start doing is an inverted row:
    How to Do Inverted Rows | StrongLifts.com

    That will start to build your arms and back up. Negative pull ups are also good:
    Cross Fitness Upper Body Exercises : How to Do a Negative Pull Up Exercise - YouTube


    But I would really start working on those pushups first, it will complement your pull up. It will work your arms, back and abs, again to varying degrees. But it's a good starting point.

    Also highly recommend you start a strength training program:
    stronglifts.com
    startingstrength.com
    "Go For Broke"
    Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
    Small Kine-168/9%
    Now- 200/8%
    Goal- 210/6%

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    • #3
      Hey there!

      My goal is to be able to do a pull-up actually, but I've looked into these things a bit. Chin-ups and pull-ups are different and work different muscles. A chin-up is actually easier than a pull-up (at least in my experience since I can actually do a few) - a chin-up is with your palms facing towards you and to me it seems that it works your biceps more. A pull-up is with palms facing away, and works more of your back muscles (among many others).

      As for what exercises to do in order to be able to do a chin-up I'm not sure. Have you tried googling chin-up progessions? I only know some progressions for pull-ups... which I can share if you're interested.
      Primal: Because I like to have my steak, and eat it too

      Current Primal Journal
      My Old Primal Journal - Surviving my summer away from home
      Food blog: Sex or Chocolate: I choose STEAK!

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      • #4
        Opps, posted at same time as Wanderlust - his advice seems pretty solid
        Primal: Because I like to have my steak, and eat it too

        Current Primal Journal
        My Old Primal Journal - Surviving my summer away from home
        Food blog: Sex or Chocolate: I choose STEAK!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, you must having been typing when I submitted. Good to see the ladies doing strength training as well.
          "Go For Broke"
          Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
          Small Kine-168/9%
          Now- 200/8%
          Goal- 210/6%

          Comment


          • #6
            The problem for a lot of women is simply the weight/strength ratio. The easiest way to get to a chinup/pullup is to have less weight to pull up.

            That said, can you use resistance bands to give you an assist with the pull up/chinup? That would be what I would normally recommend. Start with a stiff resistance band to give you a lot of help and as you make progress move to the smaller bands and eventually no band.

            I also recommend starting strength. I prefer it over strong lifts, mainly because you get much more in-depth instruction on performing the exercises, but they are both good programs.
            Last edited by PLee1980; 06-13-2012, 10:13 PM.
            SW: 12/28/11 - 190.5 @ 24% BF
            CW: 3/7/12 - 179 @ 21% BF
            GW: 155-160 @ 10% BF

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            • #7
              Forgot about those:
              Pull Up Bands | Bands for Assisted Pull Ups | Rubberbanditz.com
              "Go For Broke"
              Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
              Small Kine-168/9%
              Now- 200/8%
              Goal- 210/6%

              Comment


              • #8
                I already mentioned it somewhere here in the forum yesterday or the day before that my trainer advises me to do negative/eccentric chin-ups/pull-ups - jump/step up and then lower your body as slowly and in a controlled speed as you can. He says if you can do a 30 sec controlled descent, you can do a chinup/pullup. He is a trainee of Charles Poliquin - here is one of his articles Charles Poliquin's Blog - Tip 333: Perform Chin-ups For A Stronger Back: Stronger Abs Too
                It took me a loong time to get to the first chinup and I am still struggling with my first pullup. It seems if I do a lot of eccentric stuff, I can finally get to a proper one or two, but when I stop, it's again very hard to get back into proper form. Still working on it. Good luck getting there quickly!

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                • #9
                  There was a fantastic post here on MDA about pull-ups and chin-ups a couple months ago.

                  Here's the link: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-importance-of-pull-up-bar-training
                  "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

                  "You can have anything you want, but you can't have everything you want."

                  My blog: http://www.AlKavadlo.com

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                  • #10
                    I have the same desire as you do, camel. And I'm at about the same starting point. My biggest issue right now is finding anything to do chinups/pullups on. The door pullup bar will get me a divorce and I thought I could use this pole thing out on the deck, but I think that will earn me a divorce, too. So if there are other exercises that can build up the strength needed for a pullup, that would probably be easier. Then maybe I could just test out my ability if I ever find a place to do a real pullup.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                    • #11
                      I don't think there's a good corollary between push-ups and pull-ups. I can do 15-20 real pushups but not even close to a pull up. I haven't tried a chin-up. I did see progress in doing chair-assisted pull-ups on Mark's program. I will get back to doing so after vacation and my energy returns.

                      Good luck!

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                      • #12
                        For what it's worth, the day I got the email link to Mark's article on doing pull ups, I went to Walmart and got a pull up bar. I can now do 20-25 good form pull ups now before I tucker out. Seeing over the top of that thing the first time was a huge motivator.
                        Here to eat and move like a caveman, not look or stink like one

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                        • #13
                          Al Kavadlo thank you for posting in this thread and including a link to your blog. It's very helpful and uplifting!
                          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                          • #14
                            Wow thanks everyone for the replies! I'm glad I'm in good company in wanting to do this! Ok, now I want to do a chin up AND a pull up. I have a doorframe bar, so there's that! Ok, I'm off to check out links you all posted!

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                            • #15
                              Although doing push ups is a great idea and an excellent way to build upper body and core strength, they unfortunately aren't going to help you with your pull ups/chin ups very much. With a push up the main muscles being used are your pectoralis major (chest) and your triceps (the back of your arm) while in a pull up/chin up the main muscles being used are your latisimus (back muscles that look like wings) and your biceps (the front of your arms).

                              Chin ups are definitely the easier of the two because your using more biceps than you are in a pull up so I would suggest starting off with a chin up (palms facing you)

                              As for exercises that will help getting you to do chin ups, you could try some of the following :

                              Bent over row
                              Dumb bell rows
                              Cable pull down
                              Inverted rows
                              Assisted chin ups (with machines, bands or a partner)
                              Dead lifts
                              Farmers walk
                              Kettle bell swings
                              Eccentric Chin ups

                              That's a few to try. There are a lot more but the key is to consistently increase your weights and change up your program every 4-6 weeks. Good luck and lift heavy!!!

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