Here’s a story about how I trained my 16-Year-Old and the Simple Tips To Do More Chin-Ups…
I was working with my 16 year old daughter yesterday at the gym (it’s still really hard for me to come to grips that she’s 16).
One of her goals this summer is to do her first unassisted chin-up.
So in addition to her regular strength work – Lunges, Squats, Rows & Push-Ups – I had her do multiple sets of single chin-ups (with my help) throughout the session.
In our house we have a door gym hanging on the door frame of our linen closet.
In order for AJ to get to her room, she’s got to pass it.
So I advised her, every time she passed the closet, to do one chin-up…
“Hold yourself in the hollow position, tighten up, give a bit of a push off the floor with your toes, and pull yourself up.
Do this multiple times throughout the day, preferably every time you pass the linen closet on the way to your room.”
Pavel wrote about this “Greasing the Groove” protocol in 1999…
“My parents’ apartment had a built in storage space above the kitchen door (it is a Russian design, you wouldn’t understand). Every time I left the kitchen I would hang on to the ledge and crank out as many fingertip pull-ups as I could without struggle. Consequently, high school pull-up tests were a breeze.
This is the process of synaptic facilitation… multiple repetitions of a chin-up will ‘grease up’ a lifter’s groove. More ‘juice’ will reach the muscle when you are attempting your rep max. The muscle will contract harder and you will have a new PR to brag about.”
-Pavel Tstatsouline, 1999, “Chain Yourself to the Squat Rack and Call Me in a Year.”, MILO: A Journal for Serious Strength Athletes
Since that time, trainers and those interested in the skill of strength have applied this GTG technique to their programs – even programs heavily based in fat loss like THIS ONE.
So here’s what I want you to do…
Take your max chin-up number – let’s say you were stuck at 15.
Now take that number and cut it to one third… so 5 chin-ups.
That’s your magic number.
Now every time you pass a chin-up bar – at the park, at the gym, in the house, at your mother-in-law’s house – wherever, do 5 chin-ups.
Do this multiple times throughout the day. Perform this GTG protocol for the next 4-6 weeks. Then retest and see what you PR at.
Listen, if you want to get better at something, it would serve you well to practice it everyday.
That rule holds true as much with with writing (if you want to be a better writer)
…to jump shooting (it’s rumoured that Larry Bird would get to the gym 2 hours before practice everyday and take 300 jump shots in addition to all the shots he would take during practice)
…to the skill of strength – like chin-ups.
The key here is to keep yourself fresh and never burn out or over fatigue yourself…
-don’t lock yourself in a room for 12 hours and force a novel out
-don’t shoot the ball until your arm falls off and your technique goes to down the toilet
-don’t train to fatigue in any strength exercise (doing a challenge like a snatch test or a rep max once every 4-6 weeks would be the exception)
The rules for mastery of a skill – be it writing, jump shooting or strength – are the same.
Practice, practice, practice.