I mentioned recently on my blog that in the past four months since moving to California and starting my new job, I’m still doing a lot of chin-ups on a weekly basis, but I’ve switched to doing all of my chin-ups on the rings.
I’ve always liked the rings a lot, but before I had to hang the rings from the power rack each time, and due to laziness I often just did them from the chin-up bar to save time.
Now that there are rings hanging at all times, it works logistically a lot better for me, and I also like the way chin-ups feel on the rings better than doing them from the bar. They feel better on the elbows, wrists, and shoulders, and I also feel like I can get a better contraction in my upper back at the top, and also flare my elbows more on the eccentric to put more stress on the lats.
But in this post I actually want to share another nifty trick that you can do with the rings to change the feel of the exercise and put more emphasis on the biceps. Because you know, suns out, guns out.
Basically, it’s ring chin-ups with a twist—literally.
Before starting your set, twist the rings outward. This means that if you’re standing underneath the rings looking up at them, you’d twist the left ring counter-clockwise and the right ring clockwise. The more you twist them, the more you’ll feel the exercise in your biceps and the harder it’ll be.
From there, do chin-ups as you normally would but maintain a supinated (underhand) grip the whole set.
This is much easier said than done because the rings are going to want to twist inward, especially towards the bottom of the rep, so you’ll have to work extra hard to maintain the supinated grip position.
Perform the reps in a controlled fashion, especially on the eccentric portion. You’ll notice in the video that I’m not coming quite all the way down at the bottom to a dead-hang position like I normally do with my chin-ups. That’s intentional. You want to use a good range of motion but stop just short of locking the arms at the bottom out to keep constant tension on the biceps.
Twisting the rings at the start of the set is one of those simple little things that can really make a big difference. These will absolutely smoke your biceps.
You can also do this same exercise in reverse, so you’d twist the rings inward at the start of the set. This means if you’re standing underneath the rings looking up at them, you’d twist the left ring clockwise and the right ring counter-clockwise. From there you’d perform pronated (overhand) grip pull-ups. This variation puts added emphasis on the forearms, as the rings are going to want to twist back outward so you’ll have to fight to keep that from happening to maintain the pronated grip position. If you’re looking for some extra forearm work without adding in a specific “grip” exercise, this fits the bill nicely.
Give these variations a try and let me know what you think.
Remember also to subscribe to my You Tube page for more video demos.
I had a new article published on T-Nation today called “Finding Your Big 3 Lifts.”
Powerlifting is based around the idea of improving the “Big 3”: the bench press, squat, and deadlift. I really like the idea of having 3-4 main lifts that you focus on, but if you’re not a powerlifter, those particular exercises might not be the best choices for you given your goals, anthropometry, and injury history. Or, they might be. It depends.
This article talks about how to determine what your “Big 3” should be.
You can read it here: http://www.t-nation.com/training/finding-your-big-3-lifts
Enjoy! I’d love to know what you think.
I’ve been doing landmine lateral raises for a little over a year now, and they’ve quickly become one of my favorite shoulder exercises. I’ve also received a lot of really good feedback from people who have tried them and really liked them as well, which is always nice to hear.
So today I want to share a little spin off the regular landmine lateral raise that I call an Eccentric Landmine Lateral Raise, just because it places more emphasis on the eccentric portion of the exercise.
Essentially you “cheat” a little bit on the way up by using a little bit of hip drive and allowing the arm to bend slightly, almost like you’re doing a one arm snatch, albeit much less explosive. Once you’ve gotten the weight up, keep the arm straight and lower down slowly (3-5 seconds-ish).
Now compare that to the original version, which is done in stricter fashion with no hip drive and keeping the arm straight on both the concentric and the eccentric.
I like the eccentric emphasis for a few reasons:
- For a lot of people, the regular version is flat-out too hard, even with an empty bar. This way allows you to use a little momentum to help get the weight up, which is the part of the rep where most people struggle, thereby making it a viable exercise for more people.
- For stronger people, it’s a variation that allows you to go a little heavier than the regular version. It’s not better or worse, just different. I like doing both the eccentric emphasis and the regular version.
Note in the video that I’m not using tons of leg drive or cheating like crazy. This isn’t license to get reckless. You still want to keep it pretty tight and make sure that even though you’re using hip drive, you still stay square and are twisting or rotating your torso. If you can’t do that, or if you can’t control the eccentric, the weight is too heavy.
Also be aware not to overdo the volume. 2-3 sets of eight should be plenty.
For people who can’t overhead press without pain, this could be a great option and will still allow you to crush your shoulders.
As an added bonus, it will also really work your core.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. Remember that you can also subscribe to my You Tube page for more video demos.
While most of my writing is usually actionable training articles, I switched it up and wrote a fun humor piece for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s website that was published yesterday.
It’s a spin off Jeff Foxworthy’s You Might Be a Redneck, only with a weightlifter kick: You Know You’re a Meathead When.
It’s not meant to be taken too seriously, it’s just meant to give you some laughs. I bet if you’re a serious weightlifter that you can relate to a lot of it.
The article has over 8,000 Facebook likes in under a day, so it seems that people are really enjoying it, which makes me happy since that was the goal. I hope you enjoy it, too.
You can find it here:
What are your favorites? What can you relate to most? Let me know!
If you enjoy the article, please share it with your meathead friends and share the laughs.
I had an article published on T-Nation today discussing Reverse 21s, a technique I’ve been using in my own workouts and with some of my clients. I really like it and think/hope you will too.
Rather than re-explain it, I’ll just link to the article so you can check it out.
I’m actually off to the gym now to lift and plan on doing some reverse 21s for chin-ups and lateral raises.
Hope you’re having a good week so far.
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