If you struggle with pull-ups, doing a few throughout the day can build your skill and improve pull-up performance in the gym. Additionally, science shows that doing mini-workouts of any kind can boost your mood and energy, keep you fit between gym visits, and improve your heart health. So, it may be worthwhile to make daily pull-ups a part of your routine. However, doing pull-ups throughout the day will not translate to long-term muscle and strength gains.
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Is it OK to Do Pull-Ups Throughout the Day?
Taking brief breaks throughout your day for a mini-workout routine carries quite a few benefits. In fact, doing even short bursts of activity is better than no activity at all. Although you won’t get nearly the same strength and muscle mass increases by doing a few pull-ups here and there, in most cases working pull-ups into your day is a positive choice.
- Doing pull-ups throughout the day has a host of mental benefits, so it’s often worth doing them.
- A few pull-ups here and there won’t provide the results of a dedicated workout.
- Don’t replace a workout schedule with scattered mini-workouts.
Doing pull-ups throughout the day can be taken too far. If you’re thinking of replacing a dedicated 20–90-minute workout with scattered pull-ups, think again. You’ll get far more benefits from an exercise plan that dedicates 20 minutes or more to exercise at once. It’s also essential to add other exercises to a workout plan. Pull-ups alone aren’t enough. Think of your pull-up mini-workout as a supplement to your fitness plan, not an alternative.
Can You Build Muscle Just By Doing Pull-Ups Throughout the Day?
While you can develop skills at pull-ups from doing them throughout the day, you will experience very little long-term muscle mass and strength benefits. Mini-workouts won’t exhaust your muscles to the point that they will benefit greatly. Muscles grow best when worked near to muscle failure by dedicated sets and reps over a longer period of time. Mini-workouts simply won’t increase muscular endurance or mass by much.
- Doing pull-ups throughout the day will not contribute to substantial strength or muscle mass gains.
- Pull-ups primarily work your back and biceps.
- Make sure your fitness program includes dedicated workouts for all your major muscle groups.
In addition to not effectively building muscle, pull-ups are an upper body exercise. Pulling your body weight up primarily works the lats (latissimus dorsi) and the biceps. A true fitness routine works all the major muscle groups of the body.
Is it Good to Do Pull-Ups Throughout the Day? 5 Benefits
You’ll hear it everywhere—pull-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do. This is very true. Pull-ups are an extremely effective exercise for building muscle strength when included in a comprehensive workout plan. But what benefits can you gain from doing pull-ups throughout the day?
Grease the Groove
Many beginning weightlifters struggle with pull-ups. Doing them throughout the day can help build skill and competence through a theory called “greasing the groove.” Essentially, by performing a few pull-ups throughout the day, you will begin to train the mind-muscle connection that helps you do pull-ups more efficiently. To use this system for yourself, do the following:
- Perform 1–3 pull-ups whenever you pass by your pull-up bar throughout the day.
- Do not work your muscles to failure. Do just enough so that you perform all your reps with good form.
- Slowly increase the number of pull-ups you do.
By greasing the groove and getting your brain and body used to pull-ups, you’ll see your performance on pull-ups shoot up in the gym. This is a great way to tackle a daunting exercise. Just remember to perform proper, no-swing pull-ups every time.
Boost Your Mood
Professional studies have shown that the “exercise effect” leads to a better mood and increased happiness in those who exercise. Exercise, even in short bursts, can help alleviate some of the symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, adding extra daily pull-ups to your routine can truly put a smile on your face.
- Exercise has been proven to improve your mood and may help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Doing pull-ups throughout the day can help to brighten your mood.
Although a few pull-ups won’t put your body through enough work to release feel-good endorphins (this takes about 30 minutes of strenuous exercise), the mental break of a short burst of exercise, combined with the knowledge that you’re doing something good for yourself, can be a real mood-lifter.
Increase Your Energy Levels
According to this study, participants who performed taxing sprints reported increased levels of energy. It may seem counterintuitive that working out can make you feel more energized, but it really is true. Getting your blood flowing with a few pull-ups here and there can give you a boost of energy.
- Exercising provides increased sensations of energy.
- Break up your day with pull-up workouts to keep your energy at top levels.
If you have the space and the opportunity, break up a monotonous workday with mini-workouts. You can even set reminders for a 5-minute workout break every hour or every few hours. Taking a break from work or studying for a few pull-ups can help boost your energy levels and help you get back to work.
Maintain Your Physique
If you’ve got such a busy schedule that regular training sessions aren’t an option for the time being, breaking up your day with brief workouts is a great answer. Doing a few pull-ups here and there can help maintain your current fitness level until you get back to the gym for a dedicated 20–90-minute workout.
- Mini-workouts can help prevent your gym progress from eroding during a time where you can’t work out regularly.
- A few pull-ups throughout the day can help maintain your back and bicep muscles.
- Include exercises in your mini-workouts to maintain other muscles.
To maintain your overall fitness during a busy time, mix up your exercises. You may do pull-ups throughout the day on Monday, push-ups on Tuesday, then squats on Wednesday. By using your mini-workouts on several different exercises, you can stimulate muscles throughout your body.
Lower Your Triglyceride Levels
Doing pull-ups throughout the day may be good for your heart. This university study showed that senior adults who performed 6-second sprint workouts 2 times per week had lower triglyceride levels than those who didn’t. Because high triglyceride levels are linked to heart disease, doing a few pull-ups throughout the day may help reduce your risk of serious disease.
What are the Drawbacks of Doing Pull-Ups Every Day?
Performing pull-ups every day can fatigue your back and bicep muscles, especially if you’re working them consistently as part of a fitness routine. Working your muscles too much can result in injury. It can also result in overtraining your muscles, which actually makes them grow more slowly.
- Performing pull-ups between workouts can cause muscle fatigue and injury.
- You may overtrain your back and biceps by performing too many pull-ups—this can slow your muscle development.
- Avoid “challenge” workouts that ask you to perform large amounts of pull-ups every day.
Focusing only on pull-ups can also cause stress injury in your elbow. A challenge that asks you to do 50 pull-ups a day for 30 days isn’t a true workout plan. It’s only a challenge. You won’t develop bigger, stronger muscles but you will overwork them and risk hurting yourself.
Is it a Good Idea to Do Pull-Ups Throughout the Day?
Doing pull-ups throughout the day has benefits and drawbacks. The simplest breakdown of the pros and cons is:
- Trains your mind-muscle connection and improves pull-up performance for beginners.
- Improves your mood.
- Gives you an instant energy boost.
- Maintains muscular strength if you cannot currently dedicate time to working out.
- Lowers triglyceride levels for improved heart health.
- Won’t build substantial muscle mass or strength.
- Is not a substitute for dedicated workouts.
- Can cause repetitive stress injury.
- May disrupt recovery and result in overtraining if paired with a workout program.
So, if you’re considering a daily pull-up solution, keep in mind that most of the benefits are mental, not physical. There are several pluses to doing daily pull-ups, but you need a dedicated workout schedule to see true muscle-building results.