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Progression To 100lb Weighted Chin-ups

In this post I will lay out a progression you can use to achieve 100lb weighted chin-ups in your training regimen. In the first post in this series I outlined why you would want to use weighted chin-ups in the first place (to build powerful arms and back) and showed some of the results I’ve achieved with them. The weighted chin-up is also a big component of my training recommendations within the Testosterone IO program.

The progression in this post is designed to work for individuals who can consistently do weighted chins with 25lbs or more on their dip belt, for reps.

If you aren’t there yet, or maybe you can’t yet complete 10 reps with bodyweight, then head over to the PART I and follow the plan I outline in terms of getting up to 10 reps on chins before working into this progression.

Note: In my opinion, you do not need to, nor necessarily want to, do these at full lock-out dead hangs. The goal is aesthetic, so if locking out your shoulders, especially as you get higher in weight, puts unnecessary stress on the shoulders then don’t do it – keep the tension before pulling back up.

For those of you who are physically ready for the challenge, let’s get down to business.

100lb+ Weighted Chin-ups

As you progress along the road to building up your weighted chins, you will naturally see muscle gain in the right areas because of the progressive strength gain. But, in my opinion, the really noticeable results come when you are at or around the 100lb mark in terms of weight pulled.

For some people this may seem impossible, or at least very far off in the distant future. However, with the right approach, and a plan for steady, progressive strength gain, most guys can achieve this in under 6 months.

This timeline depends on current body weight (obviously it will be more difficult for a guy who is a fit 130lbs than someone who is 170-190, and it will be very difficult for women… but not impossible). For the sake of simplicity, we are going to assume averages here.

The average 5’9 – 6′ tall male is somewhere between 160-190 pounds. I’m also going to use lbs as the measurement for weight (not kgs) because, for whatever reason, we use them here in the US.

The Progression For Working Your Way Up…

This is how you do it.

Most people reading this are probably new to weighted chins (or relatively new). If you’re experienced, you’re probably already doing near or above 100lbs.

Starting this week, incorporate weighted chins into your routine 2x a week, and do the movement when you’re fresh (ie. don’t do it at the very end of your session when you’re already fatigued). 2x a week?

Yes, even if you’re only training 3x a week.

We’re going to take advantage of newbie gains here. One session will be with standard chin up grip (palms facing you), and the other session will be hammer chin grip (palms facing one another).

Sets x reps = 3 x 5

Begin this week at the weight you are used to. Let’s just say it is 25lbs. Do both sessions at 25lbs. Next week, move up between 2.5lbs – 5lbs (for the week).

So you’ll be doing 27.5 – 30lbs for both sessions. The week after, go up another 2.5-5lbs. So 30-32.5lbs total.

The week after that, don’t do weighted chins. Spend that week doing complimentary training in their stead: like pullups, bodyweight chins, rows, and deadlifts. So this is the progression so far:

  • Week 1: weight
  • Week 2: add 2.5-5lbs
  • Week 3: add another 2.5-5lbs
  • Week 4: chill, do complimentary movements to recover while still building up strength in a similar motion pattern

That’s a four week cycle. For the next four week cycle, you will do the same thing. Now you will begin the four week cycle at the weight you were pulling during week 2 in the previous cycle. The next cycle will look like this:

  • Week 1: weight from previous cycle’s “Week 2″
  • Week 2: add 2.5-5lbs
  • Week 3: add another 2.5-5lbs
  • Week 4: chill, do complimentary movements to recover while still building up strength in a similar motion pattern

Then you just continue this pattern until you’re up to 100lbs or more.

The fourth week as a down week is pretty vital to continual progress here. Weighted chins, especially as they get heavier and heavier, are pretty taxing on the nervous system and you must build in a recovery period if you want to make steady gains indefinitely.

For some people, it may be quite easy to get up to 100lbs within the first couple weeks. Anybody with experience doing street workout, calisthenics, gymnastics, and/or just could at pulling really hard in general should be able to build up within one or two cycles of focused effort. But having this recovery/complimentary period every fourth week will allow for your body to recover.

I’ve personally found it difficult to continue making steady progress if I don’t take this 4th week as a chill week.

As of this writing: I am doing 135lbs for reps with my 1RM
just under 180lbs, so this progression works for me too.

Next week I am going to detail out an article of how to use weighted chins and assisted one arm chins/pullups to do one arm chin/pullups. The weighted chin up is a powerful tool for building strength to do more complicated movements.