How to conquer the chin up – with step by step video tutorial

How to conquer the chin up – with step by step video tutorial

Do you want to become a stronger and fitter version of yourself?  If the answer is yes, then you must set a fitness goal to ensure that you can drive your body to that next level.

But remember this:  If your fitness goal doesn’t scare you then it’s not big enough!

With that in mind, I decided to scare myself silly by aiming to achieve 5 unassisted chin ups by the end of this year.  No mean feat for a regular girl I tell you that. 

What is a chin up?

A chin up is a strength training exercise where you grab a support bar above your head.  You then raise your whole body up until your chin is above the bar.  The body is then lowered until your arms are straight and then you repeat.  As a beginner, I decided to focus on close grip chin ups with my palms facing towards me rather than a pull up exercise where the palms face away from you.  The latter is more difficult.

The benefits of chin ups

Chin ups seriously engage your upper back and bicep muscles and helps build upper body strength by using gravity and body weight.  That aside, I think it looks totally bad ass if a girl can crank out a few chin ups in the gym.  It’s like a cheeky little trick to have up your sleeve!  It is an amazing feeling to know that should you ever be in a situation where you are being chased by a pack of wolves that you can hoist your body weight up to safety!

How a regular girl can achieve chin ups

First things first.  You need to believe you can.  Chin ups require determination and training.  If you are reasonably fit and healthy, you should be able to do at least one chin up.  Having a tenacious mindset will help immensely!

Exercises to help you achieve your first chin up

To build up strength before your first chin up, you could try the following exercises:-

Try achieving negative chin ups where you lower yourself from the bar. 

Jump up or stand on something to initially get your chin over the bar.  Then, s-l-o-w-l-y lower yourself down to the ground.  Control the movement and fight against gravity as you lower yourself.

Jump up and hold yourself with your chin over the bar for two to three seconds before lowering your body weight back down to the ground. 

You have to fight gravity and focus on lowering your body weight as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible.  Aim to use a full 5 seconds as you lower and control the movement on the way down.

Jump up and simply hold yourself with your chin over the top of the bar for as long as you can. 

When you cannot hold on any longer, lower yourself to the ground.  In steps 1, 2 and 3 remember that time and attention to this lowering phase is the key!  You are in charge.  Don’t give into gravity.

Make it a rule that whenever you see a chin up bar to try at least one chin up. 

The more you do something the easier it becomes!

Use the assisted chin up machine at your local gym and challenge yourself by decreasing the weights. 

This will help build up the strength required to do your first chin up but ultimately you need to leave the machine and try it on the bar.

Start training for your first chin up by focusing on strengthening your back and bicep muscles. 

These include exercises such as:-

  • Seated cable rows
  • Bent over dumbbell rows
  • TRX Body Rows
  • Bicep Curls
  • Lateral pull downs

Other tips to help get you over the bar and achieve your first chin up

  • Grip the bar tightly with fingers and thumbs with a close underhand grip (make sure your palms face towards you)
  • Squeeze your abs and bottom and make sure your torso is engaged
  • Stick your chest out and squeeze your back muscles
  • Cross your legs
  • Keep your elbows close to the body
  • Breathe in as you grip the bar.  Breathe out as you begin to pull up.  Breathe in as you lower yourself back to starting position

So what are you waiting for?

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.  Often, it is not a case of how good you are but how badly you want it.  Initially giving it a go is half the challenge.

Just try it!  If you fail, try it again and don’t quit because let’s face it, nobody ever remembers the girl that gave up…


What doesn’t kill you makes you more awesome instead!


The best is yet to come!  Happy Training Fit Friends! xXx

 Feel free to check out the video tutorial below

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