According to some (over-)ambitious power athletes, it is all about quantity. Those who want to achieve quick results in their workout often strain their body with a daily workout. After all, professional athletes work out several times a day, every day. But what is right for amateur athletes? Is it advisable to do pull-ups every day, in order to get a broad V-shaped back or a swimmer's back very quickly?
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at this issue. We will explain what speaks for very frequent use of the pull-up bar and what speaks against it. Before we go into it in detail, let us give you some general advice on how to do pull-ups correctly.
If you do pull-ups every day, then do them properly!
As with any other exercise, the right technique is decisive when doing pull-ups, not just to avoid injuries, but also to ensure that the exercise is as effective as possible. Only when the entire amplitude of movement is exploited during pull-ups, will you achieve what you are aiming for: a well-trained, muscular back and a large biceps. In another article, we explained how to do pull-ups properly. Therefore, this time, we will only give you a few general tips on the execution of pull-ups:
- Keep your head to the front at all times. This way, the main focus is on the back muscles and you will not cramp up. This guarantees a comfortable workout without neck pain.
- Particularly when starting with pull-ups, you should choose a grip no wider than your shoulders. This way, most of the effort is directed at the back muscles. If your grip is too wide, your movements are likely to be incorrect, which could result in your tendons, joints and other structures being overstrained.
In order to vary the load on the individual muscles or to target different parts of your back to different degrees, you can choose from the following pull-up grips. In general, the following applies: the broader the grip, the more of a workout you will get in terms of broadening your back, and the narrower your grip, the more in-depth growth of the back you will achieve. it is also important to know that the underhand grip and the hammer grip give the upper arms much more of a workout than the overhand grip. As a result, the strain on the back muscles is reduced.
- Narrow underhand grip
- Shoulder-width underhand grip
- Broad underhand grip
- Narrow overhand grip
- Shoulder-width overhand grip
- Broad overhand grip
- Hammer grip (shoulder-width)
Doing pull-ups every day – Pros
There are certainly some aspects that speak for doing pull-ups every day:
- Saves time: Because pull-ups work the entire upper body, particularly the upper back and the biceps, they can replace a range of isolated exercises.
- Less effort: If you have your own pull-up bar, you do not even have to leave your home to do your daily workout.
- The strain: Pull-ups put considerably less strain on the musculoskeletal system than strenuous workouts with heavy weights, provided you do not use any additional weights. Furthermore, pull-ups do not have as much impact on the central nervous system as HIIT training, for example, so the risks of overdoing things are relatively low.
- Many variations: Because there are so many different variations, sufficient growth stimuli can be generated, even at high training frequencies.
The cons of doing pull-ups every day outweigh the pros
The points that count in favour of doing pull-ups every day are countered by the following arguments.
- If you have orthopaedic issues with your shoulders or elbow joints, you should not do pull-ups every day. These body structures need sufficient regeneration time after every workout. And besides this, you should rather consider doing a less demanding exercise (e.g. ring rows).
- Every athlete – whether amateur or professional – needs regeneration, in order to recover from the training sessions (physically and mentally).
- Because muscle growth only begins in the resting phase after a workout, doing pullups every day inhibits muscle growth.
- For beginners, regeneration after a workout requires longer if you do pull-ups (at least 48 hours) than is the case for athletes who have been doing pull-ups regularly for a long time. Therefore, doing pull-ups every day is out of the question for beginners.
- You should also refrain from doing pull-ups in the case of stiffness of the muscles affected by pull-ups.
- Variations like butterfly pull-ups and kipping pull-ups are not suitable for daily training, because they exert an extreme burden on the shoulders.
You need not be afraid of so-called overtraining of individual muscles, like the lats. This is actually a state that emanates from the central nervous system and affects the entire body (and the psyche). But this does not mean that overtraining is not possible if you do pull-ups every day: If you feel exhausted after an extended period of intense exertion, in the form of a whole-body workout, and are having problems sleeping, the training plan must be interrupted!
Tip: With a pure pull-up workout, you will never over-train, but for the reasons already mentioned, we still do not recommend doing pull-ups very frequently.
Pull-ups every day? If so, only as a warmup!
As we have demonstrated, there are several aspects that theoretically speak for doing pull-ups every day (e.g. to save time). But there are many more aspects that speak against it. The muscles can only adapt to the stimuli provided if there is a balance between the phases of stress and rest – you should leave at least 48 hours between two pull-up sessions. This ensures adequate regeneration and 100% muscle performance during the next workout. Only by taking these points into account can your pull-up workout become fully effective. And if you have sore, stiff muscles, you should wait even longer.
Final Tip: If you can do 20 or more pull-ups without any trouble, you can include them in your daily workout, as a warm-up exercise. But hold back consciously, and never keep going until your muscles fail.
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