There’s nothing wrong with targeting your shoulders in the gym, but the problem with shoulder training (and endless pressing exercises in general) is that when coupled with lifestyle habits such as desk work you can end up neglecting key postural muscles, leaving your delts internally rotated.

The barbell high pull will place sufficient stress on the shoulders to elicit muscle growth and work wonders for your structural and postural health. That’s because the high pull involves all the body’s major muscle groups, particularly the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, back) to stabilise and initiate the movement. It also hits the upper, mid and lower traps, rather than just working the upper traps which can make your posture look hunched.

Finding a movement that hits all of these areas is difficult, but the barbell high pull certainly fits the bill.

How To Do A Barbell High Pull

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the barbell just in front of your shins. Your grip placement should fall about a hand’s width outside of each leg. Keeping your glutes and abs engaged, pull the bar upwards in one controlled movement, keeping it close to your body. As the bar rises, shrug your shoulders to pull the bar as high as possible. Slowly lower back to the start position.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Falling Forwards

It is pivotal that you keep your back straight and neutrally aligned and your chest elevated at all times. This ensures that momentum and gravity don’t pull you forwards and off course.


Keeping your glutes and core engaged at all times takes a lot of the stress off your lower back, reducing the risk of injury and benefiting your technique.