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My Gym Doesn’t Have a Chin Up Bar

By on March 22, 2008

Question: Dear Rocco,
In addition to wanting to lose weight, be healthy, and feel good, I have a weird fitness goal: I’d like to be able to do chin-ups like Linda Hamilton did in Terminator II. When I was little, I couldn’t do a single chin-up in gym class–I just hung onto the bar. Now that I’m a 25-year-old woman, I’d like to try and do this. My gym doesn’t have a chin-up bar so I guess I’ll go to the park down the street, but what other exercises do you recommend to get my upper body strong enough to accomplish my goal?
–Alecia,

Answer: Alecia! I love these types of questions. I do have to ask you though, what makes you think if you couldn’t do a chin up when you were young, you can even think about doing one now? I do like your determination and if you’re up for the challenge I’ll help you out. First, tell those cheap bastards at your gym to buy a chin up bar or go buy one yourself. I think they sell them at any fitness store for twenty bucks or something close to that. Now that you’ve got something to grab on to I want you to place a chair underneath the bar you’ve just acquired.

Stand on the chair and grab the bar with both hands shoulder width apart. Hopefully your chin is above the bar at this point in time. Bend your knees so your feet don’t touch the chair anymore. Lower yourself slow enough to count to six until your arms are straight. Place your feet back on the chair, stand up and repeat lowering yourself as many times as you can without your arms ripping themselves out of the socket. This is called a negative chin up. If you keep practicing this exercise you will eventually develop enough strength to pull yourself up. Good luck and don’t forget to write. Hopefully, You’ll be Back! (sorry I can’t do the Arnold accent in a blog)