The One Arm Chin-up (May 2010)

The one arm chin-up has been my favorite feat of strength since the first time I ever saw one performed. It’s a beautiful display of strength, power and control. Anyone who can do a one arm chin-up has automatically earned my respect, for to perform this move takes discipline, patience and determination.

No matter how strong you are, you simply cannot acquire this skill without lots and lots of practice. In previous posts, I’ve discussed some effective techniques to utilize while training for one arm chin-ups , like the archer pull-up and one arm negatives.

Last fall I was still working towards getting a single one arm pull-up. Now, after nearly 3 years of working on this move, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can do two in a row!

Check out the video below for evidence that if you set your mind to something and dedicate yourself to it, you can make it a reality.

8 thoughts on “The One Arm Chin-up (May 2010)

  • By John Danforth -

    As usual very inspiring!

    I've made some good progress on my pull ups so the other day I tried to do some one arm negatives. Let's just say I was extremely humbled. It probably would have made an excellent blooper video. LOL

    I'm glad you put your own personal timeline in this post. It gives hope to those who are fairly new to the journey and lets us know that some of these moves take years to develop.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Thanks, John! I remember my first attempt at a one arm negative and it probably wasn't any prettier than yours. Keep working your pull-ups and try to work towards a one arm flex hang. Try grabbing with both hands, then after you pull yourself up, build up to taking one hand off by taking away one finger at a time.

  • By Parm1990 -

    Hey i can do the oap upto the point were my chin is parrellel to the bar, but i can get it any higher to complete the rep. how wud i get thier?

    • By Ty -

      If you are doing a one-arm-proup, the pronated grip can make it harder to pull higher (this is why sup-ups get associated with chin-ups) and it’s really hard since in the 1-arm pro up your torso usually starts to tilt away from your hand more.

      • By Al Kavadlo -


  • By Al Kavadlo -

    That's the hardest part to get – just keep practicing – it takes time!

  • By Robby Taylor -

    Al, how much carry over do you notice between muscle ups and one arm chins? I know you can do a whole bunch of muscle ups, but only a few one arm chin ups. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the OAC is insanely hard, even for you, it’s just that I know the MU does a good job of building overall upper body strength and joint conditioning. Is it because the OAC is so much harder than the muscle up, or is it because, at a point, it simply requires more specific training to cover the entire range of motion (since the muscle up is only a pull up until the beginning of the transition)? A little of both? I plan on doing controlled ring muscle ups, in conjunction with close grip frenchies and one arm assisted chin ups with the supporting hand holding a towel, and occasionally weighted chin ups, to train for this. Hopefully it won’t take years; I think I can make good progress on this move in a couple of months, and I would be happy to achieve it this year…but if not I will have to keep training, haha!

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      I’d say there is very little carry over from the muscle-up to the one arm chin.

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