How to Do Clean High Pull Properly

The clean high pull is a great strength-training exercise that helps you build muscle mass.

It uses three lifting stages to activate muscles across your body.

The clean high pull is a variation of the clean pull which involves more activity in the upper body.

To do this exercise:

Place a weighted barbell on the ground.

Stand next to the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart and your shins almost in contact with the bar.

Squat down and grip the bar with an overhand grip. Make sure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Position your shoulders over the bar with your back arched tightly.

As the bar reaches your knees, raise your shoulders while keeping the bar close to your thighs.

Jump up slightly so that your heels come up off the ground and raise the barbell with your elbows pointed out sideways and the barbell is at neck level.

Let the barbell drop down to the floor.


The high clean pull is a full-body exercise that activates muscle groups throughout your upper and lower body.

This includes your quads, forearms, calves, deltoids, and lower back muscles.

1.      QUADS

The quads (quadriceps) are the strongest and leanest muscles in your body.

They are a group of four muscles located on the front of your thighs. Quads help stabilize the knee and help extend the leg from the knee joint.

The four muscles of the quad are:

Vastus lateralis which is the biggest muscle. It is found on the outside of the thigh.

Vastus medialis which is a teardrop-shaped muscle found on the inner thigh to the inner knee.

Vastus intermedius which is the deepest quad.

Rectus femoris which attaches to your kneecap and is found at the center of your thigh.

2.      FOREARMS

This is the part of the arm between the wrist and elbow.

There are about 20 muscles that are in the forearm. The forearm muscles control grip strength, flexion of the elbow, flexion and extension of the wrist, and rotation of the wrist.

The main muscles in the forearm include:

Brachioradialis is the primary muscle. It works with the biceps to flex the forearm.

Wrist flexors are the muscles in the arm responsible for flexing the wrist and fingers, rotating the wrist and making a fist. They are found on the side of the arm.

Wrist extensors are twelve muscles found on the backside of the forearm. They help with the extension of the wrist, fingers, and rotation of the wrist.

The clean high pull engages the forearms during the lift of the barbell.

3.      CALVES

These are the muscles of the lower leg. They are made up of the soleus and gastrocnemius.

The clean high pull engages your calves when you jump.

The calves are used for walking, running, and jumping.

4.      DELTOIDS

The deltoids are triangular muscle that sits on the shoulder.

The deltoids consist of:

The anterior deltoid is located on the front of the shoulder. It helps with the internal rotation of the shoulder joint.

The clean high pull engages the deltoids during the lift.

The lateral deltoid which is found on the outer side of the shoulder. Its main function is adduction of the shoulder. It enables you to lift your arm up out and to the side.

The posterior deltoid which is found on the back of the shoulder. The main function of the posterior deltoid is the external rotation of the shoulder joint.



The clean high pull deals with maximal strength. This is the maximum load you can move slowly.

Power refers to the specific load you can move as fast as possible. Adding the clean high pull to your routine helps you build that power.

This is very beneficial to athletes.


The clean high pull is highly technical. It requires a certain amount of practice before it can be done properly and with higher loads.

This consistent training helps build your neuromuscular control. Aside from building muscle mass, as you would with weight training, the clean high pull helps you become a more efficient lifter.

Additionally, you improve you change of direction by strengthening the muscles in your spinal column, your acceleration, your vertical jump and your agility.


The clean high pull helps build the muscles in your upper back, around your shoulders and ribs.

This is because

This is because of the powerful shrugs done with every rep.


If you need an alternative to the clean high pull, you can try the following exercises which can still work on your body strength.


This cable pull-through exercise is perfect if you need an upper body strength exercise that puts less stress on your muscles.

To do this exercise:

  • Adjust the cable machine so the cable is on the ground. Stand with your back to the machine.
  • Bend then grab the rope between your legs and stand up.
  • Step out a few steps so the weight is off the rack.
  • Hinge at the waist and push your hips back towards the machine. Allow the cable to go through your legs until you feel a pull in your hamstrings.
  • Keep your spine neutral and chest up.
  • Pause and return to the starting position while squeezing your glutes.


To this exercise:

  • Place a kettlebell on the ground slightly in front of you.
  • Hinge at the hips and bend down slightly, placing both hands on the kettlebell handles.
  • Pull the kettlebell back between your legs and drive your hips forward, using the force to push the kettlebell up to chest level. Keep your back straight throughout the movement.
  • Let the kettlebell come back down, hinging at the hips and allowing it to fall back through your legs.
  • Repeat the movement.


It’s easy to make mistakes when doing the clean high pull. One of them is bending your arms too early. This means you won’t get the complete power transfer of the pull.

Limited mobility in your shoulders, wrists and elbows can lead to poor form when performing the clean high pull exercise.

Leaning forward over the bar such that your shoulders are too ahead of the bar is very poor form. This will lead to a poor clean high pool. It also increases the risk of injury.