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Thread: One day I want to do a chinup! page

  1. #1
    camel's Avatar
    camel is offline Senior Member
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    One day I want to do a chinup!

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    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. #2
    Wanderlust's Avatar
    Wanderlust is offline Senior Member
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    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
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  3. #3
    Primal-JoJo's Avatar
    Primal-JoJo is offline Senior Member
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    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.
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  4. #4
    Primal-JoJo's Avatar
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    Opps, posted at same time as Wanderlust - his advice seems pretty solid
    Primal: Because I like to have my steak, and eat it too

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  5. #5
    Wanderlust's Avatar
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    Thanks, you must having been typing when I submitted. Good to see the ladies doing strength training as well.
    "Go For Broke"
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  6. #6
    PLee1980's Avatar
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    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 at 10:13 PM.
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  7. #7
    Wanderlust's Avatar
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    "Go For Broke"
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  8. #8
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    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!

  9. #9
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    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


  10. #10
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    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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 180 x 2. Current Deadlift: 230 x 2

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