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?