Thursday, January 1, 2009

Chin-ups for women

Everyone needs to be able to do a full chin-up, women especially. If you can't, then you need to start trying right away. There are no excuses here, women are every bit as capable of performing this exercise as men, period.

In my experience, the best way to start doing full chin-ups when you can't even manage one, is to do resisted lowering first.

Start by standing on a bench or a chair that lifts you up to the chinning bar, take a good grip on the bar, then step off the bench and try to hang for a second.

Next, try to slowly lower yourself down to the floor. This may not be slow at first, but keep trying and eventually you will get to the point where you can slowly lower yourself all the way to the floor.

Do this as many times as you can in a row, and then once you can complete about 10 controlled lowerings (is that a word?) then try and pull yourself up once.

By doing resisted lowering (or eccentric contractions as we call them in exercise physiology) you actually build more strength than during the concentric phase (or lifting of the weight).

This is why it is so essential to slowly lower your weights when you are doing reps, and not simply dropping them back to the start position, you will miss out on some of your best possible gains.


Christine RN, BTech SN (OHN) said...

Thanks for the tips on chin ups. I am determined I WILL be able to do one. It will be interesting to see how long it will take. I never thought I would be able to do hanging leg raises either but I have no problem with them now so.....I will keep at it.

Christine RN, BTech SN (OHN) said...


Maybe I hadn't tried hard enough! Or maybe Kevin wasn't helping as much as I thought. I was able to do ten lowerings the other day by myself - so tried actually doing a chin up - did one today - almost two...and I didn't break ;)

So thanks again for the lesson!

Rylan Duggan RK, CSCS said...

Told you!

Good work. We put so many limitations on ourselves that have no basis in reality, don't we?

Daniel Munday said...

I love it when I see my women clients get up and do chin ups - especially when they put the blokes to shame. Great post Rylan, you are definitely the go to guy for the female trouble spots.

Daniel Munday

Rylan Duggan RK, CSCS said...

Thanks for the comment Dan, I really appreciate it.

I agree, it's great to see the women put us guys to shame. This needs to happen more often,

Anonymous said...

If I am just getting started and can only do about 3 negatives, how often should I do them?

Also, I feel more soreness in my arms and hardly any in my weak lats. Does that mean I have bad form?

Rylan Duggan RK, CSCS said...

Negative reps, because they put so much demand on your muscular system, should only be utilized for one body part per week.

I've experimented with more, but have always found that it doesn't give enough recovery time.

Also, you are feeling soreness in the area that is weakest, and that is perfectly fine. It just shows you that your arms are the limiting factor in the chin-up, as opposed to the lats.

For most women, this is almost always the case.

For men, because we spend so much time trying to 'build big guns' for the girls, our arms are almost always overdeveloped compared to our lats.

Thus, when men start doing this exercise, they feel more soreness in their lats.

Keep at it, you are doing just fine!