I'm doing 5 sets of pullups with each set to exhaustion. However my pullups really decreases after the first two sets. I would start off doing 7, then 5, then i get to 2 or 3 if i really try for the next sets. I'm resting about 2min between sets, and I rest 2 days before my next pullups sessions.

If I rest much longer, I can pull off more. But is that good?

Ultimately my goal is strength, and slowly I've been increasing my pullups number. But how do I perform better for the later sets?

  • You can check some of the other questions tagged with "pull-up" for ideas on how to increase your rep count.
    – VPeric
    Sep 20, 2012 at 8:17
  • Your plan of 5 sets of pullups with 2+ minute rests sounds fine. Like @VPeric says, you can find other plans for training pullups on this site, if you wanted. You say that your reps are going up slowly, and that sounds OK. Pullups are hard, just be patient, and keep training consistently, and you'll get better.
    – DavidR
    Sep 20, 2012 at 17:44
  • trainingforclimbing.com/…
    – mloskot
    Jun 8, 2016 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


If your goal is strength, you're doing fine. Five sets is a lot, seven reps in the beginning isn't too shabby for where you are, and your reps are going up. You're getting stronger.

If anything, the rest periods are too short. Less time between sets makes your conditioning and strength-endurance a more significant factor. More time between sets keeps the focus on strength. Going up to three or five minutes between sets might be better.

If you're doing other strenuous training, three sets might be plenty. If this is your primary training, I'd keep the number of sets as-is.


You should definitely rest more between sets. If you are maxing out every set then 2 minutes won't be long enough for your heart rate to recover and your muscles to loosen up again before you go into the next set. You are actually limiting your strength gains by not resting enough to be able to handle the load.

I'd recommend going 1-2 reps under your max for 5 sets until that becomes easy then try and add those reps back in and you should be able to handle the 5x7 just fine. Which means you are stronger.

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