When I was training high school guys, it’s a situation you get them early on in their training career, and you can kind of set them on the path you want them to go. Sometimes I do one-off sessions with certain athletes now, they just come for a workout with their friend or something, and so realistically, you’re not really going to make any significant change.
But it’s crazy to me, a lot of really high-level guys can’t do a single chin-up and they’re a top-level athlete, so all I chalk that up to is, they just never do them. Because there’s other guys that have done in their whole life, and I’ve seen guys knock off 15 good ones. I had a guy do five reps with 50 pounds on his waist. Maybe actually even a little bit more. Those are the people that I’ve done them their whole life. I think it’s really important at a young age to set the foundation.
Along those lines, not only can some people not be good chin ups, they can’t even do a good push up. I think push-ups, pull ups, chin ups, every grip, I don’t think the grip matters too much personally, but is really good to do early on. And the guys that did them when they were younger sticks with you, you know? I think it’s important. Similarly a full range of motion, because chin ups are undoubtedly harder when you have super long arms, but again harder is an excuse not to do it it’s just harder. You might need to work at it more, do eccentrics or assisted reps and things in the beginning but I do think that good push-ups and pull ups are very important to set a good foundation.
Upper body-wise I’m pretty vanilla as far as dumbbell press. I have no problem with the bench press. I think some people don’t want the bench press but assuming people have good shoulders I have no problem with bench press. Dumbbell press we do with a neutral grip just to be different than the barbell press. I do a lot of, again landmine pressing, which are sort of a hybrid incline overhead press. And assuming they have good at shoulder mobility, I also have no problems with an overhead press, but that sometimes is a work in progress got to work on the mobility first.
Great first progression for chin-ups: Eccentric Chin-ups
Think regular push-ups are too easy? Try these 5 variations: 5 Advanced Push-ups
Great alternative for overhead pressing: Incline Overhead Press/Lever Press
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