Matt Pack and Mike Fitch, Miami Beach Chin Ups
Matt Pack and Mike Fitch, Chin ups on Miami Beach

One of the coolest things about bodyweight training is that you can do it literally anywhere. With enough creativity you can sculpt a perfectly strong, stable and powerful body using nothing but a few open square feet. However, if you do get the luxury of coming across a chin up bar or an over hanging ledge, I would recommend using it, and using it A LOT!

Muscular/joint balance is key no matter what type of training you prefer. And while you can always do horizontal pushes like PUSH UPS or vertical presses like HANDSTAND PUSH UPS, you have to balance your opposing muscles with some pulls. Horizontal pulls like BODY ROWS or CHIN UPs and PULL UPS! The lat pull down simply does not compare.

So why don’t you see a line of people waiting for their turn on the chin up bar? Because they’re hard! Maybe it’s the flash back to the daunting chin up fitness test from grade school or maybe people just tend to gravitate towards things they are good at (like lat pulldowns). No matter what the reason you’re not doing them, it’s time to start.

But if chins or pull ups aren’t your strong point, check out this video on how to progress your vertical pulling strength from start to finish. This way you can save the embarrassment from using the assisted sissy chin up machine at the gym (which you may see a line for).

We’ve recruited our good friend Matt Pack for the video who is an extremely talented strength coach, nutritional consultant and the owner of Primal Fit Miami. You can find out more about Matt and his unique training styles at

You might also want to check out my four-part series with progressions leading up to the Muscle Up:


Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

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    1. Hey thanks for the comment Bill. I’ve heard convincing arguments on both sides, either way they are both great exercises.

  1. Nicely done! I’ve been waiting for your next post! Now, if it would ever stop raining and get above 50 degrees, I can get back out to work on this progression.

  2. Nice progressions! Definately something I can use in the future. I agree with Bill about these being pull-ups but it doesn’t really matter as long as you are doing them. The video could have been improved by Matt not protruding his chin at the top of the movement and kept his neck in a neutral position.

    1. Hey Matt, glad you found somethings you might be able to use in the future. I have to take responsibility for any flaws in Matt’s form, by the time we reached the last progression in the shooting sequence he had already demonstrated countless reps. Next video i’ll start filming the most demanding moves first!

  3. Nice video, Mike. No matter what you call ’em, chin-ups/pull-ups are my favorite exercise!

    I also love how you referred to a pull-up bar as a “luxury” in that opening paragraph. What a great perspective!

  4. Mike:

    You are like old-schoold Rocky! …With so much focus on technology, I think we forget you can get fit without any of it. Thanks for reminding us that fancy gyms and expensive clothes are not necessary to be fit. Keep it up bro!

    Pete Brawerman

    1. You are so right Pete! We’ve gotten away from the foundations, in search of the magic gadget or pill. It’s empowering to know we already have all of the tools we need. I love those Rocky montages!

  5. Great set of progressions, I am going to use these with a new client. Except for kipping.
    Take it from me, a 40 year old trainer with an impingement in each shoulder, and now doing physical therapy thanks to simply hanging and doing toes-to-bars, which don’t even stress the shoulder as much as kipping:

    1. Hey Alan, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry to hear about your injuries. I agree that Kipping pull ups may not be the best exercise when suffering from shoulder impingement. However, with healthy shoulders, proper technique and a thorough warm up the, Kipping Pull Up can be a powerful exercise. It is also an important lead up exercise when learning the Muscle Up. Good luck with your therapy my friend!

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