Coach Alicia Fong

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Health tip for week Nov 9

  • Do Chin and/or Pull Ups.

pull upChin ups and pull ups are great exercises.    The movement begins with the arms extended above the head, gripping a fixed chin-up bar with the palms either facing or away the exerciser depending whether a chin up or pull up is being performed.  The body is pulled up until the bar approaches or touches the upper chest.  The body is then lowered until the arms are straight, and the exercise is generally repeated.

Why should we do them?

  • Build or tone back muscles, especially the latissimus dorsi muscle (aka lats) which is one of the more important muscles in our bodies.  Lats stabilize our shoulders and core.
  • It’s a fundamental primal movement.
  • They are great for athletes who play sports that require powerful upper body pulling action.  Chin ups will give them the upper body strength.
  • If you ever in danger and need to pull yourself up to go over or climb a fence.  This reason sounds extreme but true and could save your life.

Tips to improve chin/pull ups:

  • First, don’t cross your legs while performing chin ups.  When you cross your legs, you are shifting your pelvis or hips one side higher than the other.  The shifting will affect your lats in a way that you are likely to pull one side more than the other, and therefore, it will cause muscle imbalances.  Since the lat is the main target muscle in this exercise, an imbalance in the lats will cause a whole series of distortion in your body such as bad posture and core instability.  Remember that one of the main functions of the lats is to stabilize your core.
  • Use elastic bands to assist you if you can’t perform one on your own (see below Youtube’s video).  You attach one side of the band to yourself (around your knees) and the other side to the chin-up bar.  The band will be stretched and you will feel it pulling you up.  Now grab the bar and complete a chin-up.  If you are still not able to complete a chin-up, you will need to use a stronger band.  This is better than the assisted chin up machine because it gets harder on the top unlike the machine and it forces you to work harder on the top where it is the most difficult part.  As the exercise gets easier, use a thinner band as progression until you can do one on your own.
  • To achieve optimal results, do weighted chin ups.  Weight is added with dangling from a dipping belt, or via weighted belt or vest, ankle weights, chains, medicine ball between the knees, dumbbell between the feet or kettlebells on top of the feet.  Males should be adding half of the body weight on top of their own body weight.  For females, it should be a quarter of her weight as an addition.

I hope this helps and encourage everybody to do some chin ups and pull ups.  If you want to more advance progressions on the chin or pull ups, contact AF Performance Center for more information.


November 10, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] and had to start with assisted chin ups, and progressed from there.  So how to do them?  Click here for details and progressions as I wrote about it […]

    Pingback by Health Tip for week May 17th « Coach Alicia Fong | May 17, 2010 | Reply

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