First off all, I want to start with saying I do not go to the gym often anymore as my current main sport is football. However, I do really want to improve on how many pull ups I am able to do, which is why I am posting this here.

My idea was to do 8 pull ups, rest for 3 minutes and repeat this 5 times. I am not able to complete this so when I fail on a rep, I finish the set with negative pull ups. Therefore, I am always going to failure.

I plan on doing this every other day (as I have been doing for the past 2 weeks) until I am able to complete the 5x 8 pull up exercise.

I am curious if you guys think that doing this consistently will help improve the amount of pull ups i could do over time and more importantly: What would be a realistic time period for which I would have to continue with this schedule to complete the exercise?

For context: I am 19 years old, 178 cm, 73 kg and would put myself at a beginner / intermediate level of fitness (I have been going to the gym on and off since I was 15).

I hope I was clear enough and followed the guidelines (otherwise I’d be willing to edit the post accordingly) Ty!

1 Answer 1


In general your approach sounds sensible to me since you set a training stimulus and have some progressive overload. Anyway, here some thoughts on your training plan:

  • Don't do always the same thing. You can vary reps per set, number of sets, rest time between sets, speed of execution, number of rest days, ... and later you could be adding some weight with a weight vest. And there are variations of pull ups, too!
  • Why is your goal 5*8? What happens after you reach that goal?
  • Do you pay attention to your food? There are different recommendations but you should have around 73*1.5= 110g proteins a day. Don't loose your muscle growth on the table.
  • What do you do on rest days? Are there some other activity where same muscles are engaged? If so, rest longer after those activities.
  • Get enough sleep. Recovery is as important as training.
  • Do you also train other movements than pull ups? What about push ups, squats etc?

I didn't get how many of your sets you are able to complete by now so it is hard to tell how long you will need to reach your goal. But in general I would say in a couple of months you should be there.

  • Thank you for your response! My goal is 5x 8 because I had a pr of doing 13 pull ups so I choose 8 reps. I tried to do it and usually was able to complete 3 sets of it. So then I figured to set my goal at 8 sets. However, I do not intend on stopping with doing pull ups when i achieve. I will probably try to learn muscle ups. I do pay some attention to my food. I eat no candy and try not to eat anything except fruits after dinner to prevent myself eating too much. I focus on eating peanut butter, fruits, greek yoghurt and a lot of nuts. I also avoid eating products high in sugar or fats. Commented Mar 28 at 9:04
  • On rest days I do not exercise. Along with the pull ups I do the same thing with push ups. (5x15) However this is more to complement the muscles used for the pull ups as I do not want to create major muscle imbalances but I also do not care as much about the push ups as I do about the pull ups. But I agree that varying it up way more is a good idea, this programmeis just really useful for me, as it keeps it simple which allows me to stick to it. Commented Mar 28 at 9:04
  • @ThomasJaspers Once you reach a plateau you really should think about how to vary your training. Periodization is a concept that comes into my mind here blog.nasm.org/periodization-training-simplified
    – LulY
    Commented Mar 28 at 10:30

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