How Many Pull Ups Should I Do?

How Many Pull Ups Should I Do?

In this article you will learn the answer to the question: how many pull ups should I do?

How Many Pull Ups Is Good?

There are many different and conflicting sources of information on, and arguments about, how many pull ups is a good number to be able to do.

What is certain is that the answer varies according to the individual concerned and by factors such as their age, gender, weight, height, fitness level and the type of pull up being performed.

In the USA the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition recommends the following as the expected number of pull ups under 18s should be able to perform:

  • Children (aged 6-12): 1-2 pull ups
  • Teens (aged 13-18): boys – 3-8 pull ups; girls – 1 pull up

For adults the data is more conflicting but the average suggests that an adult male should be able to perform a minimum of 8 pull ups and an adult female should be able to perform 1-3 pull ups minimum.

For any male able to perform 13-17 or female able to perform 5-9 reps they are considered to be fit and strong.

Further data is available from the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA), used to assess the fitness of those applying to join the US military.

The CFA suggests that the average male applicant is able to perform 9 pull ups and the average woman 3.

Of course it should be remembered that these are applicants to the military who will have some physical training behind them and thus are likely to be more capable than the average member of the public.

Whatever the actual number of pull ups which is considered good it is worth bearing in mind the following principles:

  • Due to their greater muscle mass, notably in their upper bodies, men can generally perform more pull ups than women
  • Your ability to perform pull ups is influenced by factors such as your height and weight

How Many Pull Ups Should a Man Be Able to Do?

The data varies on exactly how many pull ups a man should be able to do.

Factors such as age, weight, height, fitness levels and experience as well as the type of pull up being performed all influence the number of pull ups which the man is able to perform.

As a general rule experts suggest that men of reasonable fitness should be able to perform a minimum of 8 pull ups.

For men of advanced fitness levels these numbers raise to between 13-17 pull ups as a good number.

Is 10 Pull Ups Good?

Given all the data we have looked at earlier in this article, anyone asking themselves if being able to perform 10 pull ups is good should already be reassured that being able to perform 10 pull ups is an excellent achievement which places them above average.

If you are still doubting this you may be reassured by some comparisons with the entry standards required by some of America’s military institutions:

  • To qualify as a US Marine you need to be able to perform at least 3 pull ups
  • To qualify as an Army Ranger you need to perform a minimum of 6 pull ups
  • To qualify as a Navy SEAL you need to perform a minimum of 8 pull ups

These American military institutions set very high standards for their applicants and so if you exceeding these standards by achieving 10 pull ups (especially as a woman!) then you should be very happy with your performance.

Is It OK to Do Pull Ups Every Day?

It is definitely ok to do pull ups every day as part of your exercise regime but there are a number of steps you may wish to consider taking in order to limit the strain placed on your body and the risk of injury which this poses.

These steps include:

  • Ensuring you are using the correct technique when you are performing your pull ups, both to avoid injury but to maximise the benefits of the exercise itself on the muscles
  • Vary the grip you use when performing your pull ups in order to target different muscle groups and vary the load on the muscles which you use

However, there are some cons to consider when it comes to doing pull ups every day. They can worsen any existing shoulder injuries. Most of all, athletes need rest time and regeneration to recover from exercise, with muscle growth only beginning in the resting phase, and so doing pull ups every day can prevent this from taking place.

How Many Pull Ups Build Muscle?

There is no set number of pull ups which are guaranteed to build muscle.

However, a 2002 study in the ‘European Journal of Applied Physiology’ found that those who undertook four sets of 3-5 pull ups on a regular basis gained more muscle strength than others in the same study.

Those who undertook two sets of 20-28 reps on a regular basis, on the other hand, gained more endurance than strength. Given this finding one can conclude that more regular amounts of lower reps is the best solution if the individual is seeking to build muscle mass.

The amount of muscle mass built can be increased by adding weight when completing these regular sets.


Hopefully you now have a better understanding of: how many pull ups is good?

In this article we have:

  • Looked at how many pull ups the average individual should be able to perform based on the data available
  • Seen that the number of pull ups individuals can perform is influenced by a range of factors such as gender, height, weight and fitness levels
  • Seen that being able to perform 10 pull ups is a great achievement for anyone
  • Learned that it is ok to perform pull ups every day but there are some cons which need to be considered
  • Learned how many pulls ups are ideal to perform in order to build muscle