High Pulls


The high pull is a variation of the clean, and is therefore classed within the Olympic style weightlifting category of exercises. The exercise begins in the same way as the clean, yet the high pull entails the athlete pulling the barbell up to neck height instead of catching the barbell across the shoulders.

The pulling of the barbell aggressively off the floor during the high pull highly engages the ankles, knees and hips extenders muscles. The nature of the exercise, performed in an explosive manner with a relatively high load, means it is well suited to athletes and sportspeople seeking to develop explosive strength and power capabilities. Many muscles of the upper body, mostly the arm flexors, shoulders and trapezius, are also recruited as the athlete upright rows the barbell during the latter half of the lift.

Sport uses

For developing explosive strength and power, the high pull is a solid choice for inclusion within a sports training program. The rapid extension of the ankles, knees and hips which is witnessed in many sporting actions is targeted with the high pull as the athlete explosively pulls the loads from off the ground. The flexion of the arms, abduction of the shoulders and elevation of the scapula also results in considerable recruit of the upper body.

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  1. Stand over a suitably weighted barbell, feet shoulder width apart and underneath the bar
  2. Squat down and grasp the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width, overhand grip


  1. Extend at your knees and hips to forcefully pull the barbell off the ground
  2. When the bar reaches knee height begin to pull the barbell upward towards neck level by flexing your arms and flaring your elbows outward
  3. Once bar reaches neck level controllably lower it to thigh height, and then lower it to the ground
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions