Many of us have a gym Achilles’ heel – something we’d love to be able to pull off (or pull up), but can’t quite master. It can be frustrating, especially when fellow gym goers seem to make it look like a stroll in the park. But when it comes to mastering a tricky move, a few small tweaks to your technique can make a big difference.
“The best way to nail difficult exercises is to break them down into components, practise them and build up to the final move or pose,” explains exercise physiologist Dana Rader. “Don’t attempt too much too soon; you’re much better off doing a modified version of the exercise and being correctly aligned than potentially injuring yourself.” Here’s how.
Who says we can’t do chin-ups just as well as the boys? Not us. And perfecting this move will give you sexy arms as well as a tighter tummy, toned back and improved posture. But unless you have exceptional upper-body strength, you won’t be able to hit the bar straight away.
Work up to it
“First up, start on a lat pull-down machine,” suggests Rader. “It works the same muscles. When you feel stronger, try an assisted pull-up machine to get the feel for a chin-up. After this, you could have a trainer hold your feet, or use a resistance band, as you attempt a chin-up on the bar. Finally, when you feel comfortable doing this position, you can try a full one. Master your first unassisted chin-up and you’ll feel like a true champion!”
When practising, make sure you have a firm grip on the bar to engage all your muscles – and don’t forget to breathe.