If you're one of the many people frustrated because you've hit a sticking point with your pull ups/chin ups, if can't seem to increase the amount of reps you perform, then I've got some suggestions for you! There are a number of ways to go about improving your chin up / pull up reps but today we'll look at four different ways that just might help you in your quest!
Switch Up Your Grip: Try palms facing towards your body (chin ups) and palms facing away from your body (pull ups). Try narrow grips (hands close together) , regular grips (shoulder width for chin ups, just outside the shoulder for pull ups), and wide grips (neutral grip for chin ups, way outside shoulder width for pull ups. By mixing your grips you'll put a greater emphasis on different muscle groups that my be neglected during your regular pull up or chin up workouts. It will also help you break out of the "same old, same old" of your basic workout routine.
Try Drop Sets: Drop sets are a great way to perform a high number of repetitions that you wouldn't normally be able to perform in a straight set. And example of a drop set would be to do 10 chin ups on your first set, rest 30 seconds, then perform 9 chin ups on your second set, rest 30 seconds, then 8 on the third set. Continue in this fashion until you hit 1 or 2 reps. If you were to perform this drop set as described you would have pumped out 55 chin ups in total!
Embedded Pauses: Adding embedded pauses to your chin ups and pull ups is an excellent way to eliminate any weakness you may have in a certain area of the pulling or lowering phase of the exercise. If you're weak in any area of the pull up or chin up than it could result in a lower number of reps than you're truly capable of performing. Try performing your pull ups/chin ups with a 3-5 second pause at the top, eye level, 3/4 of the way down, and full hang of positions of the exercise. Think of your pull up as an elevator stopping at 4 floors on the way down.
Practice, Practice: Remember, that sometimes all you need is to treat your training as practice to increase your reps. Try performing the "greasing the groove" method. This would involve performing a few pull ups/chin ups multiple times throughout the day, not during your actual workout, and not any where near your maximum amount of reps. If you were to do 6 chins in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, and before bet that would add up to 24 chins during the day and some quality practice without maxing yourself out at all!
Just remember that with practice and dedication you can reach your goals regardless of what they might happen to be.