THE CHIN UP PROGRESSION LADDER

THE CHIN-UP PROGRESSION LADDER

 

Please be warned, some of the l;aberlling is a bit off in this video. i must have mis-communicated to the lovely fellow makiing the video. Note: Chin-Ups = Palms facing towards you. Pull-Ups = Palms facing away. Any time where the two grips are on the same progression, we want the palms towards first (yep, that’s Chin Ups — well done you) then the Pull Ups after I know, you know). That’s because Pull Ups are usually more difficult.

PROGRESSION 1: DEAD HANG.

 

Criteria:

–> Overhand Grip
–> Shoulder Blades elevated (like you got no neck!)
–> Arms completely straight
–> Shoulders 180 degrees open (straight over your head, basically).
–> Body hanging straight, or feet pulled behind
–> Knees together, feet together (not crossed).

Notes:

I didn’t write this programme for training nuts. I didn’t write this programme for the elite. I wrote this programe for those ‘with potential’, but without proven track record of following programmes successfully. As a result you’re often fairly flawed individuals and you don’t necessarily, you know, have access to, and feel comfortable on the chin-up bar. That’s cool, but to be honest…we need to change that.

This first progression, it’s not that hard. But, to pass, you need a little grip strength, decent range of motion in the shoulder (which many people lack), and just as importantly, you need to be the sort of person who is at home by the bar. If you’re scared of the chin up bar, if you don’t have one…well, you simply cannot be as effective as you should be. It’s too important.

So, get a tiny bit of strength, set yourself up for habitual ease of access with Chin Up bar, and wahooo — it’s time for progression two.

PROGRESSION 2: CHIN UP. TOP POSITION. STATIC.

 

CRITERIA:

–> Use an underhand grip
–> Shoulders must be down; not hunched
–> Upper chest must touch bar
–> no wobbling tolerated
–> No loss of height tolerated
–> Elbows must be down by sides
–> Erm, feet probably shouldn’t be on the floor.

Notes:

Even if you can’t pull Chin Ups yet, there’s a good chance you can hold a static position, and thus spending time just holding the top position will help you build the strength required for the real thing.
So this is the next step: get really good at holding the perfect top-of-chin-up position.
PROGRESSION 2: PULL-UP. TOP POSITION. STATIC.

 

CRITERIA:

–> Use an Overhand grip
–> Shoulders must be down; not hunched
–> Upper chest must touch bar
–> no wobbling tolerated
–> No loss of height tolerated
–> Elbows must be down by sides
–> Feet really must be off the floor.

Notes:

Once you’ve mastered the underhand grip, it’s time to turn your hands around and master the ‘Pull Up’ position, where we use an overhand grip. On this ladder we do this on a number of progressions: master undehand first (it’s easier), then master the same progression with an overhand grip. It’s a good way to keep you rotating your girp which encourages balanced development, plus usually it’s only about 10%-20% hardeer with the different grip, so it’s a nice way to keep you moving forards all the time. Once you master the underhand, the overhand shouldn’t be that far away, and once you master a progression with an overhand grip, you should find that the next progression up should be within reach if you go back to underhand training.

PROGRESSION 3: CONTROLLED ECCENTRIC CHIN UP.

 

CRITERIA:

–> start in perfect top position
–> control all the way down to locked arms and elevated shoulder blades
–> hold the bottom position for two seconds

–> Underhand Grip

NOTES:

If you can’t control all the way down from the top of the pull up, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be able to pull up! But training just the lowering phase is tremendous for building the strength and familiarity with the move that we need.

Don’t do more than five reps of these mind, they’re too hard on the body and really we need them for training in the pure strength range.

PROGRESSION 3: CONTROLLED ECCENTRIC PULL UP.

 

Criteria:

–> start in perfect top position
–> control all the way down to locked arms and elevated shoulder blades
–> hold the bottom position for two seconds

–> Underhand Grip

Notes:

Once you’ve mastered the eccentric chin, turn that grip around and master the pull-up style. Once you’ve got that, we start cheating the way up…

PROGRESSION 4: CHIN UP. FEET CHEAT.

 

Criteria:

–> Underhand Grip
–> Must hit perfect top-position mechanics each rep
–> Must control all the way to Dead Hang with no dropping or falling
–> Then and only then can you use the feet to cheat
–> The arms must be working to actually pull up; don’t just jump and do all the work with the legs…or it doesn’t count

Notes:

It’s a bit subjective this one. Hard to see if the arms are working hard on the way up or not, but if you over-cheat — jump too hard — you’ll just struggle more on the next bit, so, you know, whatever…

PROGRESSION 4: PULL UP. FEET CHEAT.

 

Criteria:

–> Overhand Grip
–> Must hit perfect top-position mechanics each rep
–> Must control all the way to Dead Hang with no dropping or falling
–> Then and only then can you use the feet to cheat
–> The arms must be working to actually pull up; don’t just jump and do all the work with the legs…or it doesn’t count

Notes:

As soon as yiou’ve mastered the underhand, turn that grip and nmaster the overhand. Once you’ve got that, you must be ready to start pulling yourself up.

PROGRESSION 8: SHORT RANGE. UNDERHAND.

Criteria:

–> Perfect top position mechanics must be hit every time (NOT simply getting chin over bar — that won’t do I’m afraid)
–> Shoulders must drop 10cm or more on the way down
–> Movement must be smooth and controlled
–> Top position must be held for a half second each time

Notes:

It’s often criticised and ridiculed in the gym — when folks only use a small range of motion on their exercises. As a general rule of thumb in strength training, if you use more range, your muscles will get a better workout and more rounded development.

However, it’s perfectly OK to do partial-range reps, as long as it’s in a smart programme, as long as it’s part of systematically overloading yourself, and it’s with a view to doing better reps soon! That’s exactly what we are doing here, woking with a short range to get used to tough bodyweight moves, then adding ROM as soon as we are ready.

PROGRESSION 9: SHORT RANGE. OVERHAND.

 

Criteria:

–> Perfect top position mechanics must be hit every time (NOT simply getting chin over bar — that won’t do I’m afraid)
–> Shoulders must drop 10cm or more on the way down
–> Movement must be smooth and controlled
–> Top position must be held for a half second each time

Notes:

Master this and then you’ll be ready to add more range. Whilst not quite a full Chin-Up yet, when you start doing these, you should be at the point where you see you can master the full chin up if you keep going.

PROGRESSION 9: MEDIUM RANGE. UNDERHAND

 

NOTES

–> Perfect top position mechanics must be hit every time (NOT simply getting chin over bar — that won’t do I’m afraid)
–> Elbows must open more than 90 degrees
–> Movement must be smooth and controlled
–> Top position must be held for a half second each time
–> No air humping or active body-English allowed

CRITERIA

Once you switch back to underhand and start adding range of motion, you’ll really start to look like you know what you’re doing on a Chin-Up Bar. Proper full-range dead-hang chin ups are still another big jump up from these, so be patient and diligent, as you try to get your first full chin.

PROGRESSION 9: MEDIUM RANGE. OVERHAND.

 

NOTES

–> Perfect top position mechanics must be hit every time (NOT simply getting chin over bar — that won’t do I’m afraid)
–> Elbows must open more than 90 degrees
–> Movement must be smooth and controlled
–> Top position must be held for a half second each time
–> No air humping or active body-English allowed

CRITERIA

Once you get good at short range Chin Ups, it won’t take long before you’re able to go that little bit lower and nail these as well. For most, the bigger test comes next…

PROGRESSION 10: BOTTOM HALF. UNDERHAND. FROM DEAD.

Criteria:

–> Must start and finish move in full dead hang
–> Movement must initiate from the Lats and shoulder blades
–> Must pull up until the elbows get to 90 degrees
–> One must spend half a second at the top and bottom of each rep
–> Must control all the way down to lockout each time
–> No air humping or active body-English allowed

Notes:

For the average punter, this is the biggie. We need the range of motion to be comfortable in the Dead Hang, then the scapular and Lat strength to initiate from this full position. Don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to pass this stage, for many it is well and truly the toughest hurdle to cross before you actually manage a full Chin Up.

PROGRESSION 10: BOTTOM HALF. OVERHAND. FROM DEAD.

VID

Criteria

–> Overhand Grip
–> Must start and finish move in full dead hang
–> Movement must initiate from the Lats and shoulder blades
–> Must pull up into perfect top position mechanics
–> One must spend half a second at the top and bottom of each rep
–> Must control all the way down to lockout each time
–> No air humping or active body-English allowed

NOTES

Now all you need to do is put the bottom half and the top half together in a nice neat full chin up!

PROGRESSION 11: FULL REPS. UNDERHAND.

 

VID

Criteria:

–> Must start and finish move in full dead hang
–> Movement must initiate from the Lats and shoulder blades
–> Must pull up into perfect top position mechanics
–> One must spend half a second at the top and bottom of each rep
–> Must control all the way down to lockout each time
–> no air humping or active body-English allowed

Notes:

If you can do real Chin Ups, from Dead Hang, for reps, you’re better than mnost gym goers. Enjoy! For some people once you can do bottom half, you’ll be home and dry, these won’t be much harder. Others will have to be a little more patient and need a little more hard work before you can master these.

PROGRESSION 12: FULL REPS. OVERHAND.
————

VID

Criteria:

–> Overhand grip
–> Must start and finish move in full dead hang
–> Movement must initiate from the Lats and shoulder blades
–> Must pull up into perfect top position mechanics
–> One must spend half a second at the top and bottom of each rep
–> Must control all the way down to lockout each time
–> no air humping or active body-English allowed

Notes

Don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking…is that it??! Well don’t worry, there are some more advanced progressions coming soon!

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