Why is it recommended to be able to do 10 pullups before adding weight? I never really understood that.

  • Who recommends this? I started weighted pullups as soon as I reached 5-6 normal. Doing sets of 2-3 weighted was awesome.
    – Alec
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 21:47
  • I'm not sure actually. I've seen it in some places. Sometimes it's 8 or more pullups, sometimes it's 3 sets of 10 pullups. Right now I can only do 7. It usually takes me 30 minutes of rest between sets of 7. I was thinking of getting to 10 pullups in a row before doing 3x5 weighted pullups every other day. When you do sets of 3 reps(weighted) how do you progress? Do you do 3x3 and then add weight?
    – moh abdi
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 22:10
  • Well, as always variety is key. After warmups, I might do 3x3 with +10kg, or maybe 3 reps with 5kg, 3 reps with 10kg, 3 reps with 15kg, and then pyramid back down. It's really up to you and what you feel like doing.
    – Alec
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Most people treat pullups like some kind of special exercise where reps, sets, and weights are somehow on a different plane of existence and doesn't obey all the rules of fitness.

It's no different than any other exercise. You will increase your strength no matter what your rep range is, but you will increase your strength more if you do weighted ones in the 3-6 range, get more hypertrophic results in the 6-10 range, and get more muscular endurance in the 10-18ish range.

So, what are your goals?

Personally, I do think it's important to have the muscular endurance to do pullups (or chinups) in the 10-ish rep range. But honestly if you can do 5 weighted pullups with a 25lb plate chained to you, doing 10 with just your bodyweight will be cake.

Also, regarding one of your comments:

It usually takes me 30 minutes of rest between sets of 7.

That's a lot of rest, like basically multiple workouts. Not that that's a bad thing.

It's not an official strength standard but I think there's a bit of wisdom to the idea that 3x10 (or 3x12) chinups/pullups is a good idea. Pullups/chinups are multi-joint exercises affecting the back, trunk, shoulders, and arms. Having muscular endurance in that department is akin to be able to run a mile: it's just a handy thing for a human being to be able to do. For a variety of reasons.

All that being said, introducing weighted pulls/chins "early" isn't going to do anything but help. Just don't ignore the value and significance of the exercise for developing muscular endurance as well. In a year or two if you can't do 3x12 with a minute in between, you're probably missing something.

  • My goal is to get as strong as possible on weighted pullups. I'd like to be able to do reps with 45 extra pounds.
    – moh abdi
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 1:02

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