T Nation

High Pull/Upright Row for Lateral Delt Hypertrophy

Hello Coach Thib. Knowing you are a big fan of the high pull, I wanted to ask what would be the best way to program a high pull or upright row variation into a hypertrophy routine in order to build muscle primarily in the lateral deltoids.

Although I do believe that lateral raise variations are superior for growing the lateral shoulder muscles, I really like the high pull/upright row movement a lot as it does not cause me shoulder pain, I can feel my delts working and I get a nice range of motion since I have long arms and wide clavicles. The reason I refer to the movement as a high pull-SLASH-upright row is because I perform it a way which resembles a hybrid between the two, for reference, very similar to how Shawn Rhoden performs them in this video > @ 4:10 Road to the O 2018 - Shawn Rhoden & Stanimal Train Delts 5 w Out - YouTube

I wanted to ask what your opinion would be on how this movement can be utilized for lateral delt hypertrophy purposes. Should I do heavy snatch grip high pulls? Should I go lighter and do higher reps? Should I do drop-sets or superset them with lateral raises? Should I avoid the momentum and do strict upright rows with a wider grip? How much volume should be done and is this exercise better suited for creating muscle damage or metabolic stress?

Thank you very much, you do not have to answer too specifically since I am asking a lot of questions… Its just that I have read your articles on the high pull and it’s benefits but I do not come across it in many of your hypertrophy programs so I am not sure as to what your take on this exercise would be as a delt builder.

Honestly, the high pull has a limited effect on delts hypertrophy. They are not really producing tension when they are in the lengthened position nor are they under tension eccentrically or for a significant amount of time at all.

High pulls are effective at developing the traps and upper back as well as the glutes/hamstrings and lower back to some extent.

As for upright rows, really they should not be mentioned along with a high pull, they are not remotely similar. Comparing a high pull to an upright row is like comparing a power clean to a reverse curl: some of the movements look similar but the muscle activation is not at all the same.

If you want to target the deltoids with upright rows, you need to use a shoulder-width grip and keep the bar away from the body. For traps you’d use a narrower grip and keep the bar close to the body.

1 Like

I needed this. Whenever I start to up my volume of pressing my shoulder just aches. Been doing lateral raises with your 40-30-5 and they are fine, but I wanted something else for other days

See it almost like a cross between an upright row and a front raise.