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Daniel Mesa

Barbell High Pull : How To & Benefits

barbell high pull

Are you ready to make your workouts more intense and reach a new level of strength and power? The Barbell High Pull is a dynamic workout that will refresh your muscles and take your fitness journey to the next level. In this detailed guide, we’ll go deep into the world of Barbell High Pulls, giving you step-by-step instructions, expert tips, and other exercises to keep your fitness game on fire. Get ready to feel the thrill of this exciting move and find the strength you didn’t know you had!

How To Do The Barbell High Pull

To do a Barbell High Pull, you need to combine power with coordination. Let’s go through it step by step so you can do this exercise properly:


Start with your feet about shoulder-width apart and the load on the ground in front of you. Grab the barbell with your overhand grip, a little wider than the width of your shoulders.

Starting Position

Hinge at your hips, slightly bending your knees as you lower the barbell. Maintain a straight back and a proud chest throughout this phase.

Explode and Lift

Drive explosively through your hips and knees while pulling the load towards your shoulders. When you make this move, your arms should go up high and out wide.

Catch the Barbell

Quickly bend your arms and lift your shoulders as the barbell gets close to chest level. The barbell should be close to your neck, and your elbows should be above your wrists.

Lower with Control

Slowly bring the barbell back to the starting position by reversing the movement.

Our Tips For The High Pull Exercise

Tip 1: Activate Your Core

Prioritize the engagement of your core muscles throughout the entire high-pull movement. By keeping your core tight, you create a stable foundation that not only maintains your balance but also protects your lower back from unnecessary strain.

Tip 2: Hip Power

The high pull gets its power from your hips. As you start the move, focus on getting force from a strong hip thrust. This method not only makes the exercise work better, but it also puts less stress on other parts of your body.

Tip 3: Control the Momentum

Don’t give in to the temptation to use speed during the high pull. Use movements that are deliberate and controlled, and focus on using your specific muscles. This method not only helps the muscles work better but also lowers the risk of injuries caused by sudden, uncontrollable movements.

Common Barbell High Pull Mistakes To Avoid

Mistake 1: Arching Your Back

Keeping your back neutral is one of the most important parts of the high pull. Don’t arch your lower back as you pull because this can hurt your lumbar area. Instead, focus on keeping your back straight and engaged. This will make sure you have the right form and reduce the chance of getting hurt.

Mistake 2: Jerky Motion

To get the most out of the high pull and reduce the chance of getting hurt, focus on moving smoothly and slowly. If you jerk the barbell up, it can throw off your form and stop the flow of the activity. Adopt a fluid move that lets your muscles work together smoothly throughout the whole range.

Mistake 3: Shoulder Lifting

When doing the high pull, you need to use your hips, not your shoulders, to get the power. If you depend too much on your shoulders, you might move in the wrong way and miss the point of the exercise. Focus on starting the movement from your hips and lower body. This will create a chain reaction of power that runs through your whole body.

Barbell High Pull Muscles Worked

how to do barbell high pulls

The Barbell High Pull creates a muscle symphony that powers your actions and improves your fitness. Here are the major muscle groups used in this dynamic exercise:

Trapezius Muscles: The trapezius muscles, spanning your upper back and neck, are vital for stabilizing and controlling the upward movement of the barbell. Their engagement supports proper posture and shoulder alignment.

Deltoids: Your deltoid muscles, encompassing the shoulders, shoulder blades, and upper arms, are instrumental in raising the barbell to shoulder level. This engagement promotes strong and defined shoulder development.

Rhomboids: The rhomboids, situated between the shoulder blades, are essential for retracting and stabilizing the shoulder blades. This activation aids in maintaining proper form throughout the movement.

Hamstrings: The hamstrings, located on the back of your thighs, play a critical role in the hip hinge motion required for lifting the barbell. Their engagement contributes to the explosive upward thrust.

Glutes: The gluteal muscles, particularly the gluteus maximus, are engaged during the hip extension phase of the high pull. Their activation adds power to the movement and enhances overall lower body strength.

Core Muscles: Your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and deep stabilizers, provide the necessary stability to prevent excessive arching of the lower back. This engagement safeguards your spine and promotes a strong foundation.

By using all of these muscle groups together, the Barbell High Pull not only builds power but also creates a well-rounded, useful physique. Embrace the way these muscles work together and feel how this lively exercise can transform your body.

BB High Pull Benefits

Benefit 1: Efficiency in Muscle Activation

The barbell high pull is a compound exercise that works for numerous muscular groups simultaneously. It specifically targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lats, and traps, in addition to the deltoids. Because of this, it is an effective method for gaining muscle mass as well as strength. In addition to helping to develop coordination and balance, the barbell high pull is a great exercise.

Benefit 2: Functionality and Strength

The barbell high pull is a functional exercise that replicates the motions performed in various sports and activities, such as running, jumping, and throwing. Because of this, it is an excellent strategy for enhancing athletic performance. The barbell high pull exercise is also helpful in developing strength in the upper back, shoulders, and hips.

Benefit 3: Elevate Core Stability

The barbell high pull is an exercise that requires a strong core in order to do it correctly. This contributes to the improvement of core stability as well as the prevention of accidents. The barbell high pull is another effective exercise for increasing grip strength.

Alternatives To High Pulls

Exercise Option 1: Hang Power Clean

The Hang Power Clean is an effective addition to your arsenal, combining clean and press movements. This exercise requires an explosive movement to propel the barbell to the shoulders while maintaining a strong core and stable stance. This dynamic movement engages your hips, hamstrings, and traps, enhancing your natural strength and athleticism. 

As you master this exercise, your overall strength and speed will improve, making it an excellent choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who wish to increase their explosiveness.

Exercise Option 2: Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is an exceptional exercise for developing the same muscle groups as the high draw. With an emphasis on pelvic thrusting and explosive dynamics, this exercise engages your core and upper back while mobilizing your lower body. 

When you swing the kettlebell between your legs and then propel it forward with your hips, your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back all work in concert. The Kettlebell Swing not only improves your muscular strength but also your cardiorespiratory endurance, making it a versatile alternative that promotes functional fitness.

Exercise Option 3: Clean and Jerk

Clean and Jerk is a classic Olympic lift that requires precision, strength, and coordinated movement. This two-part exercise consists of first lifting the barbell to your shoulders from the ground (the clean) and then thrusting it aloft (the jerk). It is a high-skill, high-reward activity that engages the entire body, enhancing its strength, agility, and flexibility. 

As you improve your form and technique, the Clean and Jerk become the pinnacle of your strength training journey and a testament to your commitment to excellence.

Bottom Line On The Barbell High Pull

Barbell high pulls are more than simply an exercise; they’re a gateway into a world of strength, power, and total-body activation. As you learn its intricacies, your athletic ability, muscle mass, and functional strength will all increase dramatically. Keep your form, accept the difficulty, and step up your workouts. You may take your fitness to new heights with the help of the Barbell High Pull.


Is the Barbell High Pull suitable for beginners?

Beginners can start light, focusing on mastering form before gradually increasing weights.

How frequently should I incorporate high pulls into my routine?

Aim for 2-3 times a week, balanced with other exercises.

Can the Barbell High Pull improve my sports performance?

Yes, its explosive nature can enhance power, speed, and overall athleticism.

Is using wrist straps recommended for the high pull?

While wrist straps can assist with grip, prioritize developing natural grip strength.


  1. Oranchuk, Dustin & Robinson, Tracey & Switaj, Zachary & Drinkwater, Eric. (2019). Comparison of the Hang High-Pull and Loaded Jump Squat for the Development of Vertical Jump and Isometric Force-Time Characteristics. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 33. 17-24. 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001941. 
  1. Calatayud, J., Colado, J. C., Martin, F., Casaña, J., Jakobsen, M. D., & Andersen, L. L. (2015). CORE MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING THE CLEAN AND JERK LIFT WITH BARBELL VERSUS SANDBAGS AND WATER BAGS. International journal of sports physical therapy, 10(6), 803–810.