Tip: The Chin-up/Push-Up Countdown Challenge

Alternate between chin-ups and push-ups, doing twice as many push-ups. Example: Start with 10 chins and 20 push-ups. Goal: 30 chins, 60 push-ups total.

This is a good one to do when you're looking to blast your upper body in a hurry. The following are all done in succession with no rest between exercises:

  • 10 Chins
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 8 Chins
  • 16 Push-ups
  • 6 Chins
  • 12 Push-ups
  • 4 Chins
  • 8 Push-ups
  • 2 Chins
  • 4 Push-ups

You don't have to rush between exercises but there's no dedicated rest periods, so go as soon as you're ready.

In total, it comes out to 30 chin-ups and 60 push-ups. It might not seem that tough on paper, but trust me, it's rough. And can you say "upper body pump"?

All chin-ups are to be done with good form: full range of motion, chin over the bar, no kipping, etc. If you use a little kick towards the end it's not the end of the world, but it shouldn't look like you're having a seizure on the bar. Use whichever grip you like best.

Push-ups are to be done with good form, too: no sagging the hips and you must go all the way down until your chest touches the floor and then come all the way back up.

The first step is just to try to complete the whole thing unbroken without having to stop mid-set on the chin-ups or push-ups. I don't like the idea of trying to improve your time because that usually leads to sloppy form, especially with the chin-ups. Fast chin-ups are typically ugly chin-ups. Instead, add a little bit of weight. Adding weight is always the best form of progression. (I use a 30-pound weight vest in the video.)

If this workout is too much for you at first, you can start at 8 chin-ups and work down, which comes out to 20 chin-ups and 40 push-ups, a much more manageable task. Or start wherever you're able – just make sure to do twice as many push-ups as chin-ups. If chin-ups ain't happening, you can substitute inverted rows. If the push-ups are too easy, elevate your feet.