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eadinad's avatar

How hard is it to be able to do pull-ups?

Asked by eadinad (1278points) January 14th, 2008

Okay, this is kind of a silly question, but that’s what the collective is for, right?

I’m a 5’2”, 105 lb female with a poor to average level of fitness, as in, I can currently do about 1.5 pullups. : / Anyway, for no reason at all I bet my boyfriend that in three months, I could do ten pull-ups (at a time.)

Is this at all feasible? Does anyone know anything about fitness, specifically pull-ups, specifically females and pull-ups, and have any idea how hard I’d have to work to be able to accomplish this?

Thanks. : )

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13 Answers

VoodooLogic's avatar

if you will it, it is no dream. Start with the latissimus dorsi machine w/ 3 sets of 10 reps.

gailcalled's avatar

Talk w. a trainer at the gym; don’t let us get you into trouble. If you are doing 1.5, in a couple of weeks aim for 2 (say I, ignoring my own advice.) How old are you? If still in HS, talk to Phys. Ed teacher.

eadinad's avatar

Thanks for answering, guys.

Unfortunately(?) I am not in highschool, and don’t have immediate access to a gym/trainer. I will look into it though.

ben's avatar

I think that’s a challenging, but feasible result. Once you can do 1, it gets much easier to improve. Getting to 5 or 6 would certainly be doable. I’m no trainer, but I’d recommend “maxing out” (doing as many as you can until you can’t anymore) at least every other day. If you can, have someone assist you through the full range of motion (a gym machine could do this as well) after the max out to ensure you complete destroy your muscles. Take a day off, then do it again. Make sure you really push yourself, and I think you might pull it off.

kevbo's avatar

Three months is puh-lenty of time, assuming you stick to a training schedule. If you can’t get into a gym and don’t have access to a machine, you’ll need to figure out a way to do the motion. In addition to doing a straight pull up, try to figure out a way to do “cheating” pull ups either by pushing off the ground with your legs or doing push ups at an angle instead of 90 degrees vertical. You’ll want to tire out your muscles with multiple reps and then rest them for a day. Good luck.

gooch's avatar

When I was in the military we increased our max numbers by repition of the exercise throughout the day. For example we must have done 500 push up every day, but we would only do 10 at a time to start. As time went on we did 20 at a time, then 30, then 40, get the picture…At the end I could do 100 without stopping. Also loosing a little weight makes it easier because you have less to pull up. Cheating by facing palm to you is easier than palms facing away.Good luck.

kevbo's avatar

meant “pull ups” instead of “push ups”

PrancingUrchin's avatar

to best increase your pull up max it is best to, of course, work out with pull ups but also other exercises using your shoulders, back and some biceps (not too much biceps). Also work with chin ups (palms toward you) in addition to you pull up work out. In 3 months, you should easily be able to do 10 pull ups if not more. But don’t get discouraged, pullups are hard and take persistence. Good luck!

Poser's avatar

Well, the most important question is: what are the terms of the bet? I’ve made bets with my girlfriend that I had no intention of winning, since the consequences of my losing were more than acceptable, if you know what I mean. (Sounds like your boyfriend might have done the same thing here).

But if you’re set on winning the bet, you most definitely can. Maxing out your pull-ups/chin-ups will definitely get you there. You can also do “half” reps. Starting at the bottom (arms straight), pull yourself halfway up. And, starting from the top, lower yourself halfway and pull yourself back up. In addition to full-range pull-ups, maxing out on these half-reps will get you closer to your goal.

And while the old adage, “No pain, no gain,” is true (you really do have to work your muscles to failure), don’t forget that your muscles grow at rest. So be sure to take at least a day in between to let your muscles recover.

Good luck!

eadinad's avatar


You’re right, if I do lose the bet the terms are…acceptable. But still, I’d like to win just to say I did. : )

Thanks everyone for the advice. I feel encouraged.

itsnotmyfault1's avatar

10 pullups is a lot :(
maybe just because im a scrawny cross country runner.
the most i’ve ever done is 8 in a row.

sarapnsc's avatar

You are at an advantage, you don’t have the heavy body weight most people do to do pull ups. If I were you, I would start building your strength and endurance every single day, especially on the upper body strength. Yoga would be good to start with, it has a lot of upper body strength exercises, plus it’s also for the whole body & yoga can be done everyday.
Plus yoga will give you stamina & endurance.
You also, want to exercise your core (power house) as well, that is the center of everything in your body, a strong stomach will help with pulling you up. Work out with weights for your arms, chest and shoulders 2–3 times a week and do floor push ups.
If you can go to the park and pull up on the monkey bars…it’s free and would give you a good start & great practice on the pull ups. Start out slowly, because you will be sore. Work up gradually, add 2–3 new exercises to your routine each week. Also, add more protein to your diet so your muscle isn’t torn down, it will help keep your muscle and build it up. I think these things will give you great upper body strength to accomplish the pull ups! Good luck & come back & tell up how it turned out!

Poser's avatar

Wasn’t the time limit on this three months? How did it turn out? Did you win?

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