I officially owe one of my newer clients a beer. An expensive, fancy beer. “Why?” you ask. Because he did his first ever chin-up today. And his second, third, fourth, and fifth, too. Ever, as in EVER. In his entire life. He’s 26.
How did we get here? Well, Victor came to me about 6 weeks ago, weighing about 130lbs (including beard) and never having lifted before in his life. He started out squatting and deadlifting about 55lbs for 5 reps, pressing about 25lbs for 5 reps, and bench pressing about 45lbs for 5 reps.
In the past 5 weeks all we’ve done – and I mean literally ALL – is worked on those four lifts: Squat, Bench, Deadlift, and Press.
Squat: 55×5 —> 133x5x3
Bench Press: 45×5 —> 75x5x3
Deadlift: 55×5 —> 136×5
Press: 25×5 —> 59×5
Bodyweight: 133 —> 141 (not as much gain as I would like, we are adding more calories)
When we started, he couldn’t even pull himself up 2 inches on a chin up bar. Today, after squatting and pressing new PRs for sets of 5 (though he missed a couple reps on the press), we went back to the chinup bar.
He banged out a set of 3 like a mutherfucking BOSS.
I would like you all to take note of this: during these weeks, we did not work on chin-ups. At all. Not a single rep, other than one time in one of our early sessions testing to see if he could do one, and the same a few weeks later. But chin-ups were not trained at all, ever.
Now, the point here isn’t that chins aren’t important. They are, everyone should do them. But in the hierarchy of the lifts, they come after the big barbell lifts.
Simply because the big barbell lifts are more comprehensive in the stress and adaptation they produce, and sometimes doing them and them alone will enable you to do a chin-up. Not always, but it can happen.
Today, Victor demonstrated this very important training lesson. And earned himself a damn fine beer, Duvel, one of my absolute favorites.
Congrats Victor, we’ll cheers to many PRs to come!