Men Over 40 Can Use This Super Effective Seated Variation to Perfect Their Chinups

·2 min read

Trainer, author, and fitness model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.

There are few more worthwhile—and challenging—bodyweight exercises than chinups and pullups. Especially if it's been more than a few years since your schoolyard days on the jungle gym, the simple pulling exercise can be particularly tough to do properly. Instead of being macho and jumping straight up to a bar to eke out a few shaky reps, this variation can help you to reestablish a baseline of strength, train technique, and give you an opportunity to add a load if you're already able to pull your own weight. The seated weighted chinup may be ideal for you.

To start, grab a light dumbbell and find a Smith Machine or a power rack so you’re able to adjust the height of the bar. Sit underneath the bar with your legs extended on the floor and squeeze the dumbbell between your thighs. The weight is more than just additional load here; squeezing the dumbbell will force you to activate your core as you do the chinup. That's a key component most guys miss when they do standard reps, where core engagement and body control should be paramount.

Reach up and grab the bar with an underhand (supinated) grip. To start, bar should be at a height where you can fully extend your elbows with your glutes resting on the floor. Pull yourself up and get your chin over the bar, with your legs elevated off the floor. Hold for a moment at the top, then slowly lower yourself back down so your butt is back on the ground. That’s one rep.

Shoulder mobility is one of the keys with the seated weighted chinup. You don’t want to excessively lean back to change your spine angle so the reps are easier. Hamstring flexibility may be an issue for you, too—if you struggle to fully extend your knees when pulling your body upward, it's okay if your knees are slightly bent as long as your feet are off the floor.

All in all, as you will see, the seated weighted chinup is much more than just a biceps and back-building exercise, which is how most men think of chinups. Core engagement is key—you'll get your forearms, biceps, lats, hip flexors, quads, and abs firing at the same time.

Start moderately with this exercise, especially if you haven't done a chinup in a while. I especially suggest stretching and warming up your shoulders and hamstrings before sliding under the bar. Try three sets of four to five reps to start, pausing between each rep to reset, and work on increasing the load and adjusting the height of the bar over time.

You Might Also Like