How To Do 10 Pull Ups (or 20, 30, 40, or EVEN Fifty)

Have you ever wondered how to do 10 pull ups in one straight set?

Or perhaps even more if you’ve already achieved this feat?

The pull up is often regarded as the ultimate test of muscular strength, whether your preference is bodyweight training or hitting the weights regularly in the gym.

In fact, there is nothing more pleasing than being able to perform 10 or 20 or even more, perfect form, strict pull ups (no kipping please).

So, in today’s article I’d like to show you how to do 10 pull ups.

Plus, if you’ve plateaued at a higher number of reps and you want to take your pull ups to the next level, this exact form of training will work for you as well.

This article is aimed at those of you who can already perform at least a few consecutive pull ups.

If you are unable to perform a single pull up then I’ve included some fantastic information further down the page from Tony Gentilcore, as well as some truly awesome videos.

I can guarantee if you follow Tony’s great advice it won’t be long before a lack of pull ups is a thing of the past.

Additionally, I’d also introduce you to “Lee’s Lockdown Pull Ups” for those of you stuck at home without access to a bar – some truly awesome tips.

However, for now let’s get the rest of you to that magical number 10.

How To Do 10 Pull Ups

I’d like to introduce you to bodyweight density training.A man hanging from a bar presumably performing pull ups

In its simplest form, density training means progressively packing more intensity into your workouts. In other words, you’re doing the same number of reps, but in a shorter amount of time.

I’m sure you’re aware of the term “progressive overload”, which is basically making an exercise harder over a period of time. And this is how we get bigger, stronger, build more muscle, etc.

When it comes to the weights room progressive overload will typically mean that you add extra weight to the bar.

When it comes to bodyweight training most people will assume that progressive overload means that we add more and more reps, but in truth this will merely improve strength endurance, and won’t have the desired effect on actual strength, size. or muscle.

However, by performing the same number of reps in a shorter amount of time you can actually get to see some great muscular and strength improvements.

RELATED ====>Time-Volume Training Review – Density Training

How To Do 10 Pull Ups Using EMOM Training

EMOM or Every Minute On the Minute training is probably most commonly associated with Crossfitters.

You generally choose an exercise (or perhaps 2 or 3) and set a timer for a specific amount of time, then perform a specific number of reps every time the timer strikes the minute mark.

I have typically used this method of training as a conditioning-type workout, but also to get a high volume of reps with a heavy weight.

And this is the point, you are able to potentially achieve a higher number of reps than usual, by using EMOM training.

An example would be setting a timer for 15 minutes. Then loading a bar with double your bodyweight. You are now looking to perform 3 deadlifts every minute on the minute.

Now I know for me, I could probably perform 8 reps of deadlifts with double my bodyweight on the bar, but after about 3 sets (with around 2-3 minutes rest in between) I would feel as though I am done. So, I would have achieved 24 reps.

However, with the EMOM method, I don’t see 3 reps with this weight as being that difficult, and therefore I would have more energy to continue the workout.

By the end of 15 minutes I would have performed 45 reps with the same weight, but probably with a lot less stress on my lower back.

If you’re looking to perform 10 strict pull ups (or more) you can use the exact same methodology, along with density training, to get you there.

The Bodyweight Density Training Article By Jim Stoppani

As I mentioned, I typically used EMOM training as a conditioning tool or simply to get more volume in.

I then read this article by Jim Stoppani and had a sudden “aha” moment.

I shall explain my findings in a moment.

If you have been involved in health and exercise for any period of time you will undoubtedly know exactly who Jim Stoppani is.

If not, shame on you, LOL, I jest.

Jim Stoppani, PhD, is considered to be one of the very leading authorities in the science of exercise, sports nutrition and supplementation.

He holds a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut. He has written thousands of articles on health, exercise and nutrition, as well as authoring and co-authoring various books.

Jim has also worked as a health and nutrition consultant for various celebrity clients such as, LL Cool J, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dr. Dre, and Mario Lopez.

Basically, if Jim speaks you shut up and listen.

How To Do 10 Pull Ups The Jim Stoppani Way

So, what we have basically learned from Jim’s article is that if your aim is to perform a certain number of reps consecutively of an exercise, such as pull ups, then your density training workouts should incorporate double this number.

The reason for this is that you want to build up the necessary muscular endurance.

Therefore, if you’re looking to complete 10 straight pull ups in a row then your workouts should involve doing 20 pull ups, but completing them in less time once you complete each “phase”.

This works exactly the same for any number of reps you’re looking to achieve (your body density/EMOM workouts should always be double this number), and Jim centres his article around pull ups, dips, and push ups.

So, if your aim is to do 20 pull ups consecutively then your workouts need 40 pull ups.How To Do 10 Pull Ups

If you want to achieve 40 push ups in one set then your workouts should incorporate 80 push ups, and so on.

Using Jim’s method to attain 10 pull ups you would require 4 “phases”.

Phase 1

10 sets x 2 reps EMOM – you will complete 2 pull ups whenever your timer hits the minute mark, so this will take you 10 minutes to complete.

You may be able to complete this 10 minute EMOM workout at your very first attempt or then again you may be struggling to get your 2 reps in by the 6th or 7th set (remember we’re looking for perfect form, strict pull ups here).

Just keep going with phase one until you hit 2 perfect pull ups EMOM for 10 minutes.

Once you are able to complete 2 reps EMOM for a total of 10 minutes you are ready to move onto the next phase.

Phase 2

8 sets x 3 reps EMOM – you will complete a total of 3 reps whenever your timer hits the minute mark.

Because we are looking at progression, or completing at least double your “goal” reps in less time, Phase 2 actually incorporates more reps.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around that, as it would be a little silly to say you need to complete 2 and a half reps EMOM for 8 minutes.

Phase 3

6 sets x 4 reps EMOM – 4 reps whenever your timer hits the minute mark for a total of 24 reps.

Phase 4

4 sets x 5 reps EMOM – 5 reps whenever the timer hits the minute mark for a total of 20 reps.

The Results

In theory once you have reached this final phase you should be able to perform 10 strict pull ups in a row.

You can use the same method to achieve 20, 30, 40 or even 50 pull ups, depending on your current fitness and strength levels.

With that said, the higher rep goals will typically involve 6 phases, but you will also be performing double your goal reps in each workout (or slightly more), and you will always start with 10 minutes of EMOM and end with 4 minutes of EMOM.

If you are already performing 10-15 pull ups per set then your next goal would be to get 20 pull ups in one set. Your phases would work as follows:

  • Phase 1 – 10 sets x 4 reps EMOM for 10 minutes
  • Phase 2 – 8 sets x 5 reps (8 minutes)
  • Phase 3 – 7 sets x 6 reps (7 minutes)
  • Phase 4 – 6 sets x 7 reps (6 minutes)
  • Phase 5 – 5 sets x 8 reps (5 minutes)
  • Phase 6 – 4 sets x 10 reps (4 minutes)

Once you can do 4 sets of 10 reps EMOM you should theoretically be able to do 20 pull ups.

What If You Can’t Do Any Pull Ups? (The Tony Gentilcore Method)

Okay, I promised you earlier that I had some fantastic information to share from Tony Gentilcore about attaining that first pull up.

You can read Tony’s article here===>The Missing Key to Conquering Your First Pull Up

You basically need to ensure that you’re training the actual pull up movement pattern (even if you’re not performing actual pull ups) and getting in a lot of volume on a weekly basis as well.

Here’s Tony taking you throught the various progressions, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, as well as a bonus move which Tony cites as, “one of his favourite accessory pull up builder exercises”.

Enjoy.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

BONUS

Lee’s Lockdown Pull Ups (Update 11th November 2020)

At the time of writing, here in the UK we have entered our second lockdown period of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, this means that the gyms have closed down until further notice.

We have been told that this lockdown will last for 4 weeks until early-December, although whether that happens remains to be seen.

Now I understand that many of you may not have access to a pull up bar at home and therefore working the upper back and biceps can sometimes be a struggle.

With that said, I’ve recently read a fantastic article by LJ Kudos, a fellow blogger, and someone who’s articles and website I love to read and follow.

Check out Lee’s video below, which will give you an amazing insight into how to work the lats, traps, rhomboids, and biceps if you are stuck indoors 

You can also read Lee’s full article – How to Do Pull Ups at Home Without a Bar.

And now back to those of you aiming for 10 pull ups.

When Should You Move Onto The Next Phase (& Testing)?

I don’t want to actually put a number on as to when you should move onto the next phase, because as far as I’m concerned, only once you’ve achieved your goal in a certain phase then you are ready to move on.

I think it would be wrong of me to give each phase a specific timescale, and I know that goes against the grain when the internet is awash with “get six-pack abs in 30 days” or “gain 20lbs of muscle in a week”, etc.

However, when you’re ready, then you’re ready.

I think saying something along the lines of “you should spend 10 days on each phase” would put undue pressure on you. This may mean moving onto the next phase before you’ve actually achieved the previous one.

Additionally, you may find that some phases (at the beginning or as you get stronger) are being achieved with your first attempt.

Just go with what makes you happy and only move on when you’re ready to. If this takes a week, 10 days, or even a month, as long as you’re eventually progressing, then it’s all good.

As for testing, in his article, Jim Stoppani mentions testing your maximum reps at the end of each phase. This makes a lot of sense to me.

You want to make sure that you are progressing, so if your ultimate goal is to do 10 pull ups, and you previously could only do 5, then testing after each phase should hopefully prove that you are getting stronger and nearer to your goal.

When Should You Be Doing Your Pull Up Workouts?

How To Do 10 Pull Ups

I would say that you need to be completing your pull up workouts at least twice a week, but this will very much depend on your current strength and fitness levels, as well as how many pull ups you can actually do at the moment.

Additionally, you will have to take your current workout plan into consideration.

If you train the standard “bro” workout – legs, chest, shoulders, back and arm days, then a good place to start would be at the beginning or your back workout day and also on your leg day.

This way you will be working similar muscles afterwards on back day and then on leg day it won’t matter so much if your lats and arms are feeling a little sore.

Personally, I would be aiming for 3 days a week (although I currently do hundreds of pull up variations a week anyway, but I have spent years building up to that level), ensuring that you have a day’s “rest” (from your pull ups) in between.

If you typically workout 3 days a week this is perfect, as you can go straight into your pull ups after your warm up.

I would also say it very much depends on your current pull up ability. If for example you can currently crank out 6-7 strict pull ups, but have plateaued at this number, you will probably whizz through phases 1, 2 and 3, plus performing 60-70 pull ups a week won’t tax your body that much.

However, if you’re stuck on about 2 or 3 pull ups then performing anymore than 40 pull ups a week could be a real struggle.

So, please take all of these factors into consideration when working out how many times you’re going to do your pull up workouts on a weekly basis.

I know that if I wanted to perform 50 pull ups a day, 7 days a week, I would feel pumped, but I wouldn’t feel sore or fatigued.

However, as I’ve mentioned I’ve been doing pull ups for many years, and have performed 20+ perfect form, strict pull ups in my time (in fact, just writing this article has inspired me to work up to that level again).

Basically, it’s all relative.

Final Thoughts

This is my basic guide on how to do 10 pull ups.

The best way to achieve this feat (or even more pull ups depending on your current strength and fitness levels and abilities) is through bodyweight density training, and by using the every minute on the minute method.

I often come across people asking what exercises they should do to get stronger so that they can perform 10 pull ups, but in truth if you want to get better at doing pull ups then you need to be doing pull ups on a regular basis.

Thank you for reading.

Now go get to it and do some pull ups.

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10 thoughts on “How To Do 10 Pull Ups (or 20, 30, 40, or EVEN Fifty)”

  1. This is really comprehensive guide on how to do 10 or more pull ups. I’ve used a technique similar to EMOM to achieve maximum number of reps per set. And I can confirm this is a great way for beginners to build their pull ups technique to do more and more pull ups each time they do the exercise. This exercise is generally avoided by masses because it is hard at the beginning and perhaps because it is easier to lift weights instead. But I can’t tell you how much more exercise your upper body and core get by performing pull ups, push ups, chin ups and all other forms of bodyweight training. This article has inspired me too to start doing more pull ups in my exercise. Thanks for sharing, mate, and keep up the good work with your website!

    Reply
    • Hi Ivan,

      Always great to hear from you.

      Yes, I’m a huge fan of EMOM training and it’s definitely helped me to smash through a few plauteaus in my time.

      I completely agree with you about many people avoiding pull ups to lift weights, and the majority of the time it’s because it will show any weaknesses in your physique.

      I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen people deadlift or row extremely heavy weights, and yet they are unable to perform a single pull up.

      This typically means that they are either carrying a little too much bulk or that they’re not as strong as they think they are.

      I’m also glad that you mentioned the core. I have often noticed great core and ab development when I’ve gone through a stage of doing lot of pull ups.

      Thanks
      Partha

      Reply
  2. I’ve had to do some pull up as per your instruction before I could write this comment! 😉

    This seems to be an effective way to achieve 10 pull up at a time successfully. Personally for me, as I’ve not been into fitness too regularly lately. I need to maybe build up my strength by doing the pull up but not 10 at a time.

    You have reminded me to start exercising again.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Habib,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Haha, well I’m glad you gave it a go before commenting.

      Yes, the pull up is one of the greatest tests of upper body strength, endurance and muscularity, and being able to perform 10 or even more reps in a row is a great feat.

      Not to worry if you’re not quite their yet, this method of density training and EMOM is a surefire way to get you there eventually.

      I always believe that working on our strength first is the way to exercise, as all the other factors such as, weight loss, fat burning, and building muscle will follow suit.

      Thanks
      Partha

      Reply
  3. Wow, something new again! Density training.
    Ok, so I read this post a couple of days ago and put it to the test.
    However, pull-ups are still out of the question (because of elbow injury.) I did try pull-up, and managed 3 before I stopped due to the elbow issue….. more rest needed!
    So I used this technique to pack ‘more dips’ into a shorted period of time. I started off with only 6 reps x 6 sets as I have not done any dips for ages (resting elbow). I was happy that I could do them pain free, so I’m going to add this to my routing 4 times a week, and build upon it as you suggest.

    Query: I have always done pull-ups in a bicep curl position (not sure of the correct term) instead of the ‘open chest’ method shown in your pictures, simply because i’m using a bar screwed into a doorframe at home and I could not get a wide grip. Would this method have contributed to my inner elbow issues?

    Cheers mate 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Andrew,

      Great to hear from you as always.

      I’m always a little worried about you trying stuff due the elbow injury, but you have just discovered a method that I often recommend anyway. So, well done for that, LOL.

      We often just label an injury, “elbow injury”, “shoulder injury”, “leg injury”, etc. However, in truth, unless we have an injury that completely restricts movement and has us glued to a lying down position, most people can still train in some way. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard or intense, just an activity.

      With that said, I often recommend that people find “what doesn’t hurt”. Allow me to explain – I’ve had a slight elbow injury before. I played around with exercises, and what I found was that any specific tricep exercise, e.g. tricep pushdowns, skullcrushers, etc. would cause a sharp pain to shoot through my elbow.

      However, any type of bench press, chest press, dips and push ups didn’t cause a problem. So, it seemed to be only certain movement patterns that caused pain. Once I discovered this I avoided those movements patterns (and admittedly I lowered my volume of “push” training too) for a few weeks until everything returned to normal.

      You have discovered by the sound of it that your elbow injury is more “pull” related than “push” related.

      Intitally, I’d also say, don’t try your new dip routine 4 times a week if you haven’t performed dips in a long time.

      Aim for twice a week for the first two weeks, but rest between sets for slightly less time on the second week. You can continue at twice a week for a few more weeks, but add additional reps one week, and then less rest between sets the following week.

      The 8×8 Vince Gironda method of working out is great for building muscle and has been around for years.

      However, due to your history with elbow injuries please don’t push it, and come back down to once a week (or even none) if you have to.

      As for pull ups, the method shown in all the images is actually the worst, but probably the most popular method.

      Pull ups with your palms facing away from you are the worst for your joints (wrists and elbows). Chin ups, with your palms facing towards you are much better for the joints, but still not ideal. Hammer-grip or Neutral-grip chin ups are the best for your joints (palms facing each other).

      You see with the other two, and especially when your palms are facing away from you, your joints are “hanging” in a very unnatural position, so you’re almost “straining” your elbows and wrists to remain in this position with every single rep.

      When your palms face each other this “pressure” is pretty much removed and your wrists and elbows literally “hang” in their natural position each time you do a rep.

      However, again if you’re struggling with any form of pull ups then just avoid them, this even includes the regression exercises to be found in Tony Gentilcore’s videos above.

      There is always the inverted row if you have the correct equipment to perform that, although this can still put pressure on the elbow.

      You may probably be able to tell that ever since my own injuries I have become a huge fan of lower body training, and “injured elbows” may be the perfect opportunity to focus on your lower body.

      The knock-on effect is unbelivable, so you will still maintain a decent upper body even if you never train it.

      I can tell you now a month or two of various squats, various deadlfits, and unilateral leg training (lunges in all directions, Bulgarian split squats, steps ups, etc.), throw in a couple of days of sprints, and a day of plyometric jumps, and you will have a beastly lower body, and an unbelievable looking body in general.

      Obviously, scale the above suggestions to your own strength & fitness levels.

      Hope that all makes sense, and always great to have you stop by Andrew.

      Partha

      Reply
      • Wow, you really know your stuff!
        It obvious that you are really passionate about your training and helping others. Thank you for that.

        As usual, you information makes a lot of sense. I wonder why so many people persist with, and recommend, open palm pull up when our structure is not designed to work optimally in this position….. it’s quite obvious now that you have pointed it out!

        I have to agree with you, that injurys do not have to stop us training. There is always something else we can do. I’m going to check out the 8 x 8 video you have recommended tomorrow when I have more time. Thanks for that.

        Again with the lower body exercises…. Ok. It’s a good idea to concentrate on that area, especially at the moment, so I’m going to do as you suggest. I know that it will also help to keep my upper body toned.

        I appreciate the time and effort you put in to replying.
        Have a great day mate 🙂

        Andrew

        Reply
        • No worries Andrew and thank you ever so much for your kind comments.

          To be honest, I’ve got so much “useless information” about exercise and nutrition swirling around in the old grey matter that it’s nice to share it with others.

          Yes, it’s a strange one about the traditional pull up.

          It has always been the way that we typically perform pull ups, with our palms facing away, and yet out of the 3 “normal” methods of perfoming pull ups it happens to be the harshest on our joints.

          I’m not entirely sure when or where I first learned this valuable piece of information, but like you, it made a great deal of sense and was “obvious” once I knew it.

          Don’t get me wrong, I still perform palm facing away pull ups, but my main concentration is usually on the hammer/neutral grip.

          100% go with the lower body training while you have elbow issues.

          I can tell now from my own experience that concentrating on the lower body for an extended period produces some awesome results. And I’m always amazed at how much of a “whole body” effect it has.

          Thanks again for stopping by Andrew.

          Partha

          Reply
  4. Hi Partha
    I love the EMOM thing!!! It always knocks me out for the rest of the week 😀 Therefore I haven’t done them for a while.

    As a woman, I always struggled with pull ups and I’ve had guys telling me not to worry about it, it’s not a girl’s thing, it doesn’t matter 🙂 But it’s really cool for a woman to be able to say: “I can do 10 straight pull ups.” I’m obsessed with the funky ones like around the world and stuff, I don’t know if you are familiar with Michael Eckert but I always wanted to do all the weird military pull ups he does 😀

    Thanks for the tips, I will make this method a part of my lockdown workouts!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Silvie,

      Always lovely to hear from you.

      Oh yes, I’m definitely a fan of EMOM and I find it to be a great conditioning tool, as well as a way to get lots of extra volume in as well.

      I’ve even done complete workouts just based around EMOM. Perhaps picking three exercises, one for strength, one for muscle building, and one for conditioning.

      I typically set a timer for 15 minutes and complete one exercise, take a little rest before doing 15 minutes of the next exercise, and then onto the final one.

      One of favourite workouts of this type included 15 minutes of EMOM of very heavy deadlifts (my 2-rep max and performing 1-rep EMOM). Then onto 15 minutes EMOM or 10 parallel bars dips. And finishing off with 10 minutes of 10 burpees EMOM.

      I can tell you now that’s quite an awesome workout.

      Firstly Silvie, guys who say pull ups “Aren’t a girl’s thing” have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about and you should throw a dumbbell or two at them, LOL.

      Pull ups are for everyone, irrespective of sex, age, or anything else for that matter.

      You can certainly work your way up to pull ups, by initialling following Tony Gentilcore’s videos above, and then the advice I have given within the article once you’re able to perform a few.

      Oh yes, of course I’ve heard of Michael Eckert, one seriously impressive dude.

      Admittedly, I am a bit of a pull up nut myself, and when I am focusing my training on them, I can typically perform 1000s of pull up variations a week, allthough I’m definitely not in Michael’s league.

      However, I guess just like everything else in life, it’s all about practice.

      Always great to hear from you Silvie.

      Partha

      Reply

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