T Nation

Vertical Pulling, How Much?

How important is vertical pulling? should it be 1:1 ratio with horizontal?

When you say Vertical pulling, do you mean lat pull downs/pull ups, or do you mean shrugs/Power Cleans?

It’s been mentioned several times. 2:1 horizontal:vertical

Yep, I do a lot more horizontal versus vertical pulling. AT LEAST a 2:1 ratio. And when doing vertical pulling it’s mostly lighter focusing on mind-muscle connection. Heck on some phases (like right now) I have no vertical pulling at all.

Question: if I do a lot of pull ups and weighted pull ups as my main pulling movement along with deadlifts, can I balance these by face pulls and band pull aparts as horizontal pulls? Or is the ratio more of intensity, that one should do more heavier rows than pull ups?

I think that adding band pull aparts is never a bad idea but they can’t really represent a balance to pull-ups, especially if the later are trained for performance.

I believe that too much vertical pulling can be potentially hard on the shoulder joint. When someone does a lot of them, I recommend doing more neutral grip pull-ups.

To quote Dr.John Rusin:

“If you aren’t rowing two or three times as much as you are pulling up you are leaving your shoulder health to chance.”

Full article: https://thibarmy.com/dr-rusins-pulling-law-10-back-training-tips-thib/


I know for me personally rowing strength does much more for me than pull-ups. I once went 8 weeks without doing a single pull up but rowing (all variations) 3-4x a week. When I finally went to do pull-ups I was able to do like 15 in a set like it was nothing. But when I’ve gone the other route focusing on pull-ups, the pull-up strength didn’t exactly translate to rowing strength for me. I actually had gotten substantially weaker rowing wise. My grip strength was through the roof though.

Coach - have you noticed this with other clients you’ve worked with or in your experience?


Based on your comment regarding a 2:1 ratio of horizontal over vertical pulls, can you provide a rough plan for all movement patterns? It would help my understanding of program design to know the proper ration between vertical and horizontal pulls verses vertical and horizontal presses and then the same for quads verses hips.

Thank you in advance for all your words of wisdom.