T Nation

Adding 100 Push-Ups & 50 Pull-Ups Into Routine on 'Off Days'?


A guy at my gym has recently made some substantial gains. He’s added 100 push-ups & 50 pull-ups into his routine. What he is doing is:
Monday = chest & biceps
Tuesday =100 push-ups & 50 pull-ups
Wednesday = delts & legs
Thursday =100 push-ups & 50 pull-ups & abs
Friday = back and triceps
Saturday =100 push-ups & 50 pull-ups
Sunday = abs
He says that doing it for 6 weeks is great and that it won’t lead to over-training.
Any thoughts?


Totally depends on the person.

For some this will lead to having to stop because of the additional stress it places on joints (in particular elbows) for others it will be totally fine to do ad infinitum.

The only way to know, ultimately is to try it and see what happens.


Thanks Gorilla … I think I’ll try, though I guess I’ll have to sub-divide the sets into say, 5 x 10 pull-ups and 4 x 25 push-ups


@coolexec You are getting great advice from @GorillaMon.
I heard both sides of the discussion: guys like Max Shank use the idea of high rep bw stuff to condition ligaments, and I like pretty much anything that comes out of his mouth (don’t take that too far).
On the otherside, I can see it being too much for your joints/tendons therfore resulting in a injury. Or even giving too much impulses can desentisize your body for further gains when nothing is done about it.

I would suggest not jumping in immediately with such volume, even when your muscles don’t see it as too much work. . And make sure your form is impeccable A flared up elbow or shoulder will hinder progress for sure.

Try starting with 1x20 on push ups, and 1x10 on pull-ups. Add 1 set each week. In a month you’re doing the same work.


Thanks Panopticum.
Perhaps I can try work it into the course of a non-gym day … say 2 sets of 10 pull-ups and 20 push-ups before work and the same again when I get home? I have a pull-up bar at home.


I would say: try it out. Just like the other advice you were given.
Sometimes people respond better to more work spread out, sometimes people just need a bigger bang on fewer days. I would try it on off days to begin with, and maybe let this article be a bit of a guidline https://www.t-nation.com/training/new-high-frequency-training.

Good luck


What goal is this additional work addressing that your existing program wasn’t?

And are you just bolting this extra work on without any changes to your existing program? That always makes me raise an eyebrow

  1. The problem with bodyweight exercises is that people tend to have the illusion of safety when executing them since they’re “natural movements”, which is complete bullshit. The potential for injury is always there when the amount of resistance is challenging enough. Learn and execute proper form for them as if you’re doing a barbell exercise.

  2. As has been mentioned several times in this forum, High frequency pull ups may lead to overuse injuries for some. My left shoulder has been forever screwed because of doing too many pull ups too frequently several years ago. Take caution and look for warning signs.


Elbows from pull ups, and I wasn’t even doing that many, just doing them often. Give it a try if you want, but be really careful.


Thanks guys … I’ll try it cautiously - and report back.


You could try chin-ups if you’re concerned about overuse - I find them easier on the joints (elbows and shoulders).


Right off the bat, that split has 6 days in a row with some kind of pressing movement. If you have any kind of funky elbow or shoulder, I’d reconsider.

Another big variable with these types of programs is how easy (or hard) push-ups and pull-ups are for you. That’s going to affect the intensity per set and the soreness afterwards. If you can do 4 pull-ups per set, then 50 reps isn’t an quick and easy workout. On the flip side, if you can knock out 40 push-ups in a set, 100 reps will be maybe 3 minutes of work and no big deal at all.

Chad Waterbury’s PLP program gets into this type of plan. Waterbury also has this 3-week plan where you do 100 push ups and 50 pull-ups instead of your regular upper body work, 6 days a week. Like Pan said, Max Shank also wrote about something similar (daily squats and push-ups).

This is always something to consider. Why? Simple question with an important and relevant answer.

This too. When something seems “light and easy”, the movement gets disrespected and that’s when the grounds for injury can creep in.


I would like to chime in with my two cents. Don’t fret over the exact number focus more so on proper form. And also track how much you are doing and try to beat it next cycle. I do chins every day, and some type of pressing movement in daily life . Only good will come out of mastering your bodyweight. Even if you start to develop injuries you can rehab them and then you will learn more. It is always better to do bw training on top of training then it is to not. Also dips are tremendous.
Looking at your setup you can also work on condensing your training. I see alot of misused time you can make your program more efficient by removing the fluff and doing back to back days of compound lifts little accessory work then off days do bw training. 2 on hard 3rd day bw and repeat. Take sunday and do easy walking and light stuff. Add volume over time. Simple is better.


Thanks so much for the helpful and thought provoking replies. I’m trying it and so far, so good. I’m not sure that I don’t need a little more ‘recovery time’ (I’m now 62 though I neither look, nor feel, it).


Any idea from anyone why this is the case?

Or are there simply too many variables to accurately make a judgment on why some people get overuse injuries while others never do?

I’ve been doing a 100 push-ups and body-weight squats 4-7 times a week for the last two months or so. I feel awesome right now, but for all I know my upper body joints will blow up if I keep this up.


Try and see I guess.Although I’d very slowly work up to these numbers.Like starting with 10 pull ups 20 push ups on off days,adding reps while seeing if it affects your workout.Also you can check out westside barbell’s articles on extra workouts