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Take control of the amount of weight you pull when performing a chin-up.
The chin-up is an upper-body, body-weight exercise that targets the latissimus dorsi, as well as your biceps. The amount of weight you pull during the chin-up will vary, as this movement can be performed using your own body weight or with added resistance. Additionally, there are variations that allow you have to pull more or less weight.
Weight During Strict Chin-Ups
Aside from the portion of your hands that are wrapped around the chin-up bar, your entire body hangs below. Therefore, the amount of weight you pull is almost equal to how much you weigh. This also applies to pullups -- the overhand grip version of the chin-up. With both variations, grasp the bar with a shoulder-width grip and pull yourself up until your head is above the bar. Do this without swinging the lower body, which will provide momentum and make the move easier.
Use Machines For Less Weight
Assisted chin-up machines can be found in some health clubs and allow you decide how much of your body weight you would like to pull. Do this by choosing the weight you would like the equipment to push down to help pull yourself up. If you weigh 135 pounds and select 35 pounds to be pushed down, that 35 pounds of force will be the amount of assistance you receive on your repetitions. Thus, you will only pull 100 pounds in this case.
Alternative Methods For Simplifications
If no machine is available, tie a hanging band to the top of the bar and place your knees in the loop. More tension yields more assistance in the movement. You may also have a partner assist you by by pushing you up slightly to remove some of the weight you pull. Lastly, if the bar is low enough, make the exercise a bit easier by having your feet on the ground. Push off as necessary to be able to complete the exercise, while still rendering it challenging. Unfortunately, when using the aforementioned methods, it is difficult to measure the exact weight you pull, as opposed to the machine variation.
For the more advanced, body-weight chin-ups may not be enough. In order to make the exercise more difficult, hold a desired amount of weight between your ankles throughout the movement, or wear a weighted vest. There are weight belts with chains that allow you to attach weighted plates and dumbbells to the belt. One of the advantages of the belt is that it will be easier for you to microload the amount of load that you use. In other words, dumbbells generally come in five pound increments. However, most health clubs have 2.5 pound weighted plates, allowing you to make smaller jumps in resistance.
Do not attempt to increase the difficulty of the exercise if you are struggling with the simpler versions. Use the easier variations to practice proper form. Warm up and stretch prior to weight training of any sort. Seek guidance from trainers or coaches if unsure of your technique to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts and prevent any injuries.