Are you ready to graduate from the Lat Machine?

Let’s go from “I can’t” to just doing it in just 6 weeks.

For a long time, one of my goals was to be able to do just one chin up. However, it seemed like the Mount Everest of strength training to me. I could never do it, even though I had trained Lat Pulldowns forever. But not anymore.

Before, some people even told me that I cannot do it, as in “woman are not physically capable of doing it”. It’s true that women tend to have less upper body strength and higher body fat in the lower body, compared to men, which can make the chin up a bit tougher for women. But that doesn’t mean we can’t!!

You probably know the chin up is one of the most efficient upper-body moves on the planet. It strengthens and sculpts the muscles in your arms, shoulders, back, and core with every rep, and it builds muscle mass, which helps you boost your metabolism and shed body fat.

Seeing a woman banging out chin ups in the gym, that’s always an impressive sight. I used to watch them in awe. But then, I realized they have started from somewhere too. So, I started looking for a way to get started. I was determined.

“Because, women can do chin ups! “

Turns out your back strength is not usually the problem, as the gym already helps with that a lot already. A good chin up takes more than strength in the back. You also need grip strength, the necessary mobility in your shoulders and most importantly your body needs to learn the pull-up motion. One could grab a pull-up band and go right to the bar to do assisted pull ups, but it’s worthwhile considering taking a step back.

Do you still think the chin up is impossible for you, like I used to? It is a very hard thing to do when you’re coming from a place of zero chin ups but it is totally attainable – and worth it!

The good news, you don’t have to do the research yourself. I have a put together this six week training program for you, that helps you build the strength, technique and confidence needed to tackle the intimidating chin up.

If you follow this training plan you will be able to leave the machine behind you today and start rocking the bars in 6 weeks.

Let’s prove to the nay-sayers that women can do chin ups! Are you ready?

Week 1-2:

Goal: Slowly building up the strength and motion

Exercise 1: The passive hang

This exercise works on your lower arms and hands, which you need to activate to keep hanging. It also develops your basic shoulder strength.

Do it:

  1. Start by grabbing the bar with an underhand grip at about shoulder width.
  2. Allow yourself to hang completely relaxed.
  3. Hold yourself for 15 seconds.

Repeat:

  • 10 times for x 15 seconds

Exercise 2: Chin Rows

Chin rows are one of the best ways to going through the entire chin up motion, understanding the movement and builing the strength required for a full chin up.

Do it:

  1. Find a lower chin up bar which allows you to place a part of your weight on the ground.
  2. Start by grabbing the bar with a grip at about shoulder width. Allow yourself to hang completely relaxed.
  3. From a fully relaxed position, both push your shoulders down and pull your shoulder blades together until they touch. These two things are called depression and retraction.
  4. Activate your arms at this point and pull yourself to the bar until your chest touches the bar.
  5. Hold it for 1-3 seconds and slowly lower yourself, keep your shoulders down, then go into the passive hang.
  6. Try to repeat the exercise 15 times

Repeat:

  • 3 sets x 15 reps

Week 3-4:

Goal: increasing the mobility in your shoulders and condition your muscles

Exercise 1: The active hang

This is a variation of the passive hang. The active hang helps to develop the skill to activate different parts of your shoulder, increasing the flow of blood and recovering from shoulder injuries.

Do it:

  1. Start by grabbing the bar with an underhand grip at about shoulder width.
  2. Allow yourself to hang completely relaxed.
  3. From a fully relaxed position, both push your shoulders down and pull your shoulder blades together until they touch. These two things are called depression and retraction.
  4. Hold this for 1-3 seconds and go back to your passive hang.

Repeat:

  • 3 sets x 15 reps

Exercise 2: Eccentric chin ups

Eccentric or negative chin up is another great way to build pull up strength. The term ‘eccentric’ refers to lowering phase of any lift.

 

Do it:

  1. Jump up into the upper chin up position with your chin over the bar. (Or by either placing a block under the bar or letting a friend lift you into place)
  2. Slowly lower yourself down to the active hang position. Increase the time it takes to complete each rep. An 8 second lowering count is a good benchmark.
  3. Go from your active hang to a passive hang and fully relax.
  4. Repeat by jumping into the chest to bar position again.

Repeat:

  • Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions each

Week 4-6:

Goal: focus on doing it

Exercise 1: Band assisted chin ups

Unlike the assisted-pull up machine, which gives fixed support throughout the entire move, the band “assists” you only at your weakest point when your arms are extended at the bottom. As you pull your body toward the bar, the band’s support lessens, so you utilize more of your own strength. You can transition to smaller bands as you build up your strength.

Do it:

  1. Loop a resistance band around a chin up bar.
  2. Place your knee (or feet) in the band and grab the bar with an underhand grip, arms completely straight.
  3. Pull your chest towards the bar. Pause, then slowly return to start.

Repeat:

  • 3 sets x 5 reps

You can pick up a resistance band on Amazon.

Exercise 2: Full chin ups

Do it:

  1. Start by grabbing the bar with an underhand grip at about shoulder width.
  2. Allow yourself to hang completely relaxed.
  3. From a fully relaxed position, both push your shoulders down and pull your shoulder blades together until they touch. These two things are called depression and retraction.
  4. From your active hang initiate your arm motion explosively, keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
  5. And touch the bar with your chest. No touch, no count.
  6. Hold the tension at the top position for 1-3 seconds and slowly go down over a 3-4 second count.
  7. Go back to your active hang and lower yourself into a passive hang by fully relaxing.
  8. Repeat for extra fun

The number of full chin up repetitions depends on how fit you were at the beginning of your journey and how many times per week you have been following this routine. Don’t worry if you are not doing more than 5 repetitions in each set at the end of week 6.

Because when you reach your limit of unassisted chin ups, you can always do a few more repetitions with a pull up band. Just like if you were doing drop sets.

So, are you ready to graduate from the Lat machine… today?

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