Will my biceps grow if I do pull ups everyday?
February 13th 2019
With six years of strength training under my belt, I have done thousands and thousands of pull ups. However, I wondered if my biceps will grow if I do pull ups every day.
There is no hard evidence that your biceps will grow x amount if you do y pullups everyday. Everyone is different and will respond to the training stimulus differently. However, you will notice a dramatic improvement in your biceps and arm development if you include pull ups into your routine.
In my experience, my biceps and arm definition have improved over the last six years. Though it was not my original goal to develop size, it was a by-product of all my consistency and hard work.
Depending on your fitness goal, you will decide whether or not doing pull ups is right for you. If you are interested in overall strength and muscular development, having pull ups in your routine is a good choice.
Having pull ups in your routine can never be a bad thing. Pull ups are a universal compound exercise, one of the 12 best exercises I would include in your program. They work on your posterior chain as well as your arms.
And if you were not born with big arms, doing pull ups will help you. I know that from personal experience.
I used to play basketball and did no form of weight training. As a result, I remained somewhat lean but I was never that muscular. You could imagine that my arms also suffered from development. It was not until I started hitting the gym consistently and starting incorporating more compound movements that my arms really started to gain size.
Shoulder presses, bench presses, pull ups and rows… so many different and powerful exercises to choose from. And the most ironic part? I never envisioned trying to get bigger. I always wanted to gain strength but as a by-product, I gained a decent size.
My biceps grew. My arms grew. What more could I ask for?
In almost every single workout program I ran, I definitely included some form of pull ups in my routine. Did it help me grow my biceps? Well, you could say so since my arms grew. But at the same time, I never did pull ups everyday. I worked out 3-4x a week and continued that for a long time. Rest and recovery are important factors to consider for hypertrophy. Without sufficient rest, you will not make any progress with your muscular development.
Weighted pull ups for biceps
If you are strong enough, I would definitely say that weighted pull ups are necessary for you to make progress. If you are banging out 20+ pull ups in your workout with ease, it may be time to make your pull ups harder.
One way of doing that is to add resistance and do weighted pull ups. And just like your main workout program, slowly increasing the difficulty of your exercise will result in more gains in the future, whether it is in strength, size or both.
Do chin ups work on developing my biceps?
What works for you may not work for someone else. Someone could develop a great physique with chin ups and see minimal results from pull ups. On the flip side, some lifters can see huge progress on pull ups and not chin ups.
While certain exercises do hit certain muscle groups more effectively (for example, chin ups do target your biceps more than pull ups), you will need to determine what your goal is and what you want to accomplish.
Try doing both and see what happens. Do some experiments and logically think through your issue. Consistency will matter much more than nitpicking what accessory exercise to include in your program.
30 or 100 pull ups a day challenge?
Will it be helpful to do a challenge? Sure, it would be a nice break. It would be something new for you.
But will it help you grow your biceps? Ultimately, your progress will be determined by the volume, frequency, and intensity of your program. If you want bigger biceps, you will need to challenge your body.
And if your goal is to do a pull up challenge, one way you can improve is by trying to finish your pull up challenge faster each time. By decreasing your rest time, you are working your body harder.
Another way is by increasing the number of pull ups you can do. So, if 30 pull ups a day is too easy for you, why not try 35? Can you imagine how powerful you can be if your baseline pull up number has been increased? I can give you a personal example.
In my early days of strength training, I was probably averaging around 10 pull ups a workout. While doing 10 pull ups every workout was not difficult, it definitely was not easy. While I did not understand the relationship between intensity and volume, I did know that I needed to improve my pull up gains. So, I forced myself to try to do more. I tried to do at least 1 more pull up than last time. And the results?
More confidence. A new perspective. You will realize how powerful your body is and how much strength you are holding back due to mental blocks you create for yourself. You tell yourself stories that drain the strength out of you.
You know better. You need to tell yourself that.
Make sure to get enough rest
This concept is emphasized for a reason. You may have seen it over and over again across all forms of media and books. Why? Because it works.
Getting enough rest is not suppose to be a hassle. In fact, you should look forward to having more rest. Getting enough rest allows your body to do more than just repair the damaged muscles; your body needs to maintain homeostasis and regulate its internal environment before it can begin to build muscle.
Let’s face it, if you weigh 20-year-old male, 5’8”, 130lbs and are sleeping less than six hours a night, your priorities are not straight. You are asking the wrong questions and not understanding what you should do in order to make the most efficient gains.
If you have not read about the main factors to learn from strength training, you should read about them here, where I dissect the powerful strategies used in order to make an effective workout program. Some of these reasons include volume management, fatigue management, frequency, and variation. If you are familiar with some of these topics or need to learn what all of the most important lessons are, I have placed a link above.
Pull ups for size gains
As I stated in both the short and long answer response, doing pull ups is one of the 12 best exercises I would recommend if you are interested in developing more muscle. How much more effective is it than say chin ups? Knowing this microscopic detail will not help with your big picture plan - to grow more muscle.
Focus on the bigger picture and do not worry about specific exercise selection until you have more training experience under your belt. Accept the limitations of your knowledge and begin to learn what works for you and why is it effective. You will appreciate your results that much more if you own up to the results.
Need an example of how effective pull ups are? Look at prisoners. Their results speak volumes to how effective compound movements are for muscular development.
So, what is the main takeaway? Look at what you are doing and ask yourself if it is working to support your goals. If yes, continue the plan. Why fix what is not broken? Sometimes, overanalysis may be a burden since you are not grounded in your decision-making process. You can solve this by committing and believe in a plan. Sure, you may be a fool and place all your faith into something that you have doubts on, but some of the best lessons in life come from the mistakes we encounter on your journey to success. I invite all strength training athletes to determine for themselves what is it that they need to work on.
If your program is not working to produce results you want, revise it. Figure out what you did wrong and make adjustments. If you are bodybuilding or strength training on the same program for over a year and you still look the same after twelve months, you are doing something wrong. It is call bodybuilding, not body maintaining. It is called strength training, not maintenance training.
If you are a true beginner, you will need to do some research on what programs to do. I would suggest that beginners run either Starting Strength or Greyskull LP (Linear Progression). Sometimes, you may need a nudge in the right direction if you are stuck. This is why I am here to provide my own training experience so that you can make more progress and take away more lessons from doing these programs.