Chinups might be one of the most basic exercises in the gym, they can be both difficult for beginners to master and even more challenging for expert exercisers to level up. To give both of these groups a new challenge, it helps to take a seat.
This chinup variation from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. can be an exceptional exercise to help beginners build a solid base of strength to nail their first standard rep, while also serving as a solid addition for seasoned athletes to begin working with adding a load to the traditionally bodyweight move.
For a quick refresher, a chinup is performed with a supinated (underhand) grip while pullups are normally known for being done with a pronated (overhand) grip. Normally when people think of leveling up their chinups, the first adjustment is to the hand positioning—switching to a wider or narrower grip—or flipping the orientation for inverted rows. This variations, however, lowers the bar and puts you into a seated position on the floor.
How to Do the Seated Weighted Chinup
To start, you’re going to set up in either a Smith Machine or power rack, since you can easily move the level of the bar to reach it from the floor. You can adjust the bar at heights that will challenge different areas of your chinup.
Sit under the bar with your butt on the ground, extend your legs, and place a light dumbbell between your thighs. The added weight will force you to activate your core as you pull your chin over the bar. Core activation is too often neglected when we do chinups, especially if you think of the movement as an exercise to target your biceps. You will give your arms a challenge to lift up your own bodyweight—but your core should be engaged in a hanging plank position if you’re doing the movement properly.
Reach up and grab the bar with a supinated grip. Pull yourself up, and try to hold for a split second at the top before lowering all the way so your butt is back on the ground. You’ll feel your back muscles firing along with your core and biceps. Reset your body at the bottom position between reps.
Because this is such a challenging move for beginners, keep the reps moderate while trying to increase your load. Anywhere from three sets of six to eight reps should be enough to make some serious chinup gains.
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