Question: I am 18 this year and I do about 30-40 pull ups every night before I go to bed. I don’t seem to be able to hit a number that is higher than 40 and I am wondering whether this is due to a lack of rest, since I do this every single night without fail.
If the lack of rest is the main problem that is stopping me from actually being able to complete even more repetitions, how long should I set aside for rest? Does the rest period actually make my muscles weaken from lack of exercise?
Answer: First of all, I take my hat off to you for being able to complete so many repetitions of pull ups in one attempt! The fact that you can do so many indicates that you have a strong upper body.
Pull ups demand a lot of strength from various groups of muscles in your upper body, from your biceps in your arms, to shoulders and back. Therefore, this is a great all-in-one exercise if you want to tone and strengthen your upper body.
However, doing it every day might be the reason why you are struggling to get past that number. While you don’t seem to be having problems, your muscles are not getting sufficient rest to repair themselves and grow.
In severe cases, one could experience muscle sprains or even a tear if they do not take enough rest.
What I would suggest is to have one day rest in between your pull up attempts. If you start on Monday, take a rest on Tuesday, do them again on Wednesday and so on. One day is a safe guideline.
Resting does not mean that your muscles become weak. In fact, they become even stronger and bigger because it is during the rest period that they strengthen and grow. Therefore, take your rest period seriously, and really rest your muscles.
You could however, use this time to work on your lower body, since you only seem to train your upper body. Again, make sure you have one day of rest in between workouts.
In order to train your body to be capable of handling even more reps, I suggest breaking down your workout into sets. Since you can do 40 comfortably, why not strive for 3 sets of twenty?
You might struggle at first, but eventually you will be able to complete those three sets without any problem. It will be at this point where you find that you start to be able to do more than 40 pull ups at one go.
Breaking your workout into sets is really powerful because it pushes your muscles to deliver more during each workout. So try this tip and see how much more improvement you achieve on your ability to do pull ups.
Again, congratulations on being able to complete so many repetitions in one go. You’re an inspiration for me to start completing more repetitions on the pull-up bar!