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How Many Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups Can the...
 
 
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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06-16-2011, 06:40 PM
 
Hey friends,

I have received an e-mail asking me how many Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups the average man can do. The e-mail was sent to me by a man that said he was shocked to discover that he could only perform "almost five repetitions". He said that he had been following another man's course that "does not include any form of chinning" for the last several years but had assumed that
Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups were no big deal because that is what the other author had said. As a result he thought that he was much stronger than he really was. He went on to say that he had never performed pull-ups until he started reading posts on our forum. When he decided to start performing Pull-Ups he was humbled. he could not complete five good reps. So his question was, "John, how many Pull-Ups can the average physically fit man do? How bad is it to only be able to perform less than five?"

Answer: There are many men that are very strong at moving external resistance but have problems when it comes to mastering their own body weight. Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups are one example of a body weight exercise that very few men can do more than a few repetitions of starting from a dead hang and with no kipping. So what is the typical rep range for the average fit man that has no track record with performing Pull-Ups? I'm guessing somewhere between 3 and 7 repetitions but not more than 7 reps for an above average fit and stronger than average man. Why? Because most men will not have the gripping strength that would allow for more than 3 to 7 reps tops. That's my take. What do the rest of you think? There is no right or wrong answer. Just opinions based upon experience.

---John Peterson
 
 
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Greg Newton Greg Newton is offline
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06-16-2011, 07:50 PM
 
Hey John,

This is my experience for what it is worth. As a scrawny teen weighing less than 110 pounds, by doing Atlas Pushups for a few months, I got where I could do 13 chinups.

In my mid to late twenties at 160-165, I could do a lot of pullups, IF I was doing a lot of pushups 4 - 5 days a week and practicing pullups at least once a week.

In my mid thirties while owning a gym and weighing 180 -- 185, I could do 18-20 rather sloppy chinups for an all out set, IF I was practicing chinups and pullups at odd times during the day.

In my late thirties and early forties while weighing 200-217 pounds of weight trained bulk, I couldn't hardly chin or pullup myself at all. On a good day I might be able to do 3 - 4 reps.

For the first few years of practicing Transformetrics weighing around 195-200, even though I was doing a lot of pushups, chins and pullups were hard. Training them was sporadic, and I kept getting injuries from dropping into the bottom position. A long bout of tendinitis in the right elbow kept me from chinning for quite awhile.

Last year the elbow finally cleared up, thanks to Nutriprima's pain and inflamation formula and Isometrics and I started getting into chinning and pullups again. Because of old weight training injuries to the rotator cuff, I started off with half and 3/4's reps. Slowly I built my reps up. I'd do ladders and multiple sets of 3, 4, and 5. Gradually I increased my range of motion.

It paid off. Today I do sets of 10 - 8 strict, deadhang pullups at 185. I can do 12-14 in a fairly strict all out effort. Still no great record, but much better than when I started. Unless you just have a natural ability to chin and a lean bodyweight to pull, it will take time to develop your strength. As well, the combination of pushups and pullups works wonders.

You can achieve a decent build without them, but you won't have the strength to do them unless you practice them.

Greg Newton
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Last edited by Greg Newton; 06-16-2011 at 07:52 PM.
 
 
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tom tom is offline
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06-16-2011, 09:35 PM
 
I'm guessing in their twenties, average men can do from 3 - 10 pullups. In their thirties, less than half can do one. From forties on, most cannot do a pullup.

Remember, I'm talking average, not just those who work out.

Also remember, I'm doing this completely off the top of my head. I wonder if Google would know.

Ok, I clicked on the first google choice. It did not give an age breakdown as it did with pushups and situps. According to that site, the average is one.

Wow, maybe I was optimistic.

Also, off the top of my head, pure opinion, I think even if a man had grip assistance, the numbers wouldn't change. Bodyweight is just a lot of weight. The average man has way too much.

Tom


Google more if you want a different answer.
 
 
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gbjj gbjj is offline
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06-17-2011, 06:24 AM
 
Quote:
So what is the typical rep range for the average fit man that has no track record with performing Pull-Ups? I'm guessing somewhere between 3 and 7 repetitions but not more than 7 reps for an above average fit and stronger than average man. Why? Because most men will not have the gripping strength that would allow for more than 3 to 7 reps tops. That's my take. What do the rest of you think? There is no right or wrong answer. Just opinions based upon experience.

---John Peterson
I tend to agree with you on this John; however, not for the same reasons. I think the main issue is not the grip strength, but really just a factor of being overweight. I donít really have any scientific reasoning behind my answer, merely what I have observed in my life, and in others that Iíve been exposed to.

When I see people attempt to do Pull-Ups itís typically not a grip strength failure but just an overall lack of pulling power to perform them

Me personally, I have never been good at pull-ups but I have great grip strength, my failure is that I havenít trained my back by doing pull-ups, no excuses, simply stated. You want to have an incredibly built and strong back, then you need to train pull-ups.

Iím a week and a half into my Pull-up program and although my progress numbers wise has not even changed a bit, I have noticed an incredible difference in my quality of pull-ups since I started. I havenít increased my numbers at all, but I am able to change up the speed and focus more on what Iím doing instead of struggling to get it doneÖ Iím pretty happy about my progress and changes going on right now..!!!
 
 
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duff duff is offline
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06-17-2011, 01:56 PM
 
I'm with Tom on this one. Most people I know who aren't rock climbers or Ashtanga yoga teachers can't do 1 strict pullup.

I couldn't do one my whole life until college when I started training them with negatives.
 
 
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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06-17-2011, 03:25 PM
 
Hey Duff,

I could not agree with you more. There is one other factor that many of the men from this forum may not even be aware of and that is the actual mechanics of the motion itself. Seriously, if someone has never performed a single Pull-Up or Chin-Up there is bound to be a learning curve involved and until one has the basic mechanics of the movement down they will not be able to synchronize breathing, muscular contraction and movement together and as a result literally fight against themselves on each repetition.

---John Peterson
 
 
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Kevin Nickerson Kevin Nickerson is offline
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06-17-2011, 03:53 PM
 
The most I have done so far is six. This was probably mentioned before, but I started gripping the bar as if
I was going to bend it. I started gripping the bar with the pinky finger first then the rest follow. I reaaly tried to
make an effort to grip the most with the pinky. When I do the chin I try to imagine I'm bending down the bar.
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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06-17-2011, 05:48 PM
 
Hey Friends,

I appreciate the integrity of these responses. I really don't think I am off the mark here at all. In general, a fit and stronger than average athletic guy can perform about 5 to 7 Pull-Ups unless he specifically trains at doing them.

---john Peterson
 
 
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Greg Newton Greg Newton is offline
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06-17-2011, 08:27 PM
 
Quote:
Seriously, if someone has never performed a single Pull-Up or Chin-Up there is bound to be a learning curve involved and until one has the basic mechanics of the movement down they will not be able to synchronize breathing, muscular contraction and movement together and as a result literally fight against themselves on each repetition.

That is the kind of advice that got me moving on pullups again. Two things in particular helped. First taking 3-5 minutes between sets. Afterall, John told me, you are pulling your own bodyweight. Second was learning to breath and to exhale strongly as I pull up.

Greg
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djanello djanello is offline
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06-17-2011, 10:52 PM
 
when i s started this stuff back in 2008 i was doing lots of swimming with plenty of pushups and situps.

i could do ZERO pullups.

the trick with pullups is that there are a lot of muscles that have to fire in combination. if only one muscle is weak the pullup is not going to happen.

in PYTP it says that if you do isometric + self resistance exercises then pullups would no longer be a problem. by hitting a wide variety of muscles these exercises found the missing link and strengthened it.

after about six weeks i did my first pullup and gradually increased the #s from there.

about 10 years earler i tried using a reduced load machine at the gym to build up to full range unassisted pullups and dips but it did not work.

bottom line : the real key to leaving the zero pullup zone is isos+self resistance. providing that your weight is under control.
 
 
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