Operation Chin-up 2018 - A guide to achieving your first chin-up and beyond!

Operation Chin-up: 2018




About the program:

The ability to pull your own weight is one of the foundational steps of mastering body control.  For many this task may seem daunting afterall, about 90% of the general population is unable to perform a chin up.  This is a plan mapped out for each individual to achieve their desired body weight chin-ups in 2018.  Thinking outside the box, and trying to target the weak links of the chin-up out is a major component of this program, so don’t be surprised by the fact that you aren’t just doing pull ups this entire program.  Keep in mind that body composition does play a part in your ability to do a pull-up or chin-up, coming up with a plan alongside this training plan to reduce body fat will be an important variable to your success.  If you need help with this, please let one of the KORE Trainers know!  (This program has been adapted from Steve Maxwell’s Guide to your first Chin-up)


Performing a perfect chin-up:

What does  a perfect chin up look like?

  1. Grasp the bar with the palms facing you and thumbs wrapped around the bar.  The thumbs should be aligned with the outside edges of the shoulders.  

  2. The upper arm bones should be held down in the sockets, in other words, there should be space between the shoulders and the ears.  

  3. The arms should be fully extended with no bend in the elbow.  

  4. Smoothly, pull your chin over the bar and hold for a one second count then slowly lower back down to an arms lockout position.

  5. If you are going for multiple reps, pause and repeat.

Training tips:

Everyone progresses at their own individual rate; there is not standard time frame in which you “should” master any given exercise.  The serious work of earning the ability to do a chin up comes with patience, diligence, and practice above anything else.  Feel free to adopt the timing of this program to suit your own individual needs but do not move to the next step until you have successfully mastered the current step.  BE PATIENT!

Your training will be conducted on your own at a pace that works ideally for you.  Feel free to seek out help from one of our trainers for clarification of the exercises or to watch your technique as you work to progress through the program. over the next 11 months.   Operation Chin-up 2018 raining sessions will be supplementary to your current training program and can be done either before or after your sessions (ideally before).  

Chin-up Mastery Steps:

  1. The Modified Chin-up

  2. Negative Repetitions

  3. Static Holds

  4. Negative Chin-up with embedded static holds

  5. Partial Repetitions

  6. Attempting a chin-up

Training Progression:

  1. February - March: Modified Chin-up

If you are training at the gym, use bands in the rack and work on slowly weaning your assistance down.  If you are doing your training at home, use a box that you can use your legs to assist your chin-up with.  To progress with legs, elevate the feet so they assist less or switch from two legs to 1 leg.

Goal: Work up to 12 repetitions

Training: 3 x week on non-consecutive days.  Each workout should improve upon the last workout.  

February - March Training Progression

  • Week of Feb 5th: Modified Chin-up training 8 repetitions  3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of Feb 12th: Modified Chin up training 10 repetitions 3x week with band or leg assistance,

  • Week of Feb 19th:  Modified Chin-up training 12 repetitions 3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of Feb 26th: Reduce amount of assistance and drop to 6 repetitions 3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of March 5th: Modified Chin-up training 8 repetitions  3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of March 12th: Modified Chin-up training 10 repetitions  3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of March 19th: Modified Chin-up training 11 repetitions  3x week with band or leg assistance.

  • Week of March 26th: Modified Chin-up training 12 repetitions  3x week with band or leg assistance.

****If by this point you have made it to successfully doing 12 chin-ups with a red band only, move on to step 2.  If you are still using more than a red band, Reduce amount of assistance and drop to 5-6 repetitions 3x week with band or leg assistance and continue this progression until you achieve 12 pull ups with a red band.


  1. April: Negative Repetitions

With the aid of a bench, step up and grp the bar.  Position your chin above the bar and transfer your body weight to your hands as you carefully step off the bench.  Now, steadily lower yourself down over a 5-second count.  For it to be a true rep, when you arrive at the bottom position, the arms must be fully extended.  Shake out your arms and repeat, taking care to lower yourself down with steady control over a 5 second count, until the arms are fully extended.  After finishing your assigned negative repetitions finish your training for the day with 1 set of as many Modified chin ups as you can do.

April Training Progression:

  • Week of April 2nd: Negative repetition training 3 repetitions followed by max reps of modified chin-ups with band or leg assistance 3x week.

  • Week of April 9th: Negative repetition training 4 repetitions followed by max reps of modified chin-ups with band or leg assistance 3x week.

  • Week of April 16th: Negative repetition training 5 repetitions followed by max reps of modified chin-ups with band or leg assistance 3x week.

  • Week of April 23rd: Negative repetition training 6 repetitions followed by max reps of modified chin-ups with band or leg assistance 3x week.


  1. May: Static Holds

This exercise emphasizes the weak points in the chin-up: the top and bottom positions.  

Part 1:Step up on your bench and get into the fully contracted position at the top of the bar.  Your chin is over the bar with the elbows next to the ribs.  The thumbs should align with the outside edges of the shoulders and the forearms are held completely vertical.  Slowly transfer your body weight from your feet to the hands. Make sure to continue to breathe steadily.  Allow your lower body to relax and hang in this static position for as long as possible; time yourself.  When you eventually lose it at the top, slowly lower yourself down again.  Your goal is 1-minute.  Once you’ve completed the static hold, rest for 60-seconds and repeat until you reach a cumulative 1 minute hold.  

Part 2: Step up to the bar and get your grip this time with your arms extended.  Visualize in your mind actually pulling yourself up,  Pull on that bar with an all out effort until your grip gives out.  Rest 60 seconds and repeat.  

Part 3: Finish with a set of max rep modified chin ups (don’t be surprised if your total rep count is lower!)

May Training Progression:

  • Week of April 30th: Static Flexed Arm Holds Part 1: 60 seconds broken up as needed.  Part 2 Static Extended Arm Holds Max effort x 2 record times.  Part 3 Max rep modified chin ups 3x/week.

  • Week of May 7th: Static Flexed Arm Holds Part 1: 60 seconds broken up as needed.  Part 2 Static Extended Arm Holds Max effort x 2 record times.  Part 3 Max rep modified chin ups 3x/week. Beat your times from the previous week,

  • Week of May 14th: Static Flexed Arm Holds Part 1: 60 seconds broken up as needed.  Part 2 Static Extended Arm Holds Max effort x 2 record times.  Part 3 Max rep modified chin ups 3x/week.  Beat your times from the previous week,

  • Week of May 21st: Static Flexed Arm Holds Part 1: 60 seconds broken up as needed.  Part 2 Static Extended Arm Holds Max effort x 2 record times.  Part 3 Max rep modified chin ups 3x/week.  Beat your times from the previous week,

  • Week of May 28th: Static Flexed Arm Holds Part 1: 60 seconds broken up as needed.  Part 2 Static Extended Arm Holds Max effort x 2 record times.  Part 3 Max rep modified chin ups 3x/week.  Beat your times from the previous week,






  1. June: Negative Chin-up with embedded static holds

Here we combine both static and negative strength in the same exercise.  Part 1: Once again, starting from the top position, do a static hold for 10 seconds.  Without letting go, slowly and with control, lower half way (elbows 90 degrees) and continue holding statically for another 10-seconds. Now, without letting go, lower yourself further down to just above the bottom position, keeping the arms just slightly bent; continue pulling hard for another 10 seconds. Release the bar, rest 60 seconds and repeat (don’t be surprised if you cannot hold each position for a full 10 seconds).

Part 2: Complete one max rep set of modified chin-ups

June Training Progression:

  • Week of June 4th: Part 1: Negative Chin up with 2-10 second embedded static holds at 3 positions, rest 60 seconds and repeat. .  Part 2: 1 Set max rep modified chin ups. 3x/week.  Record your hold times. 3x/week.

  • Week of June 11th: Part 1: Negative Chin up with 2-10 second embedded static holds at 3 positions, rest 60 seconds and repeat. .  Part 2: 1 Set max rep modified chin ups. 3x/week.  Improve and record your hold times. 3x/week.

  • Week of June 18th: Part 1: Negative Chin up with 2-10 second embedded static holds at 3 positions, rest 60 seconds and repeat. .  Part 2: 1 Set max rep modified chin ups. 3x/week.  Improve and record your hold times. 3x/week.

  • Week of June 25th: Part 1: Negative Chin up with 2-10 second embedded static holds at 3 positions, rest 60 seconds and repeat. .  Part 2: 1 Set max rep modified chin ups. 3x/week.  Improve and  record your hold times. 3x/week.


  1. July: Partial Repetitions

Here we combine positive repetitions with static holds.  At this point you are very close to performing a full range chin-up.  We’ll divide the chin-up movement into two parts: the top and the bottom positions.  

Part 1: With the aid of the bench, climb up to the top position with the chin over the bar.  Now step off the bar and lower yourself down slowly and with control to the halfway position (elbows 90 degrees) and then pull yourself back up.  This is called the half chin-up.  Perform as many half-chins as possible, then record your number.  Rest 60 seconds.

Part 2: Next hand from the bar at arms length and pull yourself as high as you can or to 90 degrees (don’t worry how high up you can pull yourself, just get as high up as possible each rep without swinging or kicking your legs.  This is called a partial chin-up, emphasizing the pulling action from the bottom.

: Part 3 When you’re finished with the partial reps, rest for 60 seconds then perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  If you can’t complete more than one or two partial reps in the upper half position, return to Step 5 later in the week and increase your hold time to 15 seconds.

July Training Progression:

Week of July 2nd: Part 1: Perform as many Half Chins as possible Part 2: Perform as many partial chin-ups as possible Part 3: Perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  Record your repetitions.  3x/week.

Week of July 9th: Part 1: Perform as many Half Chins as possible Part 2: Perform as many partial chin-ups as possible Part 3: Perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  Increase and record your repetitions  3x/week.

Week of July 16th: Part 1: Perform as many Half Chins as possible Part 2: Perform as many partial chin-ups as possible Part 3: Perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  Increase and record your repetitions 3x/week.

Week of July 23rd: Part 1: Perform as many Half Chins as possible Part 2: Perform as many partial chin-ups as possible Part 3: Perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  Increase and record your repetitions 3x/week.

Week of July 30th: Part 1: Perform as many Half Chins as possible Part 2: Perform as many partial chin-ups as possible Part 3: Perform 1 set of 6 negative repetitions.  Increase and record your repetitions.  3x/week.




  1. August:  Attempt Chin-up

By this point in the game, you are ready to attempt an actual chin up.  We’re going to attempt to bolster your positive attempt with a negative loading (to make the attempt a little easier) The tension generated during the lowering movement will help bring you back up to the top of the bar.

Start by stepping on a box to complete a negative chin, then lower yourself down a little quicker -- approximately 2 seconds.  When you reach the bottom position, quickly reverse directions and pull back up as hard as possible.  Then lower yourself down slowly on a 5 second count relishing in the fact that you just crushed your first chin-up!!!  

If you succeeded in pulling yourself up to the top, awesome!  Don’t stop there.  This needs to be ironed in and not soon forgotten!  Rest 1 minute and repeat up to 4 more times.

August Training Progression:

Week of August 6th: Part 1:  Attempt 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and attempt another pull up.  Finish with 1 set max reps of modified chinups.  3x/week.

Week of August 13th: Part 1:  Attempt 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat 2x.  Finish with 1 set max reps of modified chin ups.  3x/week.

Week of August 20th: Part 1:  Attempt 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat 3x.  Finish with 1 set max reps of modified pull ups.  3x/week.

Week of August 27th: Part 1:  Attempt 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat 4x.  Finish with 1 set max reps of modified chin ups.  3x/week.




  1. September-December:  Chin-up Training

Go to the bar, take a shoulder width grip and pull yourself up.  If your feeling strong repeat for another repetition.  Rest for 60 seconds and try for another set.  If you cannot get a second repetition, perform a set of negative chins with embedded static holds.

September-December Training Progression:

  • Week of  September 3rd: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for  total of 5 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

  • Week of  September 10th: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 6 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

  • Week of  September 17th: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 7 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

  • Week of  September 24th: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 8 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

  • Week of  October 1st: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 9 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  October 8th: Part 1:  Perform 1 Chin-up rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 10 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  October 15th: Part 1:  Perform 2 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 1 chin-up x 3  for a total of 5 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  October 22nd: Part 1:  Perform 2 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 1 chin-up x 4 for a total of 6 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  October 29th: Part 1:  Perform 2 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 2 chin-ups then 1 x 3 for a total of 7 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  November 5th: Part 1:  Perform 2 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 2 chin-ups then 1 x 4 for a total of 8 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  November 12th: Part 1:  Perform 2 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of  8 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  November 19th: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 10 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  November 26th: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 2 chin-ups x3 for a total of 9 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  December 3rd: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 2 chin-ups x 4 for a total of 11 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  December 10th: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 3 chin-ups, then 2x 2 repeat for a total of 10 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  December 17th: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and , repeat 3x for a total of 12 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  December 24th: Part 1:  Perform 3 Chin-ups rest 60 seconds and attempt another 3 chin-ups, repeat 4x for a total of 15 chin-ups.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.

Week of  December 31 Part 1:  Perform Max attempt chin-ups, record your PR.  Part 2: Finish with 1 set of negative chins with embedded 15 second holds at the 3 positions.  3x/week.



Click here to download the pdf with training charts.




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