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If you’re not quite at your full unassisted chin/pull-ups, here are some good alternatives to try:
– Jump and Lower –> This one is good when you want to increase the pace and get your heart rate up. Assist your pull-up with a jump from the ground. No need to go slow on the way down as this can fatigue you too much.
– Bottom Up Partial –> This can be a good way to work on that first part of the pull. From a hang, use a little momentum to pull a 1/4, 1/3, or even 1/2 way up. However, these are very tough, so take a good rest between sets and reps.
– Top Down Partial –> Great for working to your sticking point and gradually increasing your range of movement. Bascially, you start at the top and lower to a point were you can still pull back to the top again. Usually, lowering 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 way down. But beware, these are advanced and require a lot of effort.
There are other progressions you can use, but these are good to get started experimenting.
Remember: there’s no right way, just what feels best for you on the day, so it’s nice to have options 🙂
How hard/easy should the chin-ups should be?
Firstly, I realise it’s a strange thing to see, “make my chin-ups EASY?”, but it works at this stage because we’re working on motor control. This is best started in low intensity 🙂
Here’s a guide based on a modified Borg scale:
Imagine an exertion scale from 0-10.
– zero being no exertion at all;
– 2-4 is extremely light to somewhat light;
– 5-6 is becoming somewhat hard;
– 7 & 8 are very hard;
– 9 is extremely hard;
– 10 is maximal exertion (like a 1 rep max).
I’d say to aim for the chin-ups to be best in the 2-4 or up to 5-6 realm (for now). Of course this is all subjective, but it gives you an idea. Those whose hangs are under 30 seconds, stick to 2-4/10 exertion. Those who can manage more grip endurance or can do a pull-up already, you can go to the 5-6/10 realm.
The point is not about getting stronger in the traditional sense (although that will likely happen as a bonus), the point is to practice the movement so it becomes smooth, controlled, and a great foundation to build on later.
I know it may seem pointless or uninspiring, but it’s like what they do in Olympic weight lifting or Kettlebell Sport: LIGHT training weights while skill and technique are drilled over and over again.
Remember: you can use two bands together (say you only have a medium and small for example, have them both on the bar and slide them close together, then put your same knee/foot into both bands, like a double stirrup).
Remember remember: week to week they will start to feel easier, but in that case, I’ll be suggesting more sets, not necessarily a lighter band.
Finally, enjoy the easy chin-ups this month 😀