How Women Can Build Practical Upper Body Strength at Home (Without Weights)

Are you stuck trying to get your first chin-up? Frustrated you can’t build more upper body strength, no matter how much you work out?

We hear from women all the time who want a stronger back, arms, and shoulders. So we’re going to show you exactly how to build more upper body strength without having to step foot in a gym.

Here’s proof: GMB Client Morgan getting her first chin-up. 👇

“My husband and I found GMB about a year ago and have been having heaps of fun with Elements and Integral Strength since then. We really like how versatile the programs are and how there’s so much support and clear instruction available (and so much of it for free on your website too!).

“We’ve loved challenging ourselves, playing with different movements and seeing real progress over time. Getting that chin-up was a massive achievement for me! 🎉” — Morgan

Now if you’re thinking “there’s no way in hell I could do that!”, I want you to suspend your disbelief for just a second.

A chin-up is a bad ass movement that takes some time to master, but we have a history of proving to people they’re capable of a lot more than they think, even when starting from zero.

🎯 We’ve helped 105,518+ people so far. See what they have to say about their experience.

When you follow our systematic method, you’ll surprise yourself with what your body is capable of. To show you what’s possible, we’ll start with a practical progression and how to train for your first chin-up.

Strength Building in Action: How To Get Your First Chin-Up

Below we have GMB Trainer Rose taking you through a practical progression of how to work toward a chin-up based on your current level of strength.

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Here are the key moves to focus on:

Dead Hang: While supporting your body, grip the bar and let yourself hang. You can make it harder by gradually lowering your body and eventually practice hanging with your feet off the ground. A good goal is to aim to hang from the bar for around 5-10 seconds. From here, you’ll want to move on to activating your lats.Lat Activation: Notice that Rose is pulling her body up ever so slightly. It’s a small movement that yields big results. You want to focus on pulling your shoulders back and down. It doesn’t take a lot of movement to feel your lats and upper back activating.

Once you’re comfortable with these, it’s time to move onto using assistance to improve your chin-ups.

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This progression walks you through doing assisted chin-ups, assisted holds, and then assisted negatives.

Assisted Chin-Ups: This progression helps you get a feel for what a full range of motion chin-up feels like, but you’re in control of how much pulling you have to do because you get to use your legs to make the movement easier.Assisted Holds will help you get comfortable hanging from the bar at the top of the movement without having to pull yourself up, which is probably not possible at this point. Assisted Negatives: Now that you’re comfortable hanging from the top for a moment, you can start to lower yourself down by starting in the top position. With negatives, you want to let yourself down with focus and control. When you do it this way, you’re strengthening your back and arms through the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement.

Now after you get these done, we’re going to work on using negatives without any assistance, which will set you up for your fist chin-up.

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This progression sets you up for doing a full, unassisted chin-up, but take your time with these and make sure you’re confident before you make your first attempt.

Full Jump Negatives are a great way to use your legs to reach the top position without exhausting your arms and lats on the way up. The same idea applies here for the negatives: aim to take it slow and be in control the whole time. Only do as much as you can, and always aim for good form.Half Jump Negatives are the next logical progression. Now you get to use your arms and lats to initiate part of the movement by jumping halfway up and letting your upper body do the rest. Once you’re comfortable doing these and feel in control, it’s only a matter of time before you can do a full chin-up.

If you want to work toward your first chin-up, Integral Strength is the program for you.

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