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High Pulls in Best Damn

I follow you here and on Thibarmy and love your work. I see your love for snatch-grip high pulls, and I’ve tried them myself and love them for my upper back. Do they fit at all into the Best Damn Workout Plan for Natural Lifters?

Related question: why high pulls instead of upright rows? Is it a preference for explosiveness from your Olympic lifting background or are there other reasons?

Related question #2: you describe the back split as lats and rear delts… does that mean horizontal pulling and vertical pulling, or something different? How do I evaluate whether two back exercises are enough for my entire back (when done together)?

Well not really … the only place it can go is instead of the Romanian deadlift on workout 1.

And I don’t like to add an exercise without taking something equivalent out. That is playing with fire. So it’s not as simple as adding sets of high pulls on pulling days. High pulls are a level 2 on the neurological demands scale (so, very high). Simply adding it can tip the workout in the wrong zone.

Upright row are bad for the shoulders. It’s one of the few exercises I do not ever do. High pulls are completely different, especially the snatch grip high pull… just because the barbell ends up in the same place doesn’t mean that it is even remotely similar.

I woudln’t worry about that. You are hitting the back 3x a week. It will get plenty of work. I prefer to emphasize horizontal pulling. Never liked vertical pulling much.

Cuban presses are a better substitute for most exercises involving that plane of motion. My coach rarely makes us do it, except with very light weights and with the olympic weightlifting mechanics (plantar flexion).

I also like Duffin Upright Rows either with a KB/strap or rope/pulley because it starts out like an upright row and when you reach the sternum you externally rotate like in a Cuban press

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They seem like similar movements to me, but I’m a recreational lifter so high pulls feel like explosive upright rows to me (obviously snatch grip changes the grip). Can you explain what makes them different? Maybe I’m doing one of them wrong.

In a snatch grip high pull most of the power should come from the hips and legs. You should be creating to much acceleration with the legs and hips that hte barbell is moving up due to acceleration for at least half the range of motion. The arms should only be the finishing touch.

Furthermore, due in part to the grip width used in the snatch grip high pull, the shoulder externally rotate a bit at the top which prevents shoulder impingement than you can often see with upright rows.

A snatch grip high pull is NOT an upper body lift, its a WHOLE BODY movement that should emphasize the hips and quads if done properly.

The only injuries I’ve seen on high pulls are in people pulling predominantly with the arms (either starting the pull with their arms or using mostly arm strength to get the weight up). I’ve done 400lbs on the high pull, do you think I could pull that with my arms???