I found kettlebell training helps a lot to build core strength. I'm a 30yo male, 200lbs, and was never able to do a single chin up in my life. After a few months of kettlebell training I can now do 6 chin ups in a row quite easily. Still not great but it's progress and doing the actual chin ups on a regular basis will help as well, I suppose. Target is 20 in a row.
I mentioned the neutral grip pull-up in this guest post I did for MDA on 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
I started a while back with p90x (doing only the strength workouts), but I found that my pull-ups/chin-ups didn't improve that much. I think it focused too much on high reps and getting there by any means (lots of assistance, but no focus on getting rid of the assistance). After a few months with p90x, I still was no where near getting rid of the chair to help me up.
Then I started barbell training + pull-ups/chin-ups. I got rid of the chair and basically started by doing negatives. I started doing 3 sets of 5. Pretty soon I was able to add reps. Then I was able to pull myself up and do like 5 pull-ups, but still touched down after each rep. Then I could do 3 sets of 10. Now I can do at least 8 chin-ups without touching down, but not coming all the way down to hanging. I've stopped adding reps now and I'm working on being able to hang all the way down between reps and then I think I'll work on being able to do the same with pull-ups. I didn't really look into the best way to work up to doing pull-ups before I started, I just knew that the p90x approach didn't do it for me. This way kind of just made sense and seems to be working for me. Each time I work out I try to do just a little more, come down a little lower, hang on a little longer, etc. I've been doing this about 3 times a week since June I think.
(It's also super motivating to keep working out. I have a bad habit of working out really well for months and then doing nothing for months, but I would hate to have to start back up from scratch on my pull-ups and chin-ups.)
awesome article. i went to the gym. did the hang at the top of the bar with my chin over the top and remembered after 10 secs about my rotator cuff which i had been ignoring as it had almost gone away. so back down on the ground for me till it stops hurting which is very annoying.I mentioned the neutral grip pull-up in this guest post I did for MDA on the importance of pull-up bar training.