Shawna’s Q and A

pull up exercises

I get many questions across my desk so I thought I’d share a few of them and my answers with you….



Why is it easier to do a chin up? I can get 2 chin ups but not one pull up. Help.



Dear Rob.

Good question. Both the chin up and the pull up seem like similar moves and from far away practically look the same. What IS the difference?

The key to the pull up is the grip. You’ll use an OVERHAND grip for the pull up and an UNDERHAND grip for the chin up.

You’re able to engage the biceps more fully when doing a chin up thereby making the movement a little easier. In fact, many people aren’t sure how to engage their back muscles to do a pull up, but they can pull with the biceps and are able to do a chin up.

Body position is super important for the pull up in order to engage the stronger muscles of the back. Think of lifting your chest up to the bar (squeezing your shoulder blades together in the back) versus getting your chin OVER the bar. When you do the latter, you tend to internally rotate the shoulders which is less effective.

Check out this blog for a little more direction.

Hope that helps,



Hey Shawna,

I’ve been doing a lot of your workouts and challenges from the blog. Thanks and keep them coming. I prefer doing weight training, body weight training etc and I’m not big on cardio. I know this is something that I need to work on because I totally run out of gas half way through some of your circuits. How can I incorporate ‘cardio’ into my workouts without adding a ton of time? I hate the boredom that quickly develops the minute I get on a bike or a treadmill.

Bored in Regina, Sask


Dear Bored in Regina,

So cool, I lived in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan as a kid until I was about 8 years old. I know you don’t have great weather for much year round outdoor training, You need something that you can do indoors that’s quick and easy (to implement). My suggestion is to  consider doing ‘workout finishers’. These are 6 minute circuits that you do at the end of your weight training workout. For the most part they’re strength related with HIIT thrown in. My buddy that created these workouts lost over 100 lbs doing them. So they’re effective for fat loss and kicking some cardio butt. Check out this blog for more info on workout finishers.