The Average Pullups for Men vs. Women

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Men and women seem to be in a lifelong competition -- particularly in the area of fitness. Men claim to be stronger and fitter than women, but the only way to test the theory is to perform the exercises. Comparing scores from males and females in pullups allows for an understanding of the fitness level of both genders.

The Pullup

  • A pullup is an exercise that can determine a person’s muscular endurance or how long his muscles can contract. To do a pullup, grab a chinup bar with both hands with your feet off the floor. The goal is to pull your body weight until your chin is above the bar. You should then lower to the starting position and repeat. To test your muscular endurance, complete as many pullups as you can in one minute and then record the score.

Average Male and Female Scores

  • According to a study published in “Physical Education and the Study of Sport,” if you are a male and can do 13 pullups in one minute, that is considered excellent. Between nine and 13 is above average, six to eight would be an average score and anything five and under is considered poor. In comparison, females rate as excellent if they can complete six pullups or more, while three to four pullups is the average for women and below three is considered poor.

The Difference Is Muscle Mass

  • The key reason that males can complete more pullups is muscle mass. Males have a higher percentage of muscle tissue than females due to the production of testosterone. However, the actual tissue itself is no different between genders. This means that exercisers of either gender can train to strengthen muscle and increase the number of pullups they can do. So a well-trained female may be able to do more pullups than an untrained male.

Improving Your Pullup Score

  • The only way to improve is to train. If you are unable to complete even one pullup, visit the gym and work on your upper-body muscles using exercises such as the shoulder press and bench press. Perform these exercises until you build up enough strength so that you can complete a full pullup. Alternatively, try having someone hold your legs and give you a small push as you attempt a pullup. This can make the pullup easier; it's similar to having someone spot for you while weightlifting. If you try both of these options, you will be doing more pullups in no time.

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References

  • Physical Education and the Study of Sport; B Davis et al.
  • Essentials of Exercise Physiology; William D. Mcardle et al.
  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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