The kneeling chin-up is a great alternative to chin-ups and helps improve upper body strength, most notably, the muscles of the mid to upper back and scapular stabilizers. These assisted chin-ups also strengthen the shoulders, arms, and the anterior core. While chin-ups are thought of as an upper body exercise, in order for them to be performed properly, the entire body needs to be working in unison.
These chin-ups for beginners are a perfect option for people who are looking to develop the necessary levels of strength, and stability, to perform unassisted chin-ups, or are already able to do unassisted chin-ups, and want to add in more volume.
To perform this exercise, you need a bar that is in a fixed position. You can set up a barbell in a squat rack, or can use a Smith machine. You can also perform this exercise on rings, or if you are in a playground, low monkey bars.
The kneeling chin-up might be too advanced for beginners. If this is the case, you can start out by performing basic concentric hangs where you are on your knees, engage the muscles in your mid to upper back, scapular stabilizers and arms, and simply hold with your body in the chin-up position. Or, beginners can modify the exercise by starting in a more upright position so the range of motion is less, or they can use more assistance with their legs. Beginners who are able to perform the kneeling chin-up might do 1-3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.
The kneeling chin-up is a great option for lifters with an intermediate level of experience, who have mastered some of the kneeling chin-up variations for beginners that are listed above. Intermediates lifters can progress by performing this exercise using less assistance from their lower body, and can perform more sets and/or reps. They can also make the exercise more advanced by performing kneeling eccentric chin-ups where they lower themselves down in 3-5 seconds.
If an upper body workout is being performed, and the lifters main goal is to improve their ability to perform chin-ups, this exercise should be done towards the beginning their workout when the body is fresh. If a full-body workout is being performed, the kneeling chin-up can be paired with a lower body compound movement (but avoid pairing it with any deadlift variation as both require that your body is in a hinging position), or an upper body pressing movement. You can also make it part of a conditioning circuit. Intermediate lifters might perform 2-4 sets of 5-15 reps.
Women of an advanced fitness level can perform kneeling chin-ups the same way as intermediate lifters. They can also do full unassisted chin-ups. When lifters are able to do this proficiently, they can use additional resistance in the form of a weighted vest or a weight belt.
This exercise provides many chin-up benefits. How a woman chooses to use a kneeling chin-up is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much assistance is being used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, kneeling chin-ups can be used to do any or all of the following:
The kneeling chin-up is a fantastic progression to a regular chin-up because it allows you to give yourself a little support and only as much support as you need. I like it for clients who are working their way to their first chin-up, or maybe clients who can only do a couple of chin-ups. Just to be able to get a little more volume with the movement.
Start in a kneeling position. You can grab whatever suspension trainer you like. Kneel down with your toes tucked underneath you, you should be able to sit all the way down and still reach the rings or whatever you are holding onto. You are going to get your core nice and braced , ribs are down and initiate the movement with your arms. A lot of people want to initiate the movement with their lower body, but again you want to make this as challenging as possible and only use your legs for as much support as you need. As much as you need but as little as possible. Then when you go to pull you are going to pull your shoulder blades back and down you are going to pull with your lats, your elbows are going to stay by your body and then you are going to pull yourself up. It looks like this; You know you are doing it right if you are shaking when you are doing it. Otherwise, you are probably giving yourself a little too much support.
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