Pull-ups are a great way to achieve a classic V-shaped upper body. However, you must be proficient at doing pull-ups with appropriate forms and reps to achieve this look.
Ideally, you should be able to do a few numbers of pull-ups. These are great full-body muscle building and strength training exercises to increase muscular endurance, mass, power, and thickness to your body.
The problem is that many people don’t know how to do the basic bodyweight pull-up. For this, if you are a beginner, you should use your body weight to master a complete pull-up. First, you should train yourself to hang from the bar with your body weight to progress through a proper pull-up.
Once you can pull yourself up the bar, you should increase the number of repetitions. Next, you can add a dip belt to make your pull-ups more challenging to progress through your pull-ups.
You may be curious about how many pull-ups an average person can do or how you can improve your pull-up form and repetitions.
This article will show you how to increase your pull-ups in no time.
We aim to help you learn how to increase your pull-ups to at least 20 repetitions which is a good full range of motion with muscle-building reps. Let’s layout a step-by-step guide and let you know how often you can do your pull-ups.
Number of Pull-Ups an Average Man or Woman can do
There is no significant number to judge how many pull-ups an average man or woman can do. Over the last several decades, our fitness levels have dropped dramatically. We are just not as fit as we were in the past.
As a result, some organizations have lowered standards or eliminated pull-ups from their fitness test lineup to ensure no one is hurt.
However, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition has some guidelines we can follow:
Children: 6-12-year-olds should be able to do between 1-2 pull-ups (i.e., 50th percentile).
Teens: Boys between 13 and 18 years old should do 3-8 pull-ups. 50th percentile – the older you are, the more reps are required to keep up with the average. Girls 13-18 should do 1 pull-up and a 5–9 seconds flexed arms hang.
Adults: According to a rough estimate, a man can do at least 8 pull-ups and 13-17 reps to be considered strong and fit. Women can do 1-3 pull-ups and 5-9 reps.
However, we also have data from the Candidate Fitness Assessment. This is used to assess the fitness level of candidates for the U.S. Military. According to the CFA, the average number of pull-ups that a person can do is nine for men and three for women.
Remember that most military candidates have some former training and perform better than the average person. These so-called “official” pull-up standards are not for everyone. There are two things you should remember.
Firstly, men can generally do more pull-ups than women, mainly because they have more muscle mass, especially in the upper body. Tim Hewitt, the Ohio State University’s director of sports medicine research, explains that MRI studies show that women have approximately 40 percent less upper body mass than men.
This means that a woman’s natural strength in her upper body is about 50-60 percent lower than a man’s. This explains the difference in pull-up scores. Nevertheless, many women can do pull-ups better than men. It all depends upon your training which brings us to our next point.
No matter your gender or age, you can do pull-ups as many times as you like – provided you train for them. You can do as many or as few pull-ups as you like. It all depends on your willingness to work hard. This is the most important factor. Many men and women have surpassed the above numbers.
Don’t let averages limit your potential. If you are doing it right, you can do as many reps as comfortable.
How to Do the Perfect Pull-Up
If you have ever tried to pull yourself up over a wall or a rod, you would probably have experienced that pull-up is one of the most difficult bodyweight exercises. The back is where the bulk of the effort is placed. However, you can challenge different parts by changing your grip, which we will discuss below.
This move improves core strength and can leave your upper body aching with fatigue. All you need is a doorframe bar or a pull-up bar. To get started, follow the following steps:
- With your arms extended upwards, grab the bar with your palms facing you. If your legs are dragging, raise and bend your legs and hang from the bar. If you are trained with your body weight, you can use a dip belt with chains to make your exercise more challenging.
- Keep your back, shoulders and your core engaged. Pull up. To help you climb higher, focus on using every muscle in your upper body.
- Slowly move upward until your chin moves above the bar. Then, slowly descend until your arms extend again.
- Try to do 10 pull-ups but don’t be discouraged if you fail to reach the number.
Don’t be discouraged if 10 pull-ups seem impossible right now. There are many ways to get your first full pull-up done. First, begin by becoming comfortable with your body weight by doing a dead hang without trying to pull yourself up. Hang as long as you can.
This way, you can strengthen your back muscles to prepare for pull-ups. You can also do exercises like bent dumbbell rows or inverted weight rows to strengthen your back muscles.
Many gyms have assisted pull-ups machines. This is where you sit on a platform and get some help to raise your weight. If you don’t have an assistive pull-up machine, you can place your foot or knee on a large looped resistance band fixed to the bar.
Furthermore, you can try different variations and stay consistent with the form that works for you well.
Here are the different types of pull-up exercises you can try depending on the grip and width of the hands. Every variation has a different effect on the body, so knowing when and how each grip works is important.
- Pronated: Palms Facing Away
Almost everyone knows about the classic pull-ups. This overhand or “pronated” grip is done by hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. It challenges the pecs, lats, and middle back. This is a great exercise to build mass and increase upper-body strength.
The targets are the lower trapezius (the middle back) and the latimuss dorsi. Pull-ups can be a great choice if you want to bulk up your back. Also, pull-ups can be more challenging than chin-ups. You should learn chin-up form first before you try pull-ups.
- Supinated: Palms Facing You
Which is better: the Pull-Up or the Chin-Up? This is a common question you might be listening to every time. Both are excellent exercises for body weight, but one isn’t necessarily better.
The chin-up targets the biceps brachii more effectively, while the pull-up targets the lower trapezius as well as latissimus dorsi. The chin-up allows for better biceps recruitment and focuses on the upper back.
The chin-up hand position that faces the palms towards you makes it easier to allow the pecs and biceps to control the movement. This is why they are often more popular than pull-ups.
Pull-ups place less emphasis on the biceps and more on the upper back, making it difficult for the pecs when they are done correctly. You can start with chin-ups if you want to strengthen your biceps or if you are unable to do pull-ups regularly.
- Neutral: Palms Facing Each Other
Another great variation is the Neutral Grip Pull-Up positioned by palms facing each other. As a result, it requires parallel handles that may not be attached to the pull-up bar at commercial gyms. However, you’re lucky if your gym has the equipment you need.
The neutral grip is a popular choice for those with shoulder problems in the past. The neutral grip allows for natural rotation at the wrists, shoulders, and wrists.
The neutral grip also heavily works your brachialis, a muscle in the biceps that pushes the brachii up and makes your arms appear larger. The neutral grip pull-ups are between the more difficult and easier chin-ups.
- Fingertip: Fingertips Only
This pull-up is performed by placing two, three, or four fingers from each hand on the bar or ledge about shoulder-width apart and your palms facing away from your body.
This pull-up primarily targets your upper back muscles. You may have trouble with this exercise if you don’t know how to do it. However, if you keep practicing it, you’ll quickly see a difference.
The fingertip pull-ups are especially risky as they do not increase muscle strength. It is instead designed to strengthen the ligaments and tendons within the fingers. This exercise takes longer to develop muscles.
- Ring: Holding onto Rings
A ring pull-up is a bodyweight exercise done on gymnastic rings. Ring pull-ups have a similar motion range to a bar pull-up or chin-up.
In these exercises, the goal is for your core to lift your head above the gymnastic rings. Ring pull-ups are great for strengthening your upper body and grip strength. You can practice ring pull-ups by starting in a dead hang position and holding the rings in each hand.
Then, pull your body upwards by pressing your shoulders together. Your elbows should be pointing towards your body so that your collarbone is above the rings’ bottom.
Ring pull-ups are a calisthenic exercise that can help you build strength and define muscles. It works the lats, biceps, shoulders, and core.
- Towel: Hanging from a OverTowel Draped the Bar
This grip variation will blow your forearms like nothing else. You will need two sturdy towels, not any old, raggedy gym towels with lots of holes to do towel grip pull-ups.
The towels should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart so that they are twisted around the pull-up bar. Rest pull-ups are performed as usual. Grab the towel base and hold it firmly. You will find that holding onto the towels can improve your grip and cause instability in your core.
- Jailhouse: Wide Grip, Pulling to Behind the Neck
This variation is called the jailhouse pull-up or a prisoner pull-up as it is known that prisoners would use anything to work out with, whether it is a pipe hanging over the head.
In this case, you face at the side of the pull-up bar or the door frame. Hold the bar with a lead hand and a backhand right at the back of the front using a mixed grip. Now pulling yourself up, you pull yourself to one side of the bar and lower yourself down. Second, you pull up again at the other side of the bar.
Now, you turn all-around, and your backhand is now the leading hand repeating the same as above. It is a great way to work your shoulders and back muscles.
- Mixed: One Hand Pronated, One Supinated
The mixed grip pull-up looks exactly like it sounds: one hand holds the overhand grip, and the other holds the underhand. This position gives you a stronger grip than other options, making it an excellent choice for heavy-weight repetitions.
It works for the same muscle groups as the traditional pull-up or chin-up. The muscular involvement is comparable to the basic methods of doing it.
A mixed grip is a great option if your grip strength prevents you from putting on a weight vest or weight belt chains while doing pull-ups and chin-ups. It will help if you switch up the way you grip so that both your hands do the same amount of reps. This will also prevent muscle imbalances.
- Lean-Away: Lean-To as Horizontal as Possible for the Negative Portion.
Start from the top position to do a negative pull-up. When you start, ensure your chin is above the bar. Slowly lower yourself to the bottom. Begin by lowering yourself to the bottom for 3-5 seconds. You can make a 10-second lowering motion.
It works all your muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest, and core, making it a great training exercise for traditional pull-ups.
Various studies show that the negative portion of the exercise may be more effective at building muscle than the complete rep.
- Wide: Wider than Normal Grip
Most fitness freaks believe that a wider grip activates their lats more. This pull-up pr chin-up is performed by hands gripped five inches wider than shoulder-width or beyond. However, it’s unnecessary to have a wider grip than the standard.
A standard grip is sufficient for those who want to strengthen their shoulders and improve their strength. A wider grip is not good for most people. It makes it more difficult for the pecs and lowers the strength.
The chin-up and pull-up with a wide grip are difficult for most people due to the lack of pec involvement. However, it severely restricts the range of motion. It can put extra stress on the shoulders and make it riskier.
- Narrow: Closer than Normal Grip
Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups are more effective if your hands are close together. A tighter grip will result in more pec activation. People tend to grip very narrowly for chin-ups with weightlifting dip belts. They have stronger pecs than their backs, so a tight grip makes it easier to carry more weight.
You could opt for a narrow grip if you want to get more out of your pull-ups or chin-ups. However, the standard grip will provide enough pec involvement for most people. People should stick with the standard grip, which measures shoulder width for most parts.
- One-arm: Using only One Arm
One-arm-pullups are one of the most difficult and impressive moves in calisthenics. Unfortunately, most people can’t do one-arm pull-ups with the correct form. To do your first one-arm pull-up, you should be able to do quite a few reps of pull-ups in a row.
Remember that whichever pull-up variation you have mastered, you can always use a dip belt with a chain if you aim to progress through your workout. A dip belt for pull-ups is a great way to improve your upper body shape.
All bodybuilders who can lift their weight prefer dips belts. While progressing through the pull-ups, your body weight is the limit. Bodybuilders will find great benefits from the weighted dip belt.
DMOOSE offers the perfect dip belt that allows you to hang the weight of your desired choice and strength. Increasing your pull-up and chin-up intensity will help you shape your upper body and build more muscles.
To gain strength in a pull-up by using a weighted dip belt, you should first train yourself to do the pull-up or chin-up in a proper form. Men who can do nine pull-ups and women who can do at least three pull-ups or chin-ups in any of the above variations can progress using a dip belt with chains.
You will see steady progress in your fitness and increase body strength if you incorporate proper warm-ups and rest into your exercise routine. Your ability to recover after your workouts will determine your final results. To allow adequate recovery, you should rest for 24 and 48 hours before returning to work for the same muscle groups.
- Hedayatpour, Nosratollah, and Deborah Falla. “Physiological and Neural Adaptations to Eccentric Exercise: Mechanisms and Considerations for Training.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2015, 2015, p. 193741. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/193741.