T Nation

Assistance Needed with Rack Pulls


A little off topic, but I'll ask. I've recently had to move to a gym without power racks. Only option is a squat rack but the safety rails sit quite high for rp's.

Anybody ever use the hard plastic aerobic step-ups in a squat rack to get a proper height? What are your opinions on the safety of this method? Will they break under that much load? I haven't done this yet, but am considering it. Thoughts?




they should be sturdy, ive used em before, i figure theyre made to support 500 pound blubbering ppl jumping so they can handle 800 pounds worth of RPing


Good point.


Rack pulls can be used for both size and strength gains (the distinction between the two is a bit vague anyway). It will probably depend more on the rep range you're using than the height of the bar. I rack pull from mid-shin every few weeks to train my deadlift, but I do 1RM's as I'm only concerned with strength gains.

It's not uncommon to lift a lower weight from this position than you do off the floor, you lose some of the leg drive that you would get when pulling off the floor, without getting a significant mechanical advantage in the way you do for higher racks pulls.

I'll admit that I know far more about training for strength than I do for size, but I would recommend that knee height, or just below, be your upper limit on rack pull height. From a strength training point of view I don't let anyone I coach do rack pulls from a height that allows them to do more than about 10% more than they pull from the floor. If you do then you're wasting your time preparing your body for weights you won't handle for a long time.

And you should definitely drive your hips through, regardless of why your doing these.


Sounds like they did what they were supposed to do then, IMVHO. #1 is you're most likely starting from your weakest point in the deadlift if you can't use more weight than deadlifting from the floor. Your sticking point.

Rack pulls go on my Leg day for a reason. I should re-iterate--it's a GOOD thing they hit your glutes if your goal is to get stronger. Most people have problems firing their glutes so that's actually a great thing.


Yeah, I didn't read through this thread--that's a great synopsis tribunal.

And it depends on this question--wider would hit your upper back harder, like snatch grip deads, but it would be much harder on the grip and would also limit poundage somewhat since your back would be at a more acute angle with the floor and you'd also have a slightly longer ROM due to the wider grip.


I did them again on Thursday. The first time I did them, i was reracking into the hooks on the cage for some reason. This time I used bars so I didn't have to drop it gingerly back onto the hooks after each rep. I also started from right at my knee instead of just below it. MUCH better. Got like 6 at a weight I could only pull for 2. I have to say I feel them in a completely different part of my lats, more towards the spine, like right in deep in my lats.


Yeah they're pretty sturdy. I've had 5 plates on them without any issues. I like to stack them up and use them to hold the bar (i.e. two steps on each side). Standing on them in the squat rack felt very wrong.


I like this idea better. Thank you.