How to Achieve Your First Chin-Up


Setting fitness goals is a good way to stay motivated because it teaches you to physically challenge yourself. It also puts you in a different mindset compared to when your only goal is getting in shape for bathing suit season. For example, maybe you’re looking to achieve your first chin-up because you want to get stronger—and look like a bad ass doing it. First, there are a few things you need to know before achieving this feat. Women tend to have a harder time performing chin-ups because biologically we have smaller upper body muscles than men. If getting your chin over that bar is one of your goals, have no fear! Just because it’s easier for men, doesn’t mean it’s impossible for women. “Chin-ups are important for women to master because they help improve upper body strength, shoulder mobility and allow the joint to maintain proper alignment to reduce stress on the rotator cuff,“ explains personal trainer, Colin Remillard.  Additionally, he says that chin-ups are a good way to develop strong healthy shoulders. “So many people do a lot of pushing movements with their shoulders like shoulder presses and front raises, but many who don’t do enough to strengthen that pulling motion will eventually lead to shoulder pain or possible injury,“ he elaborates.

But before you hop up on the bar, there are some other key things to know. “Don’t neglect building strength in your other exercises,” warns Remillard. That means getting stronger in your squats, deadlifts, and push-ups. Remillard suggests doing chin-ups at the beginning of your workout when you are most fresh, but advises against some people adding this exercise to their workout.

He says, “The people who should avoid chin ups are anyone who has shoulder or elbow pain.“ A good way to test this out is by seeing if you can get your arms overhead without pain. If you pass this test then you’re a good candidate for chin-ups. In order to hit your goal of achieving chin-ups, follow this workout regimen Remillard created specifically for HipLatina. Practice these exercises regularly in addition to your other training.

30 Second Plank

“The first thing you need to be able to do is hold strong through the core, because having a weak core will not allow you to properly use the lats (the main muscle used to pull),“ explains Remillard. In order to determine if your core is solid, you should be able to hold a strong plank for 30 seconds. “The plank elbows should be bent at 90 degrees and under the shoulders, press the elbows into the floor, and without moving try to slide the floor towards your hips with your elbows, engage the abs and think of pulling the ribs in towards your spine, squeeze the glutes and thighs.“ instructs Remillard. 

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Hollow Body Hold

The hollow body hold is a core exercise that is done on the ground. “This is a basic core strength exercise that is used by gymnasts, with a dowel in their hands,” Remillard explains. This exercise can be best described as an “upside down plank,” which forces you to brace your core.  “In the hollow position, lay on your back with your hands overhead with a dowel in your hands, cross your feet and press your ankles together, flex your abs and glutes, and let your shoulders and legs come off the ground so you are laying on your low back and have a slightly flexed spine,” describes Remillard. He suggests holding the hollow hold for three sets of 30 seconds, and should be done during each workout three to five times a week after your warm up.

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