T Nation

High Pulls-Shoulder or Back Day?

I would like to incorporate high-pulls into my “bodybuilding” oriented routine. Should they be performed with back or delts?

I’ve read an article by Ian King stating high pulls were a great back movement, but to me seem more like a cheat upright row, which would target the delts?


Have you thought about incorporating more of these ‘complex’ movements and eliminating the need for a shoulder day altogether?

I agree with the more complex lifts advice given. My training is much more productive since I switched to viewing training as training the whole, not training a bunch of parts. If anything though, I’d use it as a back move and include something else for the rear delt.

I like what you said about viewing training as a whole not just parts…talk more about the split and routines you use…

i agree that the complex or compound movements are far superior to iso movements for building overall size and strength. but what are you supposed to do to target those rear delts? obviously when you train your back the rear delts do get some action. do you think that vertical or horizontal pulling exercises are enough to effectively build the rear delts?

Actually they should be much more of a hamstring/hip exercise so doing them first on leg day would work well unless you are also incorporating other olympic lifts where you can kind’ve spread them out through the week. Once you get used to pulls of any kind you’ll get some stimulation in your back and traps but most everything else is just along for the ride with your legs doing most of the work.

High pulls aren’t supposed to be for shoulders. If you pull fast enough abobe your knees, the ‘high’ part is basically just a follow-through. Put any pulling exercise (any at all, including olympic lifts, pulls & rows) on “back day”, or for that matter, any lift where the bar starts on the floor. Rear delts will get enough attention from all the rowing & (a bit) from the pulls. Front & side delts will grow from all the overhead pressing you’ll do.

First, I’d like to echo the previous statements. Any sort of Olympic variation really belongs on your hip dominant day.

Now, regarding the rear delt issue, most would agree that horizontal pulling is more beneficial in developing this muscle group. For myself, my horizontal pulling has been limited to whatever carry-over there is from doing Olympics & deadlifts, and I consider my rear deltoids pretty well developed. Most of my ‘direct’ back work has come in the form of chinups and yet my rear delts have grown, so who knows. Of course, I also do a bit of rock climbing, and with all it’s wierd pulling angles that could account for some of the development.

I don’t know how Ian describes the movement,but for the back us old timers called the exercise “the Rapid High Dead Lift.”
Start at the floor like a regular dead weight lift, rapidly pull the bar up above waist height and lower to the floor. It will work the
shoulders indirectly if you use a lighter weight and pull up to the nipples.

My split is not really a split. I do whole body routines every other day. MWF. powerclean, then deadlift, standing military and chin on day one, the last three done as a circuit, flexion ab exercise, day 2 power snatch, then squat, bench, row, in circuit,and a rotational ab exercise. all days, a few warm up sets of overhead squats. arms are weighted dips and narrow supinated chins, keep elbows high. on the main stuff its 20 minute circuits, two reps, increase weight every workout. When I can’t raise the weight or can’t increase the total reps done for two workouts, I’ll change it around. haven’t decided if I’ll take it to 3 reps or singles. Might just take two weeks off and start an HST workout.

hey, nice split…i never worked the wholle body everyday…used to the old b-building way,…but im switching now…how have you gained using this type of split as far as strength and size??? later

oh yea what do you do for day 3?

There is no day three. A is done M and f on week one and W of week two,B is done on W of week one and M and F of week two. Strenght is up 25% of what was there when I started. Weight is up, waist is down. Got accused of juicing, which isn’t a possibility, so I guess it is the most productive training time in my life. Great thing is that I am not close to sniffing the end of what I can use as far as weight. Question back to you. I am really struggling with the choice from here, 3’s or 1’s or time off. I have arguements for and against both.

Yea, I would do 3’s then do 1’s then switch to a higher rep type program (not too high) like 8’s… or you could switch up and do bar-speed workouts you know using lower weight and fast as possible tempo…either way it sounds pretty good

How long you been on this type of program total?? Sounds like a winner.

How much muscle have you gained since you switched to this type of training?

that’d be a tough question to answer. reason being, I don’t subscribe to the neuroses that is tape measure and claiper madness. Lift more, (load) lift better, (form) do more, (intensity ala EDT) and look better nekkid. i rarely step on a scale, perhaps once a week. In four weeks, there has been 5.5 pounds gain, whatever the +/- is. Pants are loosening in the waist, but shirts are getting tight in the sleeves and looser at the waist. Strength gains and nekkid appraisel are my tools. over over with a near snatch grip dead of 4 wheels per side gets me enough stares, but I won’t be happy until I can hit 225 in military for the circuit.

I am feeling that I may be topping out here soon, so I may step back and ramp back up for one more shot at it. If not then I simply will take 10 days off, and may cooridnate that with lasik eye surgery. I am sorry if I can’t claim absolutes in composition, but I don’t compete and have no intentions of doing so. I compete against that guy I see in the mirror on the BB side and the guy who entered his numbers in my training log for the PW/oly lift side.

Very, very well put brother…rock on.