Can I do Pull ups Every Day? (The Definitive Answer!)
Whether you should do pull ups everyday depends on your goals and the intensity of your workout.
If you are going for a maximum number of reps and burning out after every workout then your body will not be able to recover sufficiently for you set the next day. However f you are able to perform a moderate amount of pull ups and stop about 4 or 5 reps before complete fatigue, then depending on your personal capacity for recovery you can do pull ups everyday.
This approach can be appropriate for those who want to increase their strength endurance and maintain a level of muscle mass.
However if you intend to progressively increase muscle mass, and maximal strength then doing pull ups every single day is excessive and won't serve your goals as effective as you'd like.
It all depends on your personal goal. Doing pull ups everyday is great for
Developing endurance strength
Maintaining a level of strength and muscularity
But it is a less effective strategy for:
Consistently increasing muscle mass
Increasing your maximal strength
Pull ups everyday are less effective for strength and muscle, because with body weight pull ups the resistance (your body weight) remains relatively constant. In order to achieve increases in muscle mass or strength then you need to maintain a progressive overload by increasing the intensity of the exercise.
However if you are in a sport that requires endurance strength or looking to maintain strength and muscle (rowing, grappling, rugby, football etc.) then doing pull ups every day can be an effective part of your conditioning.
Why you Should do Pull ups on Gymnastic Rings and not on a bar
If you intend to do pull ups everyday then I recommend you perform them on gymnastic rings rather then a bar. This is simply because gymnastic ring pull ups are kinder to your joints then using a pull up bar. (To get the right gymnastic rings for the job, check out my guide to my favourite gymnastic rings on amazon).
Performing such a high frequency of pull ups or chin ups on a bar without a significant rest period can put a strain on your joints, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.
The straight pull up bar impedes your body's natural movement and your wrists, elbows and shoulders do not have to opportunity to rotate and move to the angle they are naturally most comfortable with.
With the pull up bar your joints are tolerating the plane of motion that is set by the pull up bar. The rings however, are able to actively adjust to the body's optimal position throughout the range of motion of the exercise.
For example, with the with a pull up bar you have to decide whether you are adopting either a
Chin up grip (suprinated)
or a pull up grip (pronated)
Whereas the rings have the freedom to naturally turn throughout the course of the movement to the most comfortable position.
If you grab onto a pair of rings and just dead hang as passively as possible your hands will typically naturally look like a pull up grip but with the rings rotated with slight preference to turning inwards.
This is known as a neutral hang.
Over the course of the exercise as you are pulling up, the angle of the rings rotates inwards more and more, and at the point where your chin is over the height of the rings at peak contraction, the position of your hands will resemble a chin up grip with your palms facing towards you.
This is the body's preferred plane of motion.
All the movement that you experienced with ring pull ups is restricted when you are doing pull ups on a bar, hence why bar pull ups are more taxing on the joints.
Ring pull ups put far less strain on your wrist, elbows, shoulders, ligaments and tendons then bar pull ups, particularly if you are training everyday.
Training with ring pull ups will help you to proactively avoid injury, and put less demand on your joints, and connective tissue so you are not help back by any niggling discomfort or pain and you can successfully train pull ups everyday.
Pull ups Every day for is Endurance Strength
If you goal is to develop strength endurance then pull ups everyday can be a very good strategy.
Strength endurance is described as "the specific form of strength displayed in activities which require a relatively long duration of muscle tension with minimal decrease in efficiency" (Stiff 2000).
Pull ups are a compound upper body pulling movement that engages several muscle groups, in the back, arms, shoulders and core work in unison which translates to functional strength that can be used in athletic competition.
Strength endurance is an important attribute in a lot of sports. But in terms of endurance pulling strength, pull ups really come into their own when the training is applied to sports like Rowing, kayaking, amaetuer wrestling, grappling sports etc.
All these sports require a consistent exertion with a relatively high sustained intensity.
Working towards a target number of pull ups and getting your muscles accustomed to a high level of output can really improve your performance in these sports.
How to train pull ups everyday to develop endurance strength?
When doing pull ups it is important to acknowledge your are lifting your entire body weight. This is a significant weight and as a general rule, the heavier you are the more difficult each pull up will be as with all body weight exercises.
So it is important to not let ego dictate your training and choose a suitable target for the amount of pull ups you are aiming to do everyday.
You need to do a number of reps and sets that you are able to recover from by the next day.
It is impossible to say exactly how many that is for everyone as each person has physiological differences, differences in lifestyle, hormonal differences, individual diets and everyone gets a different and often inconsistent amount of sleep. All these differences have an impact on your own capacity for recovery.
However as a good general guide you should aim for about 60 per cent of your maximum number of pull ups per set.
So if you can do a maximum of 15 pull ups then stop each set at 9 reps. At the beginning you should only do 2 sets per day. You can increase the amount of reps as your tolerance for the exercise increases.
If you feel any significant delayed onset muscle soreness (doms) after a day of recovery or a significant drop in the amount of pull ups you can do, then your intensity is too high.
You need to find that sweet spot where you can do a routine of pull ups and not feel diminished by the time of your next workout.
Why is this style best for endurance training?
Think of it this way...If you train pull ups till you burn out your muscles completely and hit your maximum number of reps every set, then recovery is going to take far longer then 1 day. If can take up to a week or more before you can do another set of pull ups without feeling sore.
Therefore if you working at maximum intensity in one work out and achieve 50 pull ups, then it will take approximately one week to recover from each workout. Over the course of 6 weeks you will have executed a total of 300 pull ups if you are consistent.
However if you stop before any sort of maximal effort, thereby avoiding a burnout and avoid a long recovery time you can achieve far more reps over the same time period as you are not spending most of the week recovering with sore muscles.
Lets assume you can do a maximum of 15 repetitions per set at the point of complete fatigue. If you stop at 7-9 reps for 2-3 sets then over the course of 6 weeks you will have executed anywhere from 588 reps to 1134 reps of the course of 6 weeks, because time wasn't wasted waiting for muscular soreness to subside.
This cumulative number of pull ups at a lower intensity over a number of day will yield far better results then if you are consistently training to complete fatigue and it will serve your goals more effectively when it comes to developing endurance strength.
Pull ups for Maintaining Muscle Mass and Strength
Pull ups are a very effective compound exercise which engages practically every muscle group in the upper body to work together in one movement with an emphasis on pulling strength.
Therefore a large range of muscles are placed under tension.
Doing a number of pull ups every day is a great way to maintain muscle mass and strength in your:
Back (Latissimus dorsi, Infraspinatus, trapezius)
Arms (particularly biceps and forearms)
Core muscles (Abdominals, obliques)
Whether you are at the gym or playing sports it is likely that you have a number of exercise goals running concurrently at any one time.
For example, you may want to improve your cardio vascular fitness or perhaps work on a sports specific drill, like tackling in Rugby or agility for football.
If you chase after every single goal at once its unlikely that you will achieve meaningful progress in any one of them. There is only so much training and recovery time for an athlete in one week.
Therefore it is useful to find a maintenance level for certain exercises so that you don't lose strength but you also don't invest too much into the exercise so that you have time to improve other aspects of your game.
You have to find the balancing point of sufficient intensity to maintain the muscle mass and not too high an intensity that you will be over training the muscles groups involved in pull ups.
How many you should do per day to maintain your pull up endurance strength depends on a multitude of factors that are specific to your own physiology.
Really the best way is to experiment and listen to your body. If you are going too hard or the workout takes too much of your workout time then reduce the number of pull ups until you find your maintenance level.
You will find that if you keep a good baseline of pull ups then your strength and muscularity will remain at a constant for quite some time rather then drop off dramatically.
As long as you provide your body with the stimulation it will respond.
You can't focus on every goal at once but nor should you let your gains fall by the way side. Practice some pull ups everyday and you will be able to focus other attributes and on becoming a well rounded athlete.
Can I do Pull ups Everyday and Gain Muscle?
Doing pull ups everyday is not the best strategy for gaining muscle mass (hypertrophy) consistently. In order to increase muscle size, its better that you perform pull ups within a specific rep range with a specific level of intensity.
Also muscle growth requires a longer rest and recovery the 24 hours before resuming the same workout.
The optimal rep range for hypertrophy is 8-12 reps for 3-5 sets. You also need to train at an intensity at which performing the last rep of the set is approaching failure (i.e. you are too fatigued to complete the rep with good form).
In fact after a hard workout where the goal is to add mass, an individual muscle may take 7-14 days to fully recover from a work out.
So obviously to train with intensity required to gain muscle mass everyday will simply be over training and will hinder your muscle building potential.
Of course everyone's individual capacity for recovery and potential for muscle building is different and varies according to a number of different factors.
This is not to say you wont gain any muscle from training pull ups everyday but this is not the optimal strategy for consistently gaining muscle and strength.
If you are a beginner to it is likely that you will build strength and muscle to a specific point and then the muscle building gains will plateau due to over training and not maintaining a progressive overload.
You can of course keep increasing your strength with daily pull ups but the emphasis will be more on endurance strength then maximal strength.
If you are looking to gain muscle size consistently with pull ups then you need to be doing approximately:
8-12 reps for 3-5 sets...
and take a weeks rest between each workout involving pull ups so that the muscle has time to rebuild.
If 12 reps per set becomes too easy for you, then the resistance of just your body weight is not sufficiently intense therefore you may need to add external resistance in the form of a dipping belt or weight vest. For more information on how to build muscle with pull ups check out: Can you build muscle with calisthenics?
Doing pull ups everyday will not be appropriate for every athlete but it can offer great benefits to those who want to boost their endurance strength and maintain muscle mass.
This has all kinds of applications for sports, competition and on field performance.
For those that want to increase muscle mass for aesthetic reasons or increase their maximal strength then this is not the optimal training strategy. Training with a high intensity every day will lead to over training and your progression will plateau.
To build muscle with calisthenics you have to maintain a progressive overload and get enough rest rather then train with the same level of resistance everyday.
If you do choose to practice pull ups every day then ring pull ups are always better then bar pull ups.
Rings are kinder on your joints so that you can proactively avoid strains, injury and discomfort in your joints, ligaments and tendons. Additionally pull ups on rings activate stabilising muscles and have an increased range of motion so that you can get more out of every workout.
If you have any further questions about pull up training please leave a comment below ⬇️⬇️⬇️