For most women, the chin up feels like an impossible feat. When I mention the words to some of my female clients, I’m met with reactions like “that’s way too hard” or “that’s a man’s exercise”. So let’s get something straight – Wonder Woman is not the only woman that can do chin ups!
Unlike men, women are naturally stronger in the lower body rather than upper body. This means the upper body strength required to master the chin up will need a lot more focus. It may be a tough movement , but it’s not impossible – like any other goal, it’s about the baby steps to get there.
Firstly you’ll need to build a foundation. This will take some time, so spend a few weeks to a month focusing on these exercises that are great for developing upper body strength:
LAT PULL DOWN
Sit down in the machine, grip the bar palms facing forwards and with a tight wide grip, pull the bar down until it touches your upper chest squeezing your shoulder blades until you feel your back muscles, release the bar slowly with a 3 second count back to the top.
Position the bar in a rack to waist height, take a wider than shoulder width grip on the bar and hang underneath. Your body should be straight with your heels planted on the ground, pull your chest towards the bar squeezing your shoulder blades together as you reach the top of the bar, lower slowly with a three second count back to the starting position.
BENT OVER ROW
Soften the knees and hinge forward from your hips, allowing your arms to hang vertically. Keeping your elbows tucked in pull the bar towards your belly button, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Using a tight overhand grip, hang from a bar for 30-60 seconds or as long as you can.
ECCENTRIC CHIN UPS
Jump into the chin and lower yourself in a controlled fashion. Lower your body slowly for a count of at least 2-3 seconds. This is such a great exercise for your upper body as its targets so many muscle groups at once. With every single rep, it strengthens and shapes the muscles in your arms, shoulders, back and core, and builds muscle mass which will boost your metabolism and help to reduce body fat.
Once you have mastered the slow negative technique, you’re well on your way to a chin up – so when you feel ready, give it a go!
Keep in mind, chin ups also get easier , so as usual, a balanced diet and a combination of strength and cardio within your exercise routine will help you reach your first chin up.
Being able to perform a chin up is a sign of good strength and you will notice your body shape changing and your confidence increasing once you master it. Don’t give up on chin-ups when away from the gym either – most beaches, parks or playgrounds will have a bar.
Chin ups won’t happen overnight, but with practice and dedication, everyone can get there. Good luck and happy training!