Take the Chin-Up Challenge

Chinups can efficiently build your back and arms. As you become better at this test, you're increasing your athletic ability, says Martin Rooney, P.T., C.S.C.S., the author of Ultimate Warrior Workouts. (Learn 10 more ways to assess your fitness level.)

The Test:

Do as many chinups as you can in 3 minutes


1. Begin in the hanging position, with your feet off the floor.

2. For a rep to count, raise your chin above the bar and then lower yourself until your arms are straight.

3. Set whatever pace you prefer. Rooney's advice: When you're about to fail at a rep, rest 20 to 30 seconds. Then do sets of 1 or 2 reps in order to avoid working your muscles to complete failure.

How You Did:

19 chinups: Below average
20-29 chinups: Average
30-39 chinups: Good
40-49 chinups: Excellent
50 or more: Extraordinary

If you struggled...

Uncover nine secrets for bigger, stronger muscles—and follow this routine:

1. Raise your chin above the bar, hold for 10 to 20 seconds, and lower. Do this 3 to 5 times. Once you can stay up longer than 20 seconds, add weight: Hold a dumbbell with your legs or wear a weighted vest.

2. Try negatives: Start with your chin above the bar, and then slowly lower yourself. Take 5 to 10 seconds. Complete 3 sets of 5 or 6 reps.

3. Use Rooney's improvement plan (below). Perform the routine once a week for 4 weeks. Then take 5 days off and give the test another try.

Week  Sets  Chinups  Rest between sets
1        4        6            2 min.
2        5        6           90 sec.
3        4        8           1 min.
4        4      10+         1 min.

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