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.
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.