How to Get Ripped Using Only Pullups & Pushups

Man using pull-up bar

Training to build significant muscle mass requires high-volume workouts that overload the muscles. To get ripped by performing pullups and pushups, you need to stick to a consistent workout schedule that provides enough sets to provide this overload. Together, these exercises effectively cover the major muscles in the upper body. Pullups develop your back and biceps, while pushups target your chest, shoulders and triceps.

Work out twice per week, completing three to six sets of each exercise. Schedule two days of rest between sessions to allow your muscles recovery time from this high volume. For example, train on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Structure each workout so that you superset -- shuttling between exercises without rest -- between a pullup and pushup exercise. For example, complete one set of wide-grip pullups and then a set of pushups, rotating back and forth between the two until all sets of each are completed.

Complete three different types of pullups during each workout, choosing from wide-grip pullups, narrow-grip pullups, neutral grip pullups and chinups. Changing your hand position places greater emphasis on different muscles. For example, the wider your hands, the more work your latissimus dorsi, the largest muscle in your back, has to handle. The more narrow your position, the more your biceps become involved.

Perform three different types of pushups, such as traditional pushups, military pushups, diamond pushups, decline pushups and one-legged pushups. Military and diamond pushups place greater emphasis on your shoulders and triceps. Decline pushups target your upper chest, and one-legged pushups increase the demand of the core.


Because pullups and pushups do not recruit muscles in the lower body, add exercises that target the major muscles in the legs, such as squats, lunges and deadlifts, to rip this areas.


Pushups can place stress on the anterior capsule at the front of your shoulder. If you have discomfort in your shoulder, bring your hands in and perform all pushups from a more narrow position.