100 Pull-ups A Day: Is It A Good Idea?

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Most people know that more exercise like pull-ups in their routine can be beneficial. How about doing 100 pull-ups a day, is it a good idea?

Pull-ups are a popular exercise where you hang from a bar and pull yourself up. It may sound like a good idea to do 100 pull-ups a day for goals like losing weight, building muscle, and physical health in general.

However, it may not be the best workout routine for your goals.

If you want to build as much back muscle mass as possible, doing 100 pull-ups and doing them every day is likely not the fastest way to do this.

For optimal muscle growth, you want to go for back exercises at an intensity where you are able to do fewer repetitions and you want to give your body some rest to repair and grow your muscles.

Another popular exercise goal is losing weight. The number of calories you burn during bodyweight pull-ups is not that impressive compared to something like jumping rope.

Back exercises like pull-ups can be helpful for weight loss if you focus on building a lot of muscle. That means that for a goal like losing weight, 100 pull-ups a day is again not the fastest way towards your goals.

That being said, even if it isn’t the number 1 routine for muscle gain or weight loss getting to 100 pull-ups a day and sticking to it can be a fun goal in itself.

Even if it is not the optimal workout routine, 100 pull-ups a day will likely make a big positive difference in cardiovascular and back muscle strength. It is definitely better for most people than sitting still.

Do keep the physical limits of your body in mind.

Will 100 pull-ups a day help you build muscle?

The way you build muscle in places like your back and biceps is by engaging these muscles so that they get damaged enough.

This may sound counterintuitive but this damage makes it so your body repairs these muscles, and adds a bit more to be better prepared to exert similar efforts in the future.

If you stick to exercises with the same weight, as your muscles become stronger this same effort may not damage your muscles enough to promote extra muscle growth.

So if you are able to do 100 pull-ups a day, and you keep doing them in the same quantity with the same weight, you will gradually see less and less muscle gain.

100 pull-ups a day is also generally not the ideal number of repetitions for optimal muscle gain.

By adding extra resistance to exercises like a pull-up you are better able to damage the muscles in a shorter amount of time. Doing weighted pull-ups at the right points in your training journey can also speed up muscle growth.

Another thing is that while doing something every day is a great way to make it a habit, for weight lifting exercises this isn’t always the best idea when it comes to getting the most results.

Your body needs time to repair and grow these muscles. If you damage them again before they are fully repaired you won’t get as many results compared to letting them rest for 48 hours.

In short, to build the most muscle mass you want to do about 4 sets of 10-40 (weighted) pull-ups or other back exercises depending on how advanced you are.

Besides that, you generally want to give your body 48 hours to rest and enough nutrients and sleep.

Will 100 pull-ups a day help you lose weight?

Losing weight is about using up body fat, which is basically energy stored. To do this you want to make sure that you require more energy throughout the day than there is coming in from food.

One way to try to make this happen is by doing a workout. By increasing the intensity of your movements for a period of time you use up more energy than usual.

Doing pull-ups can help with weight loss since doing a workout like it generally requires more energy than most of your usual daily activities.

Another way resistance training exercises like pull-ups help you lose weight is by building muscle. This helps you burn more calories with everything that you do.

Keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like what you eat are important when trying to lose weight no matter what exercise you do. You can work out and gain weight at the same time if your other lifestyle habits are not good.

How many calories do 100 pull-ups burn?

The average person will burn 60-100 calories when doing 100 bodyweight pull-ups.

Below you can find a table with more precise estimations for individuals of different weights doing different amounts of pull-ups based on MET values.

Higher speeds may also cause a calorie-burning effect after the workout that is not included in the estimations. The extra calorie burning from muscle gained is also hard to put into exact numbers.

Keep in mind that these are estimations. The calculation method doesn’t take into account certain factors that do influence calories burned with pull-ups.

To put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (1).

Number Of Pull-ups
Weight Person
100 Pull-ups200 Pull-ups500 Pull-ups
125 Pounds (56 kg)60 calories120 calories300 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)70 calories140 calories350 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)90 calories180 calories450 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)100 calories200 calories500 calories
Chart of calories burned by doing amounts of pull-ups

The number of calories you can burn with bodyweight pull-ups during the exercise is not that impressive compared to most other workouts.

That being said, most of the calorie-burning potential from pull-ups comes from the muscle you build. Since your back muscles are relatively big, this can make pull-ups a great addition to your weight loss workout routine anyway.

Other benefits of doing 100 pull-ups a day

If your body can deal with it, 100 pull-ups a day can change your body for the better. Doing something every day makes it easier to form a habit. Some benefits of pull-ups you can expect include:

  • Improved mood
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Lower LDL
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved posture

You can also expect similar benefits from other types of exercise to varying degrees.

So for example, not everyone can do a pull-up. Additionally, your shoulders may not be handle 100 pull-ups every day. In these situations, you can start with or keep doing other exercises to get some of the benefits above too.

Is it OK to do 100 pull-ups every day?

Whether or not doing 100 pull-ups every day is OK is very hard to predict since it is so different from person to person.

The main thing to keep in mind is that pull-ups can be hard on body parts like your wrists, elbows, shoulders, and back even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. You may want to talk to your primary care provider before starting a new workout routine.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it.

In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that doing 100 pull-ups a day is not (yet) for you.

Should you do 100 pull-ups a day?

For most goals implementing some days without pull-ups and implementing cardiovascular training days is helpful. So only doing 100 pull-ups a day is likely not the fastest way towards your goals whatever they are.

At the time of writing the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends the following exercise guidelines to adults (2):

  • Moving more and sitting less throughout the day
  • Muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.
  • At least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity a week. Preferably spread throughout the week.
  • You can gain additional health benefits by engaging in physical activity beyond the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

That being said working towards 100 pull-ups a day and sticking to it can be a fun goal in itself and the beginning of even more daily habits that are positive for your physical health. Even if it is not the optimal workout routine, it can definitely offer a lot of benefits compared to doing nothing.

If you feel pain it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, or a less intense workout schedule.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.