How The Barbell High Pull Works As An Advanced Total Body Workout

barbell high pull

A total body killer to see gains.

We often look for the best exercises to target all of our needs. While much of our routine consists of isolation exercises, it is important to include those total body workouts into our regimen to see growth and provide a convenient way to target multiple muscle groups at once.

It can be challenging to find the right exercises, and with so many out there, the options seem endless. The barbell high pull is a great total body exercise to target muscle growth, power output, explosivity, and stability so we get the most out of our training.

For those of us bodybuilders and powerlifters, looking towards exercises that will improve our bigger lifts is one step closer to achieving that desired strength and physique we seek most. What the barbell high pull does is it sets us up to tackle those big Olympic lifts by working similar movements and muscles so when the time comes we are ready to take on anything that comes our way. As a simple to learn yet advanced exercise, it will challenge your whole body to work to move that big weight.

Let’s take a look at the barbell high pull and see what this exercise is all about. From what it is, to muscles worked, the benefits associated with it, and how to perform it, this total body exercise is a monster that needs to be in your workout routine.

What Is The Barbell High Pull?

The barbell high pull is an advanced total body workout designed to improve strength, power, stability, and sheer size. While it is a perfect exercise for working on building muscle in general, it can aid in those big lifts like the clean and deadlift given its movements and similar muscles worked. As a full body exercise, you really work to develop total body power that can aid in those Olympic lifts (1). Great for bodybuilders, powerlifters, or other strength sports alike, this is definitely one that needs to be in your routine.

Muscles Worked

What you get with the barbell high pull is a total body workout to really maximize your training and performance, and honestly, save you time in the gym. Forget working with just isolation exercises and really focus on targeting multiple muscle groups at once.

With this exercise, for upper body muscles you target the shoulders, traps, biceps, and abdominals. For that lower body work, your quads and glutes will feel a nice burn to aid in that grounded support. A total body workout aimed at strength and power, plenty of muscles get work done with this exercise.

Benefits Of This Exercise

Coming with this exercise are some great benefits that cannot be overlooked. When it comes down to it, this full body workout can save you some time in the gym and is convenient on any given day. Benefits of this monster, total body exercise include:

  • Increase strength: Working multiple muscles groups, this is a great exercise to see weight progression as you build that muscle. It will challenge you to see that desired growth by pushing your limits with a full body workout (2).
  • Improve power: The explosivity required makes you work on power output that will pay off with other big lifts. Having the ability to be powerful is just what we need with lifts like the deadlift, bench press, and squats.
  • Assists Olympic lifts: Similar movements and muscle groups makes this an effective workout for aiding in those big Olympic and powerlifts. Having a foundation to tackle these lifts is exactly what we need most out of our training (3).
  • Improve balance & stability: Work to stay grounded by building strength in your core and legs to have more grounded, more supported lifts. More stability will assist with everyday functions as well.

barbell high pull

How To Perform It

Here are the steps for performing the barbell high pull. While it is an advanced exercise, it is simple to learn so start light if you have to nail down technique and you will soon find yourself lifting that massive weight in no time.

Set up your barbell with the desired weight and stand shoulder-width apart. Your shins should be placed close to the barbell. Pushing your hips back, go into a squat position and grip the bar overhand. As you drive through your feet, engage your core and explode up, shrugging your shoulders as high as possible. Return to the starting position and repeat for your desired number of reps.

Featured Barbell

We wanted to share a great barbell for those looking to beef up their home gym. Having the right equipment is half the battle and this barbell from American Barbell is exactly what you need to thrive to boost training and ultimately see the results you want most out of your performance.

American Barbell 20KG Training Bar

American Barbell 20KG Training Bar is a versatile barbell that is rigorously tested for training and competition. A precision ground alloy steel shaft ensures quality, durability, and longevity.

American Barbell 20KG Training Bar is a versatile bar tested and approved for training and competition. The precision ground alloy steel bar shaft is tested through a rigorous process to ensure longevity and excellent whip for optimal performance. A finished hard chrome adds extra durability and corrosion resistance for nice added features. The bar sleeves work to rotate smoothly and this bar is 20kg, 28mm in diameter, and 2,200mm in length. American Barbell Training Bar is built to last while providing comfort and longevity for all of your goals.

Price: $315.00

Check out our list of the Best Barbells for more great barbells to beef up your home gym!

Wrap Up

The barbell high pull is a great full body exercise to target upper and lower muscles to give you the best chance at growth. What this exercise will do is work to build strength and size while also offering support for those big Olympic and powerlifts so you see huge growth in all areas of your training and performance. As a great exercise, this will save you time while maximizing your training and is a great way to improve power and explosivity as well. Look to add this to your routine and see those gains you want most.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of American Barbell and Envato


  1. Hori, Naruhiro; Chiu, Loren Z. F.; Kawamori, Naoki (2009). “Pulling movement in weightlifting exercises from a biomechanical standpoint”. (source)
  2. Westcott, Wayne L. (2012). “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health”. (source)
  3. Ferland, Pierre-Marc; Comtois, Alain S. (2019). “Classic Powerlifting Performance: A Systematic Review”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.