Murph is coming up and you’re panicking. You just got your first pull-up and now you wanna be able to do Murph as prescribed and so you come up with the best plan ever, you’re gonna do pull-ups every day until game day!
What would happen to your body if you actually did this? Would you get stronger? Would you get to the point that 100 pull-ups would be incredibly easy? Let’s discuss.
(Unsure of what a pull-up is? How To Do A Pull-Up)
The Internet Is Amazing!
Luckily enough for us, we are all alive during a time where we have the internet and people starving for those sweet ad dollars. There are hundreds of videos out there of fitness addicts testing the premise of “what would happen if you did X amount of pull-ups per day?” Most of the videos are men in their 20s with their shirts off who already have pull-ups, but none the less we do have some easy to access data we can use before taking a dive into the science of what happens when we do these sorts of challenges.
In each and every video, the athletes perform the amount of pull-ups the prescribe for themselves day one. The next day they wake up incredibly sore and go for it again, with smaller sets of pull-ups. The third day the soreness is either it’s worst or eases off. From then they live in a state of constant light soreness until they reach about the 2 week mark and their body hits a groove and their strength gains start to become apparent. By the end of the 30 days, these athletes usually have noticeable strength gains (one athlete doubling the amount of strict pull-ups they can do).
So, obviously if you do the same you’re gonna be ready for Murph right? Well, you’ll definitely be more prepared, but not as prepared as possible.
Good Ol’ Muscle Fibers
As we have discussed before, our muscles have some pretty basic principles. They develop certain muscle fibers to adapt to situations and they need different amounts of time to repair and develop those fibers! Type 1 Muscle Fibers are for Endurance, Type 2a are for Strength, and Type 2b are for Power! (The are respectively smallest, middle, largest).
If you do 5 Sets of 10 Pull-Ups on the first day with couple minutes rest in between sets, you developed the type 2a and 2b muscle fibers. You broke them down and told them the they need to be better prepared for that level of volume with that level of speed in movement and range of motion. So, your body runs with that and starts to develop those fibers.
Day 2 rolls around now you’re telling your body to do the same but you’re incredibly sore (your body is still repairing the muscle fibers from yesterday), so now you do 10 sets of 5. Now your body is going “OH! So, you wanna be able to do this back to back days?” So, it is going to start working on giving you more endurance!
As you continue on your body starts making you ready to be a pull-up machine and build that muscle endurance! You get insanely resilient Type 1 Muscle Fibers in your back, traps, forearms, and biceps along with some type two. However, you don’t see your muscles getting much larger. Your pull-ups have gotten easier and you can do significantly more of them, you can’t really haven’t really developed chest to bars or muscle-ups (movements that require more power). You also might notice that your joints are stiffer and that there is still a good amount of soreness that lingers in your body (overwork).
So Should Ya Do Pull-Ups Every Day?
If getting pull-up volume is your only goal, go for it. Just be careful with the goal you choose for your pull-ups every day (should be done within 10-15 minutes with about 2 minutes of rest in between each set) and make sure to focus on getting as much quality rest as possible at night to give yourself the best possible chance to recover! If you feel pain in your elbows are you can’t move your arms properly after a solid warm-up, listen to your body and move on.
If you have other goals like muscle growth, running the 2 miles and doing 200 push-ups and 300 squats in Murph, or anything else that involves the upper body doing that span of time, adjust and go for a more pragmatic approach! Doing pull-ups or accessory movements to help with pull-ups about 3x per week is plenty of work to get stronger and still develop the muscles thoroughly! Make sure there is a day or two in-between pull-up workouts and train the rest of those movements you want to get good at! (Much like our homework system that we give y’all at your goal reviews!)
Wanna dive down the rabbit whole of seeing other people do this? How about going to the extreme and check out this athlete who did Murph Every Day For 365 Days!!