Maximum Strength: Band Assisted Chin-ups

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Q: I recently purchased your new book, Maximum Strength, and I’ve enjoyed reading it. My question is about pullups/chinups. If somebody is not capable of performing one, what do you recommend? Assisted pullups, negatives, pulldowns, or something like that? For that matter, if the reader can’t do a chinup, are they ready for the program and might they be better off with a beginner’s program until they’re capable of doing chinups/pullups?

A: They could still be a good position to do the program; they just might be a bit heavy. If a guy is 250 and can squat 400, bench 300, and deadlift 400 – but not do a chin-up, it’s tough to call him weak!

If this is the case, I would substitute either eccentric-only chin-ups or band-assisted chin-ups. For the former, you’d want to lower to a count of 4 or 5 on each rep. The latter of the two is pictured below. If you can’t do it with a 1-inch band or thinner, definitely start with the eccentric-only version.

All that said, above all else, if you have a training partner, him helping you is the best option – as it most closely accommodates your strength level.