Exercise of the Week: Band Assisted Chin-ups

Band assisted chins

Today’s exercise of the week is the band assisted chin-up.  This is a great variation for several reasons:

– Obviously, not everyone is strong enough to perform full chins in the beginning.  In this case, it helps them learn the groove of the movement with resorting to an expensive machine.

–  It accommodates resistance – it gives you the most help in the bottom (where you need it most), and the least resistance at the top (where you should need it the least).

Here’s a quick video to help you out:

To properly execute the band-assisted chin-up, do the following:

–  Start with the elbows extended in the bottom position

–  Initiate the movement by pulling through your elbows

–  Pull your chest all the way to the bar, and actively think about depressing your scapulae at the top.  It may help to think of pulling your shoulder blades into your back pocket.

–  Lower under control the starting position.

Regardless of your current strength levels, you can almost always find a band that will help you get started.  Good luck!

Stay strong



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  1. Great way to over load the upper body pulling exercises. Do you use the bands for Inverted Row type exercises too? Any other exercises with the bands would be great. Thanks for the post.

  2. I've seen you mention "pulling through your elbows" before, but I'm not exactly sure what that means. Does it mean pull through them like they don't bend (like a deadlift), or does it mean to start by bending them?

  3. Great exercise Mike, this exercise is a much better choice than any assisted chin up machine as it forces you to stabilize and control your own body weight. In response to your question Phil I am assuming Mike is instructing you to imagine using your elbows to pull, not your hands. One way to think of it is to pull your elbows down towards your hips. This will maximize Lat recruitment in the exercise.

  4. This is great application of the classic move. I typically use partners but what a great way to get extra reps when you are lifting on your own. Nice Idea!

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