I Put My Back Out & 9 Ways to Cook A Chin-Up

This past weekend started of great with my 5 kids, my wife and I celebrating my wife’s 32nd birthday.  The kids baked her a cake, I bought her some books (hey, that’s what she wanted) and we went out to dinner at a really trendy Italian restaurant that locals call "The Nose" (it’s actually called Gio Rana’s Really, Really Good Italian Restaurant).

Prior to going out to dinner on Saturday, I wanted to make sure that I got a quick workout in. I didn’t have much time, so I decided to practice my pressing, balance that out with some KB Rows and then finish with snatches.

Midway through my 3rd and final set of presses, I tried to take it up a notch and see how many times I could press my 24kg kettlebell overhead.  My first 2 sets were sub-maximal sets of 5 and I felt pretty good – really good actually – so I WENT FOR IT.

Big mistake.

Into my 9th rep on my left side I think I was struggling a little bit and lost some of the "tightness" in my torso and my back twisted in some funny way.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time so I continued on with my workout proceeding to do rows and then a a series of 1 arm snatches.

Twenty minutes later, by the time I got out of the shower my back started to feel "off" and started to tighten up.  I definitely pulled something.

I woke up this morning barely being able to get out of bed and upon further self-assesment, it seems as though I’ve strained my right QL (quadratus lumborum – a muscle that attaches at the top of your hip to your lowest rib).

What a big, bumb-jock, more-balls-than-brains mistake.

The brutal thing is that I know it happened because…

1) I didn’t "fire-up" my abs in my warm-up by doing side planks (which I always do);

2) I haven’t been keeping up with my flexibility program so my hamstrings & glutes were extra tight


3) I didn’t ease my way into the workout by using a lighter bell in the beginning to really warm-up my joints and "groove the movement".

So now, I’m paying for it.  With some rest and a visit or 2 to my chiropractor, I should be back in action by Tuesday or Wednesday. But, I’ll be taking the entire week off training to work on some abdominal stability and endurance exercises and some flexibility.

I was going to post for you my RKC prep program but instead, since I can’t do the program for a little bit anyway, I’m posting this cool video that I did where I show you how to do 9 different variations of chin-ups.

Make sure to watch the video and let me know what some of your favorite chin-up variations are.



p.s. Bullet proof your back by following the "Core Support" program in the TT Kettlebell Revolution. There’s something that I’ve got to get back to now!

=>Get started with the TT Kettlebell Revolution


  • Reply July 26, 2010


    Bad luck, Chris. I hope your injury heals soon!

  • Reply July 26, 2010


    Hi Chris, sorry to hear you’ve injured yourself – I hope you will get well really soon. I love the typewriter pullup!

  • Reply July 26, 2010


    Thanks for the great video Chris. I have a question about the pull-up variations – I’ve noticed some pain in my wrist when I try these grips instead of an underhand or neutral grip. It seems worse when I do them on a straight bar than on a canted bar. Any idea what I might be doing wrong here?

    The clapping pull-up looks, um… dangerous. Not sure I’ll try that one any time soon. 🙂

    • Hey Scott

      Great to hear from you man!

      I’ve worked with some people who found a regular pull-up grip uncomfortable and there a couple of things that have worked for them…

      1) try grabbing the bar a little wider than shoulder width – usually the narrower pronated grip aggravates the muscles and tendons on the outside of your wrist


      2) try a “false” grip where your thumb wraps over the bar instead of around it

      let me know if either of those help/


  • Reply July 26, 2010


    You make them all look so easy.
    My goal is to be able to do 10 unassisted underhand ‘normal’ chin ups.
    Well now i have plenty of options for progressive goals after I reach that one.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Reply July 30, 2010



    wouldn’t planks before the workout tire out the abdominals, making your back more vulnerable?

    • Great question, Fabian.

      When I plank before a workout, I’m doing it to “fire up” my abs and make sure that they’re working before I do my lifting.

      This is similar to doing Cook Hip Lifts or glute bridges prior to squatting or deadlifting – you’re doing them to make sure that the right muscle groups are firing.

      That said, when I side plank and/or plank, I do them submaximally (usually for only 30s each) or just until I can “feel it”.


  • Reply August 1, 2010


    Yeah! Thanks for the variations…I’m gonna have to try those..hoping not to fall on my face! Thanks and get better Chris!


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