Bodyweight Exercises: basic pull-ups and chin-ups are two of the best upper body exercises of all time. They are often confused, but the difference is simple.
Basic Differences of These Bodyweight Exercises
With pull-ups your palms are facing away from you, meaning your back bears the brunt of the work. With chin-ups, your palms face toward you. Chin-ups are often a bit easier because your biceps can take some of your weight.
If you can’t do a pull-up or chin-up, you aren’t alone. They are notoriously difficult and demanding. But they are attainable. If pull-ups or chin-ups are one of your fitness goals, you’ve come to the right place.
For These Bodyweight Exercises Concentrate On The Following Muscle Groups
Arm and back strength dominate the pull-up and chin-up. So if you are struggling with the move, building a stronger back is a good place to start. But, your back and arms aren’t the only pieces of the puzzle.
If you have a weak core, you’ll never be able to complete even one pull-up or chin-up. This is because of the dynamics of the move. Your arms need something to brace against and pull on. And a stiff, tight core provides the perfect resistance.
Bodyweight Exercise To Strengthen Your Core
Keep up those back and arm exercises. But if you really want to master the pull-up or chin-up, you’ll need to work your core too. Below are some core moves to get you closer to your goals.
Lie on your back with your arms overhead and your elbows straight. Cross your wrists and ankles and push them together to help create tension in your body.
Lift up your arms and legs so you are in an upward curving position. Brace your abs as if you were about to take a punch. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds, take a quick break, and then repeat. Eventually, you’ll be able to increase the time up to a minute.
For this, you’ll need something straight, like a dowel rod or a broomstick. Hold onto it as if you were holding on to a pull-up bar.
Lie down on the ground and keep your arms overhead, as if you were hanging. Bend your elbows and pull the bar down to your chest, just like your arms would move in a pull-up.
Resist yourself and make your muscles work while keeping your back and core tense. The goal of this is to see if you can maintain focus on your core strength while moving your arms. Do 8-10 reps.
Still laying on the floor with your dowel rod or broomstick, cross your legs one over the other. Keeping your arms straight, bring the rod in an arc over your body as you pull your legs up toward it.
You may only be able to do one leg at a time at first. Again, focus on keeping tension in your core. 5-8 reps will be enough of this exercise.
Stability Ball Rollouts
Stability balls are a great core tool, and they are fun too! Get into a plank position with your feet on the stability ball and your hands on the floor.
Using your abs, pull your knees (and the ball) in toward your chest. Kick your legs back out. That’s one rep; aim for 5-10.
You can also flip over and put your knees on the floor and your arms or elbows on the ball. Start perpendicular to the floor, and then roll out to about a 45-degree angle.
Using your abs and back, pull yourself back up to vertical. Aim for 5-10 reps of this version as well.
Build Strength with Bodyweight Exercises
Now that your core is getting in shape, let’s work on building strength to actually pull yourself up. Hanging is the first step. It might not sound like much, but hanging from the bar can build a lot of strength. Let’s toss in some dynamic movement to really get you in shape fast.
Hanging Shoulder Shrugs
Hang from the bar and allow your shoulders to travel up toward your ears. Now, pull your shoulders down toward your ribcage. You’ll feel yourself rise a bit, like a mini-pull-up. Hold this position for 5 seconds, and then release. Repeat 5-10 times.
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging from the bar, bring your knees up to your chest for as many reps as you can. If this feels too easy, you can try to raise your legs up to parallel with the ground without bending your knees. This is much harder on your abs, quads, and hip flexors.
You can also alternate a knees-up with a leg raise. Once you have the control, try raising your legs past parallel. You can even try touching your toes to the bar!
Flexed Arm Hang
Jump up and grab the bar, pulling yourself up (you can use momentum) so that your chest is even with the bar. Hang here, with your arms bent, for as long as possible. When you are ready to come down, lower yourself slowly. Start with 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds per hold.
Band Assisted Pull-or-Chin-Ups
You can try a pull-up or a chin-up Once you are able to hang with bent arms for 30 seconds. And you are able to lower yourself with control.
To start, use an exercise band. Loop the band around the bar securely and put your knees into the lower loop. The resistance from the band will help you pull yourself up.
Patience, Persistence and Lots of Practice
Do these moves three to four times a week. You should start to see yourself making progress toward pull-ups or chin-ups. Don’t give up; this isn’t a quick journey by any means.
Practice, patience, and persistence are what matter here. Keep at it, and soon you’ll be on your way. The first time you can perform a chin-up or pull-up, I promise all the sweat, pain, and time spent will be well worth it!
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