USA dad breaks decade-old record for most chin ups in an hour

By Sanj Atwal
split image of Frank Sagona

Frank Sagona (USA) can hold his chin up high after setting a world record for the most chin ups in one hour.

The 45-year-old from Colorado performed a total of 1,010 chin ups – an average of almost 17 per minute – to break the previous record of 993, set in 2011 by Stephen Hyland (UK).

Multiple people have attempted to break Stephen’s record over the past decade, but none have been successful until now.

As per the rules of this record, an underhand grip must be used and proper form must be maintained throughout, with the body raised until the chin is above the level of the bar, then lowered until the arms are straight.

“This is the ultimate test of strength and mind over matter,” Frank said.

Frank performing the final chin up

Frank dealt with an unexpected layer of difficulty during this chin-up challenge as he suffered a muscle strain in his back on the day before the record attempt.

Frank’s breathing was affected, and he says he was in pain “from the beginning”.

“Where I usually take full breaths, I could only take three quarters of a breath,” he said.

“I felt out of breath until the 44-minute mark. I then started feeling like I could actually do it.

“My injury slowed my chin ups down. I actually vomited right after the event.”

Frank and Kristin

Frank’s incredible achievement comes seven years after he set three other chin-up records in one day:

  • Most chin ups in 8 hours - 3,751
  • Most chin ups in 12 hours - 4,649
  • Most chin ups in 24 hours – 5,094

The 24-hour record has since been broken by Graham Morgan (UK), who managed a total of 7,479, but Frank still holds the first two records.

Frank began training to set world records 11 years ago. Interestingly, he doesn’t lift weights - he works out in his backyard, where he only does body weight exercises such as push ups and chin ups.

“Just my own body and a bar,” Frank said. “No fancy equipment, no trainers; just my kids and me.”

Frank says he became inspired to set records after becoming a stay-at-home dad: “I wanted to see ‘what if?’ and ‘how far?’

“What if I challenge myself? And how far can I push myself? […] I just want to make my kids proud of me.”

I have had challenges, but here I am today to show what I am made of – pure grit! - Frank

Frank hanging from bar

Frank dedicates his new record to his friend and training partner, Mike Roumph, who sadly passed away while helping Frank prepare to break the record three years ago.

“This record was not only for me, but for Mike’s memory,” Frank said.

“I can’t do this without my team.”

Frank is currently training to retake the 24-hour chin up record, and he’s also planning to break records for the most pull ups in 12 hours, most pull ups in 24 hours, and the most burpee pull ups in one hour.

In addition to fitness records, Frank would like to set records for kindness, such as the most hugs given in one hour.

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