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I have a problem. I can only do 6 chin-ups in a row before something gives way. I'm able to go for 2-3 sets, usually with a kip on the last on few.

With a weight bearing exercise, there are common techniques, like altering rep ranges and lowering weights and working back up, but I'm not sure those can be used in this case.

How can I do more consecutive chin-ups when my best set is 6?

For reference, when I say chin-up I mean the neutral grip, palms facing variety. Not a fully supinated chin-up nor a fully-pronated pull-up.

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Not voting to close, since this question is much more specific than the "duplicate". It's a common enough question that addressing it from multiple angles is warranted. –  Dave Liepmann Sep 18 '13 at 12:14
    
What kind of rest periods are you taking between sets? That could make a big difference. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 3 '13 at 11:40
    
There are three grips with one between pronated and supinated?? \-: –  hippietrail Aug 4 at 9:22

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Volume

If you can do two or three sets of about 6 chin-ups, I'd focus on volume rather than any particular set or rep scheme. That's because it's hard to stick to any particular number of reps per set with chin-ups in general, and especially so when the trainee can do less than 10 in a set. (Increased but tolerable volume is frequently the goal when deloading and working back up or altering rep ranges when this problem is encountered with barbell exercises.)

Instead of doing sets of six with kipping, I'd focus on getting 25 strict chin-ups in every workout (or even every day, or every weekday). That might mean a set of six, then four, then two sets of three, then four sets of two, then one. Don't worry about the number of reps being consistent across sets.

Other tools

Negatives are an enormously productive way to increase chin-up numbers as well. Maybe make your last two or five sets all negatives, where you jump to the top and lower yourself as slowly as possible. This allows you to dramatically increase the pull-up volume you can achieve, and it does so in a more productive manner (for strength and pull-up performance) than kipping.

Holds are very useful as well. When my maximum pull-up number is low, or when my elbow is inflamed, I'll alternate workouts with an A and B system. On A workout days, my pull-up workout is as described above, with no negatives or holds, just focusing on volume and maximum number of reps per set. On B days, I pick a number of reps I know I can do reliably. (This is often quite low.) I do three to six sets of that many reps, as negatives, each performed with a hold at the beginning (at the top) and end (at the bottom) of the set. Sometimes I'll do holds between every rep. This slow, low-volume approach gives me plenty of training stimulus for the movement while avoiding the high-stakes intensity of going for a maximum number of reps in each set.

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I made an account just to up-vote this. –  half-pass Aug 4 at 20:54

Do negatives, they build your strength.

Set goals for a week in total (not per set), achieve it. I would suggest keeping the goal to little less what do you can (motivation factor). Increase your count over the weeks.

Before you know you'll be doing more than what you use to do.

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It helps a lot to rest two seconds in the highest point under full contraction. This is often the weakest point. In the beginning, this means of course less reps than before.

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