Updated date:

30 Day Pull Up Challenge. Pull Ups and Chin Ups. Before and After Results.

Author:

I motivate myself to exercise almost every day by doing 30-day challenges. Now it is easy to stay motivated.

Pull Ups vs Chin Ups

Pull ups are done at a wide grip with the palms facing away from you. Chin ups are done with palms facing you. The hands are closer together. Both exercises work your back and biceps. Using a wide grip is better for strengthening your back. For a better bicep workout do narrow grip chin ups. One is not better than the other. You should be doing both. Do a set of pull ups then do a set of chin ups.

Both exercises work the arms, back and shoulders. Doing chin ups was easier. I could feel and see that it was a better exercise for working out my biceps. Neutral grip pull ups are done with the palms facing each other. They are easier on your shoulders and wrists.

Palms face away for pull ups, towards you for chin ups.

Pull up and chin up.

Pull up and chin up.

Progression

Pull-ups are one of the most difficult bodyweight exercises. You are lifting your body weight and your back muscle are doing most of the work. Chin ups are easier because you get more help from your biceps. Before you try pulling up your body I recommend doing some dumbbell rows and bicep curls. Strengthen your biceps, shoulders and back first.

If you still can't do them then do negative reps. Skip the part where you pull yourself up and focus on slowly lowering yourself down. Doing negative reps can be a good way to increase your strength. Instead of pulling yourself up stand on something like a chair. Get in the raised position then bend your knees so your feet are in the air. Do negative reps until you can pull yourself up.

Chin ups are easier. So try them first. Wide grip pull-ups are harder. Try them after you can do shoulder width pull-ups. Maintain a slow steady pace and try not to swing your legs. Stop or switch to an easier variation when you can no longer maintain good form. Cheating does not help you build muscle.

Pull Up Bars

Like weights a pull up bar costs money and it takes up space. However the bars are fairly small and light. It would be easy to move and could probably put it under your bed. The cost is fairly low because your body provides the weight. You could get a good one for around $30 that can handle over 200 pounds of weight. Most door frames can handle 300 pounds.

You may be worried about breaking your door frame. Lots of people use pull up bars. The walls and door frame look the same as they did before I started using the bar. To be safe and for a better workout I recommend using it where you don't mind if it damages your wall a tiny bit. In my opinion the main drawback to using a bar is that it seems like you could be damaging your wall or door frame.

As a more expensive alternative you could get a pull up tower. Another alternative would be to look for something you could use for free. Anything you could safely do the workouts on would work. If your bar has handles that extend towards you then you could do neutral grip pull ups. They are good for working out your back, biceps and elbow muscles.

Pull up bar with protruding handles for neutral grip pull ups.

Pull up bar with protruding handles for neutral grip pull ups.

Pick A Grip

For most of the challenge I gripped between the protruding pull up bar handles.

PalmsHands

facing away

wide grip

facing you

shoulder width

facing each other

narrow grip

30 Day Challenge

For this challenge do 10 pull ups and 10 chin ups a day in sets of 5 for 30 days. You might want to include 10 neutral grip pull ups. The main goals of this challenge are to get better at doing the exercises and to see the results. I wanted to know if it would be enough to change my appearance. Like most 30 day workout challenges you should take 1 or 2 days off each week to recover.

If you have trouble then start with easier variations like negative pull ups. You can increase the difficulty by doing two or more sets together or increasing the weight. A good way to increase the weight is to increase your body weight by building muscle. Modify the workouts so it difficult but possible. Pull ups are hard to do because you are lifting your body weight. So a small number of reps should be enough to build muscle for most people. Try to work up to doing sets of 10.

  • 5 pull ups
  • 5 chin ups
  • 5 pull ups
  • 5 chin ups

After doing this challenge for 30 days you can increase the difficulty and start again.

Pull Up Challenge Results

When I started the challenge I struggled to do 5 partial pull ups in a row. They were partial reps because I could not get my chin above the bar. As I became stronger I was able to improve my form and get my chin above the bar. Doing chin ups was difficult but they were easier than pull ups.

The first week I gave myself lots of time to recover between sets. During the second week I started doing pull ups and chin ups together. I did 2 sets of 5 twice a day. The third week I started doing it as one workout. Ten pull ups in a row followed by two sets of 5 chin ups. After 27 days I was doing 2 sets of 10.

One of the things I liked about this challenge was that doing chin ups felt good. It made me feel strong and powerful. Doing difficult things can hurt and feel good at the same time. A shirt was ripped during this challenge. You might want to wear an old shirt or go shirtless. I started taking my shirt off before doing these exercises.

Thirty days later I felt lighter when pulling myself up. The first few reps were easy but doing 10 in a row was still difficult. When doing two sets of 10 in a row together I needed to rest for a minute between sets. So I added 50 calf raises to the workout. My back muscles became bigger and more noticeable. The workouts also increased the size of my biceps a little.

Based on my results I recommend doing this challenge more than once. I increased my strength and changed my appearance but 30 days was not enough time to get the results I wanted. After a few days off I started doing this challenge again.

Before, after 30 days and after 60 days of pull ups.

Before, after 30 days and after 60 days of pull ups.

Bigger biceps from doing chin ups.

Bigger biceps from doing chin ups.

Other Challenges

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Michael H