The humble chin up is probably the greatest measure and challenge of someone’s relative strength. When I say relative I mean ability to move one’s self. I guess when it comes to useful fitness, being able to move yourself well is the ultimate goal. Sure it might be nice to be able to lift a car but I mean how often will you need to be able to do this? But when it comes to getting your own body weight up a set of stairs or getting up off the floor or pulling yourself up on to a rock when you are bushwalking, now that is no so uncommon.

So how do you get to be able to do a chin up? The best way to start is with the lat pulldown. That exercise uses predominantly the same muscle group. Progress this up by doing a weight that allows you to do 12 reps only and then build it from there to a weight what you can do maybe only 4 or 5. (hey quick disclaimer here: only do this if you have doctor’s clearance and have seen a health professional first! Hopefully that is enough to keep the lawyers at bay!).

  1. Lat pulldowns
  2. Negative chins (that is lower yourself with control)
  3. Do jump chin ups (use your body weight with the momentum of the jump to get up there)
  4. Attempt to pull yourself up (use underhand grip)
  5. Do full proper pull up. (from full hang position, slowly pull yourself up to get your chin over the bar, lower yourself down with control)

You are now in an elite club! Check out this link for a great idea on how to start.