Weighted Chins

I like them. I’m not voting for them in the next    “Five Awesome Exercises” election but they certainly have their place. I’ve championed chin-ups for years, mostly    because they’re great for the upper back, lats, and arms. And because you can do them anywhere – chin-up bar, top of the  Smith machine, scaffolding, top of the monolift, playground  equipment, etc.

Weighted chins are a good idea IF you can do them, and even then    you still need to keep bodyweight chins as part of your training  (unless you can bang out multiple sets of 20 with good form). And  if that’s the case, gain some weight! Now of course there are people, usually some sort of Lifting Forum Queen, that would like to point to the VERY strong Konstantin Konstantinovs and tell me how wrong the prior statement is.  But you can’t use the exception to prove the rule.  And you just proved yourself to be unreliable and weak.

If you want to add some weighted chins as part of your training repertoire, start light and see how you do. Make sure you use something that doesn’t allow the weight or dumbbell to swing too much when you do them. I recommend a good chin/dip belt or    simply get a piece of chain and hang it from your lifting  belt.

Harry Selkow at eliteFTS.com has a great chinning program that’ll increase your weighted chins AND your bodyweight chins. My approach is simpler. One day I’d do bodyweight chins for 50 or more total reps. The next chin-up day I’d do a couple sets of weighted chins, either multiple sets at a given weight (for example 5 sets of 6 reps with 45 lbs.) or work up to an  all-out set with the heaviest weight I can handle.

As much as I love doing chins, they’re still not squats, presses, cleans, and pulls. They’re great to do, but I’m not going to lose sleep if my strength on these goes up and my chinning strength remain stagnant.

You can’t sleep with all the women in the sorority, so just be happy you got some trim.


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  • Comment by Adriaan — September 14, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    I Love chins, everything in my back to my arms is sore the day after.

  • Comment by alex Mendis — September 14, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    Actually I´ve had great success with doing 5/3/1 chins after press days, and then going for reps after bench days. I do 5/3/1 dips on Bench days and go for reps on press days.. I add about 2 reps each set on the rep version each week, and Im far from burned out when Im done…

    Alex Mendis

  • Comment by David — September 14, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    That’s a good idea on using 5-3-1 on your chins on one day. I can knock out about 12-15 bodyweight but my weighted suck. I usually also throw in some chins on lower body days. Bad idea? Any recommendation on a number you should try to get in a week

  • Comment by Alex Mendis — September 14, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    I do them on upper body days to balance all the pressing. But for the Reps ones I did 3×10 one week, then 3×12,and then 3×14, and now Im at 3×20.. Going for 3×25, then Im gonna start doing them with a vest

  • Comment by Keith — September 15, 2011 @ 3:19 am

    Ha, ha Trim not heard that one in a while. I remember Eddie Murphy used to say it a lot.

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