How to Do Your First Chinup

p2This week I’m going to share with you my one brush with “celebrity trainer status” and show you how I taught a Hollywood actress to do her first chin-up.

The story starts back in the spring of 2006, when I got an email from strength coach, Mike Boyle. His friend, celebrity trainer Valerie Waters had a client coming to shoot a movie in Toronto and they needed someone to train her.

The actress’ name was Rachel Nichols (she was in GI Joe this year).

Rachel turned out to be one of the coolest girls in the world, and we trained 2-3 times per week while she filmed, “P2” (you can see an action shot of her in that movie above). Also, Rachel and I thought it would be fun to train her for a chin-up, so you’ll get her workouts this week.

It doesn’t matter if you are a guy or a gal, these workouts will work for you.chinup-female1

By the way, there are 3 months left in the year…Lets see what you can do!

It’s a 90 day countdown. You can do the impossible – and achieve fat loss over the holiday season. Get started today!

Click here to listen to this week’s Chin-up and Fat Loss coaching call

Monday – Oct 5

Transformation Tip of the Week:

Everyday you will be tempted to fall back on old bad habits. You must do everything you can to resist that.  Add a new healthy habit each day replacing an old unhealthy habit.  Remember that the pleasure of eating lasts for only a short while, but you inhabit your body 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for life.

Now for the workout that helped my favorite Hollywood starlet do her first chin-up…

Workout A – TT Female Strength

1A) Bodyweight Row (3xAMAP) 2-0-1
1B) 1-leg Deadlift (3×8) 3-1-1

2A) DB Step-up (3×8) 3-0-1
2B) Stability Ball Rollout (3×12) 3-0-1

3A) 1-Leg Ball Jackknife (3×8) 1-0-1
3B) Ball Hip Extension Plus Ball Leg Curl (3×12) 2-0-1

Optional Interval Workout A

30 minutes of fun activity.

For Rachel, it meant filming all night (from 10pm to 6am) in an underground parking lot in Toronto. *Fun*. She would come in with some pretty nasty bruises from filming because her character was kidnapped and had a few fight/struggle scenes in the movie. One night she fell pretty hard on the parking lot floor and got banged up real good…but she still trained hard.

Now here’s another transformation tip for you…cardio workout

Depending on the calorie counters on cardio confessional machines is the biggest fraud in fat loss today.

Don’t believe that you can just go “burn off a big meal”. It’s impossible to win with that thinking.   Focus on building your body up with Turbulence Training, rather than tearing your body down with repetitive cardio.


Workout B – TT Female Strength

**1A) Assisted Chin-up (3×6) 2-0-1
1B) Split Squat with Front Foot Elevated (3×8) 2-1-1

2A) Push-ups (3xAMAP) 3-0-1
2B) 1-leg RDL (3×8) 2-0-1

3A) Ball Jackknife (3×12) 2-0-1
3B) WYLIT (3×15) 1-0-1

(NOTE: Recent research found that the Stability Ball Jackknife exercise resulted in the greatest amount of lower abdominal activation of the tested abs exercises.)abs exercises

Optional Interval Workout B

After 4 weeks, Rachel re-tested her strength and did her first chin-up.

“Craig’s workouts were fun and challenging – I didn’t dread going to the gym and I wasn’t overly sore after our sessions. Much like my trainer in LA, Craig’s workouts were always different: the exercises, the supersets, the weights…the combination of elements always varied and, therefore, I never got bored or felt like I was in a workout rut. And my co-stars couldn’t believe how great my arms looked, thanks to Craig helping me do my first chin-up. Thanks Craig!”
Rachel Nichols, Actress, Model

**There are lots of ways to do assisted chin-ups. Rachel and I used everything from the Gravitron machine to me giving her a boost on the way to doing just slow eccentrics on the way down. We didn’t use a lot of eccentrics because we didn’t want her to get too sore, though.

NOTE: Remember, all of those methods are good…but if you still have a lot of body fat, simply losing fat will be the fastest way of helping you do a chin-up.

30 minutes of fun activity.

And remember…It is a research proven fact that the more you write down what you eat the more weight you will lose. Plus, when you get accountability and social support through Facebook, Twitter, and TT Members, you’ll think twice before going into McDonald’s for lunch.


Rachel’s program was an A-B workout split, so I need to add a new workout here for you…

Let’s go over my other brush with “fame”, and talk about the 300 workout.

Now just to be clear…I did NOT create this workout. However, when Men’s Health magazine published this workout in 2006, they forgot to include photos of some of the weird exercises…so they asked me to film a video demonstration.

I did..and that video has been viewed over 1.1 million times on Youtube.

The 300 Workout goes like this…

– First you will start with 25 Pull-ups using your bodyweight and as few of sets as possible.

– Then you move directly into a Deadlift for 50 repetitions.

– After that, you’ll do 50 Push-ups.

– Once you’ve completed that exercise, then you’ll do 50 Box Jumps on a 24″ platform.

– Next, is 50 Floor Wipers. To perform this exercise, lie on your back while holding a barbell with arms extended. Next, bring your feet up to each side, making sure your feet touch down each time in the middle between sides. That counts as one repetition.

– After the Floor Wipers, you’ll do 25 repetitions of Kettlebell Clean Presses for each arm, making sure to touch the kettlebell to the floor in between each repetition.

– Then you finish with 25 more Pull-ups.

Social Support Saturday!
30 minutes of fun activity…and then I want you to “Be a role model!”

Be LOUD and PROUD of what you are doing to lose fat and improve your health.

There are more folks secretly wishing someone will take charge and be a healthy role model for them. It might not happen overnight, but if you continue to lead by healthy example – without preaching or being condescending – you can build an entourage of social support and people who want to be healthy like you.

Sunday – Plan, Shop & Prepare
30 minutes activity and then plan, shop, & prepare.

Plan your day. Plan your meals. Plan your workday.

The more you plan, the better you will succeed.untitled

Next week!
– TT Fusion 2K6
– More nutrition tips from my trip…

Have a fat burning week,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS – Let me know when you do your first chin-up!