So you want to shake up your workout—we get it, the same old basic moves get stale after the thousandth rep. But do you think you would be able to handle an injection of chaos? You’ll either step up to the challenge, or go back to those vanilla workouts happy now that you know what else you could be putting yourself through.
This super-tough chin-up variation from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. might just look like a party trick, but it brings a lot more value to the bar than you might expect.
“This is a challenge-level move that’s actually super-useful for helping you master your pull-up and chin-up form and erase all energy leaks… if you can handle it,” says Samuel.
There’s logic behind this chaotic challenge, according to Samuel. He explains:
“When we do chin-ups and pull-ups, we tend to over-prioritise getting our head to the bar, and we do whatever we have to do get there. This often manifests in some degree of kip or hip rock, whether you’re a CrossFitter or not. That momentum generation prevents you from challenging your body to generate maximum vertical pulling force from the lats, biceps, and mid-back support muscles, and it leads to a lose and sloppy core. Basically, you’re working when you do standard pull-ups and chin-ups, but you’re not working as hard as you could be.
“That’s where the chaos band comes in. Resistance bands across a span essentially allow us to create an aerial BOSU, a super unstable anchor for our fitness. If you rock and kip and cheat, the unstable band is going to flop all over the place, essentially penalising you for generating momentum in forward or rotational planes. Your focus here must be on a single thing: Pulling directly upwards. You have to focus on control and muscle control to do these right. You also need to lower with complete control; forget the eccentric here, and the band, again, will reflect that and create an excessive amount of bounce.”
To take on the chaos band L-sit pull-up, you’ll need a strong resistance band. Check out this option from Serious Steel if you need a set.
See the full workout below.
- Loop a strong resistance band around a weight rack.
- Stand below the band and grab it with both hands, shoulder-width apart, with a supinated (underhand) grip.
- Lift your legs of the ground in an L position and hang, waiting to eliminate any bouncing or instability.
- Squeeze your back and biceps to perform a chin-up. Each rep should be deliberate, with pauses between, to avoid energy leaks.
This can be scaled more than you think, too. Add more bands, or thicker bands to make it easier and closer to a standard bar. Fewer bands will make it more challenging. Always test the band on the first rep to see exactly what it can handle.
If you can handle the chaos band L-sit challenge, 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps is a good starting point. You’ll be taking your time on the reps either way, so don’t be surprised if that handful of reps winds up equating to 20 seconds of time-under-tension.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health