T Nation

Assistance Needed with Rack Pulls


I tried these for the first time today and I must be doing something wrong because:

A) I could barely do 3/4 of what I can deadlift as far as weight goes
B) I barely felt them in my lats/back (Cephalic_Carnage had suggested shrugging backwards at the top, which I forgot to do, so that may fix this one)
C) They hit my glutes so bad I couldn't walk for 3 minutes after one of my sets. They still feel like jelly now.
D) I tried to keep my shoulders back on them but if I was doing more than about 135 they drifted forward a bit...not a ton, but still.
E) I tried to keep my lower back in a tight arch, and now my lower back is killing me.


Drop the weight down until you can execute with proper form. Your upper back must be quite weak if you cant rack pull more than you deadlift.


Ahh time for a wizened pothead to lend his opinion.

I've seen quite a few people who can;t rack pull what they deadlift. The reason is they do the rack pull identical to the SECOND portion of the deadlift (the lockout phase) using just hip extension, and the lack of leg drive hurts their poundage. Interestingly, thats the right way to do rack pulls if raising your deadlift poundage is the goal lol.

The second breed of people rack pull 300 pounds more than they floor dead since their back takes all the slack and they're not limited by lower back weakness. THIS is the rigth way to rack pull if back width is yoru goal lol.

So AQ you're doing your rack pulls WRONG for your goal of increasing back width, but you're on target for improving your lockout on floor deads. lol.


Where did you start the pull at? Just below the knee? Or a couple inches off the ground?


damnit....yeah I was doing them just like the latter half of a deadlift. So I don't drive with my hips on them?


about halfway up my shin. I think next time I'm going to try the next peg up on the rack.


I like doing these starting higher (just above the knee) and then moving it down throughout the weeks.

Make sure to pull your hips through NO MATTER WHAT. Not doing this will increase the risk of back injury.

You should be able to do more weight with these then you would off the ground (mainly when it's over your knees)

Good luck!


I like to do them with the bar starting about 1-2 inches below the middle of my kneecap. When I deadlift my shoulders are vertically lined up with the middle of my feet but when I rack pull my shoulders are slightly more forward. From there I just put my hips in the right spot and pull up and back making sure the bar is dragging along my legs. I usually dont move at the knees at all, especially on the first rep.

I have a couple of videos up. I think my form is pretty good in them.


Tribunal: Interesting point. Would you grip any differently for those 2 variations (Wider for back width/thickness, maybe)?



i used to be able to use way more on my RPs than my floors

then i somehow learned to leg drive and now my RP is like 30 pounds more only lol.


why dont u do them from the knee?

u were probaly doing RDLs lol


<- I was thinking the same...

Keep the bar in contact with your body at all times, make sure you don't bounce it off the rack or it will travel forward and that can get dangerous. Set each rep down, Make sure everything is situated as it should be, lift again, repeat.

Also, you set up so that your feet are forward some (so that you would basically fall over backwards if you were to let go of the bar).

Agree with what tribunal said about hip drive..


never used rack pulls for thickness tbh, though they will help in that regard...
grip variations, Ive never played around much with those. YOu need to try difefrent grips (within reason obviously - i wouldn;t/COULDN'T use a snatch grip OR a super close grip on these) and see where you feel it, I guess.

Interestingly, I've observed that the poorest deadlifters (form-wise obv, those who throw too much back into it, round at the bottom, and don;t get enough leg drive etc etc etc) get the best benefit out of rack lifts from knee (the way bonez and others said).

Its all good as long as you';re moving more weight than off the floor (for bbing) and keep the strong back arch or whatever that means to you.


Damn you've been training for 9 years and barely learning how to rack pull?! Anyways, your probably starting to low, set pins at knee height or a little higher. Keep feet planted, weight on heels, tense up traps arms like steel cables, chest up and yank back. Lockout at top glutes tight, back tight. Reset and repeat. Not to hard:/.


AQ if you ever decide to make the switch from general health bullshit to just wanting to add tons of size you can drop by the gym and ill show you a few things.


I thought rack pulls were for size? Quite a few people suggested them in a thread I had about adding general size to my back.


The deadlift from the knees is not just hip extension though. And if he's setting up without his shoulders over the bar and the bar over midfoot, then he's doing it wrong. It's not the "right way" to do anything. If he's setting up like an RDL, don't encourage it.


Rack Pulls are for size! Done properly they produce plenty of it.


they are.

but you said you go running and running is not condusive to mass.


Fucking a CC

Thats genius. Why the hell didn't I think of that when I was rack pulling.

NO sarcasm in this post.