Pull-ups are not just well-known. They can also offer great results. Find out how many repetitions and sets you should do for what types of goals.
Something to note first is that you can do resistance training exercises with different sets and repetitions to focus on different fitness goals.
To build muscle you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) pull-ups with a resistance where you can barely complete these ranges.
That means some people will have to do assisted pull-ups. Others may need to do the exercise with extra weights to make it challenging enough.
Next, to improve muscle strength you want to do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 (weighted) pull-ups. Again, with enough resistance but not too much.
Another way to do this exercise is to improve muscle endurance. For this goal, you would do around 3 to 6 sets of 25+ repetitions in a way where you don’t push to muscle failure.
Most people don’t want to do the workouts above every single day. Giving your muscles enough time to repair and grow can actually increase your results.
How many pull-ups you should do to build muscle
While there is typically some overlap between different fitness components, you can do pull-ups with different sets and reps to focus on different training goals like for example hypertrophy aka muscle growth.
To build muscle you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 pull-ups with a weight where you can barely complete these repetitions.
You will likely want to go for the lower boundaries (up to 15 pull-ups) of the repetition range because pull-ups can get challenging for your cardiovascular health after that.
These pull-up set and rep ranges apply to all people whether they are 13-year-olds who are doing their first few resistance training workouts or 30-year-old lifters with many years of experience.
The difference is how much resistance these individuals need to see muscle growth.
Since pull-ups are a relatively challenging exercise, strength training beginners may need to use resistance bands to do assisted pull-ups to achieve the muscle-building set and rep ranges above.
On the flip side, more experienced lifters may need to do weighted pull-ups to stay within the recommendations.
Additionally, you may need to increase the resistance as you get stronger over time.
Do pull-ups help you get a six pack?
Some people think that pull-ups work the ab muscles. However, it is worth quickly mentioning that this is not the case.
The pull-up rep and set ranges above help you grow your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) and biceps.
This could help you lose weight and make your abs more visible.
However, no matter how many repetitions you do a day, normal pull-ups will not make your six pack muscles bigger.
How many pull-ups you should do to improve strength
Strength is how much force your muscles can generate. Growing your latissimus dorsi and biceps can help with this but you can also train in a way where you focus more on becoming better able to use existing muscle mass.
To improve strength you should do around 4 to 8 sets of 5 pull-ups with a weight where these ranges are challenging to complete.
The same principles related to assisted and weighted pull-ups from above still apply.
Some people will need to make the pull-ups easier to get to these strength training ranges. Others will need to do weighted repetitions to make the movement challenging enough to get results.
How many pull-ups you should do to improve endurance
Muscle endurance comes down to how long muscles can exert effort.
To train this area of your fitness, you should do 3 to 6 sets of 25+ pull-ups with a resistance where you stay away from failure.
Because pull-ups are a relatively challenging bodyweight exercise, many people will need to do the assisted version if they want to improve endurance without muscle growth.
Should you do pull-ups every day?
While doing resistance training exercises like pull-ups you damage the main muscles you work. At first, this may sound bad.
However, this damage starts a variety of internal processes that can repair the muscles and make the bigger and stronger.
At the same time, your body still needs time (and nutrients) to complete these processes.
Because of this, you typically want to give the muscles you worked at least a day of rest before focusing them again. Doing something like 100 pull-ups a day is often not recommended.
That being said, there are definitely also exceptions to this general guideline.
For example, not going to complete muscle failure in your muscle growth pull-up sets helps you recover more quickly. Some people may be able to do pull-ups every day with this.
Additionally, your body tends to recover more quickly from low-repetition strength sets. Again, for some people, this could mean being able to do pull-ups every day.
Next, many people should be able to recover relatively fast from doing pull-ups with a focus on muscle endurance.
So most people can see amazing results from doing pull-up workouts three, two, and potentially once a week. However, there will also be people that could do them every day.
How many pull-ups should I do a day?
Most people do not want to do pull-ups every single day. That being said, for a popular fitness goal like muscle growth, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 (weighted) pull-ups per workout.
How many sets of pull-ups should I do?
To grow your latissimus dorsi and biceps, you should do around 3 to 6 sets of pull-ups. For a different goal like muscle strength, you should do around 4 to 8 sets of pull-ups. Keep in mind that your repetition ranges and resistance matter too.