Pull Up Calculator for Men & Women

Pull Up Calculator

Pull ups are one of the best exercises for building upper body strength. And you might wonder how many pull ups is good based on your experience level, gender, body weight, and age.

I created this simple pull up calculator so you can see how many pull ups you should be able to do.

pull up calculator

Find your target reps for pull ups based on gender, age, and body weight.

How many pull ups should I be able to do?

The average man can do 12 pull ups after two years of training. While the average woman can do 5-6 pullups after two years.

However, the number of pull ups you should be able to do depends on your experience level, gender, body weight, and age. So let’s break down each of those factors one by one.

Experience Level

Your experience level is how long you’ve been resistance training or consistently performing a specific exercise. Like any other skill, you get better at pull ups the longer you practice.

In addition, your experience level generally correlates with your strength level. For example, a beginner typically isn’t as strong as someone who has been training for 5 years or more.

Table 1. Average Number of Pull Ups by Experience Level

Fitness Level Experience Strength Percentile Pull Ups Men Pull Ups Women
Novice <1 month <20th <1 <1
Beginner At least 6 months 20-50th 5 <1
Intermediate At least 2 years 50-80th 12 5
Advanced At least 5 years 80-95th 20 12
Elite >5 years >95th >30 >20

The pull up calculator determines the average number of pullups for someone in the intermediate category for your gender, weight, and age. So you should be able to achieve that number of pull ups with about 2 years of consistent training.

Novice and beginner lifters might not be able to do a pull up. And as you become advanced or elite, you may be able to do 15 or more pull ups.

Gender

Studies show that, on average, men have about 97% more upper body strength than women1. That means men should be able to do about twice as many pullups as women.

Of course, this is a generalization, and that’s not to say that women can’t be stronger than men! Experienced women can outperform men on pull ups.

In addition to gender, body weight and age are significant factors in how many pull ups you can do.

Body Weight

Pull ups are a bodyweight exercise where the more you weigh, the more resistance you have. So generally, the heavier you are, the fewer pull ups you can do.

However, your strength level on pull ups also depends on your body composition. More muscle can help you do pull ups, while more fat can weigh you down.

Pull Up Calculator Weight Men
Pull Up Calculator Weight Women

Age

Age doesn’t have as linear an effect as body weight. Instead, the number of pull ups you can do generally increases from your teens and peaks between the ages of 25 and 40.

After 40, the number of pull ups you can do generally declines as you lose lean muscle and upper body strength. However, it is possible to keep getting better at pull ups as you grow older if you eat and train right.

Pull Up Calculator Age Men
Pull Up Calculator Age Women

How to Get Better at Pull Ups

The pull up calculator gives you a reasonable target number of reps to shoot for. But if you can’t do that many pull ups yet, it’s ok! You can get better at pull ups by following these simple guidelines.

Do Pull Ups Regularly

First and most important is to do pull ups consistently. This means you’re doing a few sets of pull ups at least once a week.

But you could do pull ups multiple times weekly if you want to progress faster. Just be careful not to overtrain your back or bicep muscles, as this could lead to a setback due to injury.

Assisted Pull Ups

For novice or beginner lifters, you may want to start with assisted pull ups so you can perform sets in the 3-8 rep range for strength building.

Some gyms have an assisted pull up machine where you kneel on a pad that reduces your body weight. But you can also do assisted pull ups using a power band wrapped around the pull up bar.

Negative Pull Ups

Pull ups consist of a concentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering) phase. Negative pull ups focus on lowering your body from the bar rather than lifting it up.

You can do this by putting a chair or box next to the pull up bar so you can start at the top of the movement. Then you lower yourself down to the hanging position as slowly as possible.

The advantage of negative pull ups is that your muscles are stronger in the eccentric phase. So you should be able to do multiple negative pull ups even if you can’t do a full pull up.

In addition, negative pull ups build your back and arm strength very rapidly. So you will get stronger on regular pull ups after a few sessions of negatives.

Incorporate Other Back Exercises

Lastly, you should include a variety of back exercises in your training along with pull ups to build your lat and bicep strength. Other good back exercises include bent over barbell rows, landmine rows, and lat pulldowns.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

The wide grip lat pulldown is essentially the cable machine version of a pull up with similar muscle activation. And you can easily adjust the weight to use progressive overload and get stronger week to week.

However, most people perform the lat pulldown incorrectly and don’t benefit as much as they could from the exercise. So click here to see the top 3 wide grip lat pulldown mistakes and how to correct them.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Close Grip Lat Pulldown

The close grip lat pulldown is another excellent back strengthening exercise. But the narrow hand placement slightly changes the mechanics and muscle activation.

Click here to see a close grip lat pulldown vs wide grip comparison.

Close Grip vs Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

If you haven’t done so yet, try the pull up calculator to see how many pull ups you should be able to do based on your gender, weight, and age.

Otherwise, check out some of my other informative content and calculators below!

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