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How to Do Beginner Pull Ups and Chin Ups Training Tutorial
Dangers Here are some common injuries you may encounter: Elbow Tendonitis — This is probably the number one injury that people will encounter in their training. The chinning great Jasper Benincasa , who could do 19 one arm chins in a row, had this to say about the one arm chin and elbow tendonitis: The only thing you can do is rest. If you find yourself with signs of elbow tendonitis acute ache in the elbow joint , stop all chin up work until it heals which may take several weeks , then start slowly back into training. In order to avoid the problem entirely, I would recommend progressing slowly, especially when you start working the harder one arm exercises. Anytime you find yourself hanging at the bottom position for any of the exercises one or two armed , make sure to keep your shoulder pulled TIGHT into the socket. It can be dangerous to relax the shoulder when so much weight is being applied to it. I would recommend being able to do at least a dozen chin ups easily. Increasing your two armed chin-up number will help promote muscular hypertrophy and prepare you for the specialized strength training to come. If you are a bit low in numbers, you can work on increasing them in any number of ways — ladders, greasing the groove, etc. Working on increasing your max chin-up numbers will increase your max strength up to a point, but with too many repetitions you are simply working on muscular endurance. The OAC is a skill that requires training your max strength. Since we need the strength to pull ourselves up with one arm, our training should eventually focus on building that strength. Grip Strength The grip is important for an OAP because a strong grip on the bar will allow one to maximally contract the muscles of the upper body. If you are struggling to just hold onto the bar, it will be very difficult to coordinate the rest of your muscles to pull you up. These are high tension spring grippers that can take hundreds of pounds of force to close. If you decide to pick up some of these grippers, head on over to the gripboard , which will give you more information for training than you could possibly imagine. You can also get a great workout for your hands with just a couple towels. Throw them over your bar and grab them for chin ups. Another method of working your grip for this skill would be to simply practice hanging from a bar by one arm. When doing this, make sure that your shoulder is tight into the socket. For your reps and sets, I would keep both low. Generally I was doing 3 sets of for these exercises with adequate rest between sets to recuperate. For some of the weighted chins, I might go even heavier with the weight and knock the reps down to somewhere around For the one arm assisted exercises, I started decreasing the total amount of repetitions, as the stress on one arm increased. When you first start doing one arm chins especially, keep the repetitions very low. I might do 3 sets of 2, or even less. I found working specific one arm exercises one or two days a week, interspersed with days of weighted two arm exercises to work for me. I started with concentric exercises with two arms before I even thought about jumping onto one arm. Weighted Chins The weighted chin was a major exercise I worked on while training for the OAP, much more important that doing endless unweighted chinups. I would highly recommend you work this exercise. This was my bread and butter. Power chins were never something I built an entire workout around, merely an exercise I performed a couple times at the beginning of a workout when I felt fresh. Simply hang from the bar with arms straight, then try to pull yourself up to the bar as fast as possible. This exercise will teach you to contract your muscles strong and fast in a way that I found similar to the start of an OAP. Frenchies In this exercise do a chin up to the top of the bar, hold for several seconds I used 5 seconds , lower down completely, chin to a 90 degree arm angle, hold for several seconds, lower down completely, then chin to a degree angle to hold for another several seconds. The frenchies will stress your arms a great deal in just a small number of repetitions. This is also an excellent exercise to start weighting when things get too easy. Strength When going either up or down on one arm, I found it useful to keep the pulling arm close to the body, so that the upper arm came in contact with the side of the body lats and stomach as much as possible. This allowed me to fully utilize both my arm and back when pulling up to the bar, or controlling my decent. As for the rest of the body, I mentioned before about the importance of grip strength in performing an OAP. A strong grip will allow you to fully tense your entire upper body when pulling. You may also find it useful to tense your free hand into a fist, as well as tensing your abdominals during one arm exercises. Balance and Control While specifically performing a one arm chin, I came to notice my body would always turn away from my pulling arm, so if I was chinning with my left arm, my body would turn clock-wise. To counter-act this turn, and keep my pulling arm close to my side, I found it useful to cross the free arm over the front of my body, or in the very least keep that free arm close to my side. This, in combination with a slight twist of my gripping hand, helped keep me from going all over the place when pulling. As you can see in the picture below, I try to keep my body facing forwards during the OAC. This has always felt like the strongest position for me. For the one arm pull up specifically, my body would twist towards the pulling arm, which was not that much of a problem so I just found my free arm going wherever it wanted. Twisting the bar with your pulling hand can help you control things You can see the differences with the OAP in the picture below. My body tends to twist into the bar. Try a one arm chin. Try it from the bottom of the pull. Try it with your arm at a 90 degree angle. Do you see where your weaknesses lie? I found it helpful to test myself every couple weeks in order to see where I stood with the skill and what I needed to work on. I think of not only flexing my arm, but pulling and rowing with my back. Not only for the added stress on the arm, but to find the groove of the OAP. Assisted One arm chins with rope This is a great exercise and it has the added benefit being able to quantify the amount of assistance. First, get about feet meters of rope. If you pick up some rope, check its characteristics to make sure it does not stretch. Next, take the rope and tie one end to some weights and throw the other end over your bar. It helps if you have a slick bar, or you could even rig up a pulley. The point is to minimize the friction between the rope and the bar. How much weight should you use? I highlighted the weight in the picture below because it was a bit difficult to see on the basement floor. Anyways, what you have now is a simple device for assistance. Now the pulling arm will grab the bar and the assisting arm will grab the rope. As you pull up, you can pull down on the assisting arm to get you up to the bar. Due to friction, the amount of weight assisting you may not translate directly, but it will give you a clear show of progress when you decrease the amount of weight tied to the rope. Throw it over the bar and grab it with your assisting arm. The lower you grab the towel, the harder the pullup will be. Using the fingers of your assisting arm to help pull is useful for stressing the pulling arm, but it is very hard to tell how much the finger is assisting. Even still, you can try working from four fingers to three to two … to your index, middle, pinky … then eventually to your ring finger. From the top… As I progressed with all these concentric movements, I eventually started working eccentric movements. Remember how the eccentric movement is the strongest? I also felt these exercises were excellent for working the top half of the OAP. How much weight should you be pulling in your two arm chins before you try these? You may need more or less relative weight before you feel comfortable. For the one arm negatives, I found pulling up to the top in an alternate grip, then releasing one hand to be the best method. Make sure your chin is above the bar when you start. When you get stronger, add the isometric holds at the top, middle, and bottom. One arm weighted negatives Start adding a small amount of weight 2. Continue until you can again lockoff at the top, middle, and bottom of the movement. The road has been long. In the days following your first one arm chin, I found it helpful to do at least one OAP each day. You can decide how to fit this into your training schedule. I found doing this helpful not only for getting the body into the groove of the skill, but more importantly getting your own mind into the groove of the skill. For each subsequent OAP, your confidence and strength for the skill will increase, but at the beginning you may question yourself. Did I really do that? Can I do it again? Yes you did, and yes you can. Two and beyond… Continuing progression with the weighted chins will certainly help in building strength. I myself have focused a lot on one arm exercises. One arm weighted negatives with lockoffs make for a very intense workout. I have also draped ankles weights on the top of the bar, done an OAP, then grabbed the weight for a weighted one arm negative. Aug 18, Category: Pulls , Tutorial Comments:
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