The Nerd Fitness Chin-Up Challenge!

One arm pull-ups would be a great bodyweight exercise, but let's start you off with something easier.

Nerd Fitness is hosting a chin-up challenge and you’re invited!

Here are the deets:

  • What? We want you to complete your first chin-up under our watch! Don’t worry, you can participate even if you can already do a chin-up. We’ll make you stronger no matter what your current strength level is.
  • How long? We have a seven-week mission to level-up your “pull” muscles.
  • When? We’ll start our initial benchmark test the week of July 28th. Seven weeks later, on September 12th, we’ll do our final test.
  • How much? It’s free! (Although we’ll be doing weekly training with Nerd Fitness Prime members…more on this below.)
  • What do I need? We do strongly recommend a pull-up bar to take part in our challenge, though we’ll discuss plenty of alternatives. Here’s one you can check out. This one would work well too.

To sign-up, enter your email below and we’ll keep you updated on all relevant information:

[inf_infusionsoft_inline optin_id=”optin_4″]

What Should I do First?


Important note: when you reach your limit on one of these levels, stop the benchmark test.

Say you make it to Level 3 for three seconds. Write that down and stop performing the tests. We now know your level at the start of the challenge, which is our goal today.

Level 1-3 Benchmarks: Hanging With Feet on Ground

For our first level, we’re going to have you hang with your feet still attached to your home: the Earth.

You can do this from a pull-up bar, or you can even lean back from a doorway:

We’re looking to have you hang for:

  • 10 seconds (Level 1)
  • 30 seconds (Level 2)
  • 60 seconds (Level 3)

That’s it. Nothing fancy, just hanging to engage your muscles.

If you find your edge during this first benchmark, no problem. Record your time and we’ll work to improve this over the weeks ahead.

If you could hang for one full minute, we’re off to the next level!

Level 4-6 Benchmarks: Hanging With Feet Off the Ground

It’s now time to leave the safety of the floor.

Levels 4-6 will look exactly like Levels 1-3, but without the support of your feet:

  • 10 seconds (Level 4)
  • 30 seconds (Level 5)
  • 60 seconds (Level 6)

If you don’t have a pull-up bar, check out this video for some replacement ideas.

Same idea as before: record how long you were able to hold with your feet off the ground.

This will definitely be tougher than hanging with leg support, so don’t worry if you’re forced to let go.

Once you can hang for a full minute, it’s time to take you to the top.

Level 7 & 8 Benchmarks: Hanging at the Top of the Bar

We’re now going have you hang from the top of a chin-up position.

This will really engage your “pull” muscles as you maintain your height:

For Levels 7 and 8, we want to see how long you can stay up:

  • 5 seconds   (Level 7)
  • 10 seconds (Level 8)

We’re maxing out at 10 seconds here, because this can really be tough.

Once again, record where you are, and when you make it to 10 full seconds of hanging on top, it’s off to Level 9!

Level 9 & 10 Benchmarks: Negative Chin-ups

A negative chin-up is where you start at the top of a chin-up and slowly bring yourself back down.

Coach Staci showing you how to perform a negative chin up

This is going to train all the muscles you would in a regular chin-up.

For Levels 9 and 10, we want to see if you can slowly bring yourself down for 10 seconds.

Our benchmarks will be:

  • 5 seconds   (Level 9)
  • 10 seconds (Level 10)

Record where you are and we’ll work to improve it from here.

Did you make it the full 10 seconds. Well, let’s just try…

Level 11: The Chin-up

At this point, see if you can do a chin-up! You’ve got nothing to lose.

Start from a hanging position at the bottom and work to pull yourself up!

That’s our ultimate benchmark for this challenge.

If you’re not even close to Level 10, no problem!

Throughout the Chin-up Challenge, our goal will be to improve your hang time and get you to the next level. We’re trying to improve YOUR chin-up abilities, no matter where you are today.

What’s going on in Nerd Fitness Prime?

For Nerd Fitness Prime Members, Coach Jim will be leading a three times a week training program for 7 weeks.

If you’re curious on what gives Jim “chin-up instructor credentials,” this should do it:

Don’t worry, you’ll be able to use both hands. 

Our training will cover:

  • Weekly programmed workouts (including video tutorials) for all experience levels.
  • How to complete chin-ups with only home equipment.
  • When to progress to the next level of workouts.
  • How to incorporate chin-ups into a full-body strength training workout.
  • And much more!

You can take a sneak peek right here, where Coach Jim walks you through alternatives if you don’t have a pull-up bar:

Plus, we might even let you play with the new app we are building…

But that’s not the only fun thing going on in NF Prime.

Coach Jim and Staci walk you through a preview of all the excitement right here:

If you are interested in having a specific chin-up training program to follow for the challenge, experts to ask if you have questions, and accountability from a supportive community…

Now’s the time to join us in NF Prime!

Note: the training starts the week of July 27th, 2020, but all sessions are recorded so you can follow along at your leisure.

Nerd Fitness Chin-Up Resources

If you’re interested in training on your own, we got you covered.

Here are some Nerd Fitness chin-up resources to prepare for our challenge:

  • Get Your First Chin-Up (30 Day Progression Plan)this guide will provide you with 6 levels of workouts so you can achieve your first chin-up. We’ll start with simple row exercises, progressing all the way to hoisting yourself above the bar. If you don’t know where to start, start here.
  • How to Do a Proper Chin-UpWhat’s the difference between a chin-up and a pull-up? What should you do after completing your first chin-up? We cover all that and more in this guide.
  • The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises: chin-ups are super awesome and the focus of our seven-week challenge. But you can’t just train your “pull” muscles. We’ll walk you through building a complete and full-body workout in this guide, and we’ll make sure to include your new chin-up abilities.

Nerd Fitness Chin-Up CLub Merch

Lauren rocking the Chin-Up Club shirt

Any halfway decent club is going to have shirts for its members – and we’re at least 3/4 decent!

Order your shirts and tanks right here. Naturally, there are a few sleeveless options.

Whether you’ve just got your first chin-up, or need sweet workout gear to help you on your quest, we got your covered!

SUBMIT Your Results to the Chin-up Challenge:

Chin-up Challenge Submission Form
*City, State, or Country...whatever you feel comfortable sharing.
Drop a file here or click to upload Choose File
Maximum upload size: 5.12MB
*Note, if you submit you give Nerd Fitness permission to share this picture or video in future promotional material.


*That super cool LEGO photo at the top is from Four Bricks Tall*