First ask yourself why you want to do pullups and chinups every day.

Is there any particular reason for doing these on a daily basis? I’m a former certified personal trainer (who performs a complete pullup and chinup workout once a week), and the question of whether or not to do pullups and chinups every day deserves more than just a simple yes or no answer.

My first instinct is to answer this question with another question: Should you do bench press every day? Should you do barbell squats every day?

Interestingly, few fitness enthusiasts would answer “Yes” to these questions. So why, then, would you consider doing pullups or chinups every day?

Just because pullups and chinups don’t require barbells doesn’t mean that these exercises should be treated any differently than any other multi-joint (compound) weight-lifting exercise.

Another reason that fitness enthusiasts are more likely to regard pullups and chinups as something you “can do” every day, versus bench press, barbell squats and military press, is because of the convenience:

If you have a bar in your home between a door frame, it beckons you to use it every day; whereas, the bench press and squatting equipment require a trip to the gym.

But just because you pass under that bar every day in your home doesn’t mean that this exercise should be considered for daily involvement.

I say, treat pullups and chinups as you would any other multi-muscle strength training routine.


Pullups and chinups are a weight-lifting exercise; the weight you are lifting is your body weight, and though this resistance isn’t made of metal, it still counts just as much as a barbell with metal plates.

Do your pullups and chinups with your back routine.

  • Do you do heavy rows every day? I doubt it.
  • Do you do lat pull-downs every day? I doubt it.
  • Do you do dead-lifts on a daily basis? I doubt it.
  • With that in mind, it’s not necessary to do pullups and chinups every day.

But does this mean it’s bad to do these exercises every day? Well, what would happen if you did challenging bench presses every day, or military presses daily?

This would lead to problems associated with overtraining. Muscles would not get adequate recovery time. Muscles need to recover: strength training 101.

Progress would come to a halt with that daily bench press. I can’t imagine a steady progress curve resulting from pullups and chinups done every day, any more than I can fathom steady progress in strength gains from barbell squats, bench presses or military presses done daily, even dumbbell curls.

Some men claim that they’ve made progress with daily pullups and chinups as far as quantity.

But I also don’t know what the rest of their routine entails. Maybe the pullups and chinups are pretty much all they do for their upper body.

And some men (and women) have a very comprehensive weight-lifting routine, hitting all the major upper body muscles quite hard; there would not be any room for daily pullups or chinups, unless … they did only a few of these daily, versus multiple sets of standard rep counts.

On my triceps and shoulder days, I see no reason to add pullups or chinups, because I do these on my back days.

On the other hand, if I had no triceps and shoulder day, I suppose I could do a few pullup or chinup sets and not suffer any overtraining or impedance in strength gains.

You may be doing pullups or chinups every day because you feel you have to, and dread it.

Knock it back to once or twice a week, but on those days, do these exercises to complete muscle failure. Use varying hand positions or handles.

Really go at it. The several days’ recovery time in between will allow your muscles to GROW.

Muscles get stronger during recovery, not during the actual workout. Adequate recovery is key to strength and size gains.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.