Let’s jump right in…here is one method for training yourself to be able to do a single arm chin-up.

Start by testing yourself on how many chin ups and pull ups you can do unassisted.  If you can do 5-10+ chin ups, but no pull-ups, set a goal of 5-10 pull ups as a next step before trying the single arm chin up.  

As you incorporate pull-ups and chin-ups into your routine, start changing the grip you use during the pull-ups and chin-ups in order to increase overall strength.  Also, start integrating single arm movements into your weight training routine as well.  Remember to always focus on the target muscle group when performing body weight exercises (it’s very easy to attempt using only the arms during pull-ups and chin-ups).  As I’ve said before, this can be achieved through focus on proper posture, form, and technique.  If you can incorporate proper form and technique into your workout and training, your progress toward a single arm chin up or pull up will be a lot faster.

Incorporating Pull-ups into your workout routine
If I were creating a plan for a client to achieve the single arm chin up, I would use a variety of techniques, starting with the easiest (such as machine assisted pull-up) movement and build around that.  The trick is to take an assessment of what you are actually capable of doing and then build from that point.

For chin-ups, that means having a day or two per week during which you target back muscles and focus on incorporating body weight exercises into each set.  You can vary the type of pull or chin up you do by changing grips, using a towel for a grip, reducing or increasing assistance, challenging total reps achieved, doing single arm weight training exercises, isometric holds, and more.  All of these will work together to build the strength and core control you need to reach your goal.

Personally, my next goal is to do an actual 1 (1 ½) pull-up (instead of chin-up).  If you’re wondering whether or not you are capable of a single arm chin or pull up, don’t worry.  There are plenty of methods for building strength and performing body weight exercises (even if you always use assistance).  Remember to a) vary your grip and hand position, b) use different rep ranges and resistance, c) use different types of grips such as a towel, bar, or rope.  Finally, always keep setting new and higher goals for your training.  Make it fun!  

If you have your eye on getting super fit, the single arm chin up is just one of the cool goals I can help you achieve.  I can help you either through a monthly workout plan, personal training, or both.  Just contact me and we can get started.