In any training program there is always the temptation to overdo it. You can easily get sucked in to the mindset of: “If pull ups are good for me, then 50 pull ups every day must be great for me!”. We all have done it. Sometimes it’s not even just with exercise. It can be with nutrition also. You start to think “apples are good for me, I’m going to eat 10 apples a day!”. Soon you realize though that too much of a good thing can in fact be a bad thing.
The same is true for our training program. You get better from training by recovering from the training stimulus that you exposed your body to. You do some pull ups, your tendons, ligaments and muscles breakdown. Then after a recovery period they grow back stronger then they were before. The problem with over doing it is that you do not give you body the required recovery time. Instead of breaking down and rebuilding stronger they break down, build back up a bit (but not fully), then you stress them again too soon and they break down more, then more, then more, until finally something gives.
A lot of times I see this in people in the form of tendonitis. You can think of tendonitis as a bunch of tiny microscopic tears within the tendon. It usually develops from some sort of overuse. You are most likely familiar with the terms golfers and/or tennis elbow. These are forms of tendonitis that manifest due to the repetitive nature of those sports.
People can get tendonitis from exercise as well. They will begin to notice a small ache on either the inside or outside of the elbow, or below the knee. It can happen in others areas but those seem to be the most common.
If you pay attention to your body you can easily remedy this situation. As soon as you notice it beginning you need to back off of any exercise that was making it worse. If it is an upper extremity issue you should avoid any upper body work for 2-3 weeks. Focus on your core, low back and lower body. You can run and ride a bike but no pull ups or push ups. After the 2-3 weeks of rest it usually goes away and you are good to go. Just start slowly reincorporating those activities again.
The problem is that most people do not take that 2-3 break from those exercises. They continue to push for 2-3 months or even longer. At that point sometimes the issue can become permanent or so hard to fix that it may never go away. It is a shame that by not listening to their body they allow this to happen. A really common form of this occurs in runners. Runners seem to be obsessed with more and more. They think more is better at all costs. Because of this they get Achilles or patella (under the knee cap) overuse issues.
Don’t be like those silly runners. Listen to your body. Take the rest and recovery time when you need it.