T Nation

GM and Rack Pull Form


Hey guys, I was reading an article earlier on here about rack pulls and the different variations ( http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/rack_em_up_rack_pull_variations ). So I recorded myself doing a very light set of these and good mornings.

1.) What do you guys think about my form??

2.) I've heard that the way you do these really affect what is worked. I'm sure there's a lot of overlap but what do you guys think I'm effectively hitting with the way I do them? I'm sure form gets a little sloppier at max weights but hopefully it's close. Rack pulls felt about like this when I worked up to a max 2 rep set today. Bar is right below my knees.

Sorry it's sideways

Good Mornings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suM4pK1fzOg

Rack Pulls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlGYWPgmbFc


1) good morning looks correct. i don't know much about rack pull form so it would be hypocritical of me to judge... but in my limited opinion, it looks proper.

2) yeah according to Louie Simmons and friends, the way you do a good morning (and even rack pull) affects the carryover it has to the main lifts - squats and deadlifts. he said to try and "mimic deadlift form while doing the good morning as close as possible".

for me, I do good-mornings and its variations as a max attempt lift. i don't bother with rack pulls because it does not address where i am weak at. provided that you do that with the same (or close) form in the vid, good mornings will help improve your squats/deadlift. as for rack pulls, if that is your weak area, then yes it will help with your deadlift.

i know i'm still missing something here...


GM's for max attempt, how high in weight are you getting with these?

As for deads, for me it generally seems like if I can get the bar up I've got it so my weak point is likely much lower. I'm mainly doing rack deadlifts for size and because I've built up my deadlift 4x in the past just to have it shoot down the next session so I'm giving rack pulls a shot due to that as well.


Can't tell much about form doing a "very light set", form breaks down at heavier weights so what you are doing in that video isn't necessarily what you'll be doing with a few hundred pounds on your back. Only thing I'd comment on is it might be that the video is sideways, but it seems like you are going down too far for my liking on the good mornings.

I'd repost a video of something close to a 3RM if you want to get real answers.


the most i have GM is @ 455 lbs for a triple. typically squat and deadlifts ratio are close to eachother... until you start getting really strong at GM. after that, it's close to a hundred pounds difference between squats and deadlifts. i'm not saying that GM doesn't enhance the deadlift; it's just that it builds up the squat much much more.

if you stalled right there, my best guess is you have a weakness off the floor so deficit pulling or speed pulls. romanian deadlift might help too if you stop at the point you're stalling and returning back up. if you are deadlifting too much, your deadlift numbers will drop. i went through your same situation where i made a pr one week and two weeks later i attempted the deadlift again and dropped 10-20 lbs. there could be a slew of other issues that's preventing u from moving on up but if we assume form and nutrition is dead on, overtraining the deadlift and weakness off the floor is my two primary suspect.

just know that GM does not enhance the deadlift as much as you would like to believe. this could be observed in westside and elitefts lifters who's squats far overshadow their deadlifts (and this is not just because of the squat suits).


oh yeah that's what i forgot to mention... you should post a video of you attempting a max or near max attempt of a good morning for a proper form analysis. as for going down too far, i typically go a bit above or at parallel. i know the westside guys don't do that, maybe its because of their big bellies. they also don't advocate doing dips, direct shoulder work, or vertical pulling movements but i do it anyways. to each his own.


Yeah, it's hard to tell when the weight is light, but that's fine. The way you're doing GMs should target your lower back. I always feel narrow stance in my lower back and wide stance in my hamstrings. The rack pulls are fine. You'll get a lot of lower back work that way. Some people really drop their hips and use a ton of leg drive, but that doesn't carry over to an actual deadlift very well.


I think it depends on the style of goodmorning. For example, neutral/round back good mornings from a dead stop using a semi-close stance could definitely assist the pull, even more so if a safety bar was used.


i've always used form as part of the progression with GM's. when you go really heavy, its almost half a squat, and as you get stronger you tighten up the form as best you can. lighter weights i make it as hard on myself as possible and try not to let my ass shoot too far back. rack pulls, you have to pull back a little more. get your feet forward a little more. it will enable you to move more weight. don't be a form nazi on either of these.


Do you realize how many 800 lb deadlifters Westside has produced? It's more than any other gym. Sure, the squat numbers are higher, but that's going to be true with any top multi-ply lifter. You're not going to out dead your squat in multi-ply unless you're a horrible squatter.


OK well I'm doing them tomorrow for my deload workout and was actually planning on going up to a 2-3RM so I'll record it.

Does it seem like I should maybe bend my legs less? Looking back at the video and then taking a look at this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8cRg1uC_84&feature=related it seems like maybe I should keep them a little straighter. That would place more emphasis on hamstrings right?

Actually I wouldn't be doing the GM's for deadlifts, if anything I'd be doing them for squats because naturally I'm fine at deadlifts but my body is just awful at squatting. As for deadlifting, it may be an overtraining thing with them but I've never done them more than once per week. I do know though that if I give it enough time I come back as strong as I used to be (for instance last time I hurt myself deadlifting 3x300 and then 2 weeks later only could do rack pulls with 2x285. I haven't done any form of rack pulling/deadlifts since then 5 months ago but 2 days ago was able to get 2x335 pretty easily so it just came back....and yes I know that's still pathetic lol).

  1. I'm surprised by that, I would think a narrower stance would provide more hamstring work because of the greater stretch, no? Maybe I'll try a wider stance then if that focus more on hams.

  2. Yea I don't want a lot of leg drive with my rack pulls. Apparently the way I'm doing them would build up upper back thickness which is what I want, although I don't know if I can say I feel it a ton in upper back. Then again I was only doing 2-3 reps per set.

Interesting, I kind of felt like it would make me fall backwards but I'll give that a shot, it's actually the way the article I first posted mentioned for those looking to hit the back muscles more.

As for GM's it kind of looks like I'm already doing a half squat or so doesn't it? I don't know, the weight is really light...but it just felt natural to do that. I feel like even that weight would have been semi-difficult with straight legs.


The narrower stance also typically moves the bar further away from center, which places more stress on your lower back. I have the same experience as Wild Iron (not sure who's manning the account right now) and I'd imagine that's the reason.


Just do heavy barbell shrugs if your goal is to get your upper back bigger. That and lots of pull ups and chin ups.

That's right about the distance from center. You can push your hips back a lot more with a wide stance. That puts more stress in the hamstrings. Narrow, you can't push your hips back as far, so it's a lot of lower back. A middle stance kills my glutes.

GMs are a super useful exercise, since there's so many different stances, bars, heights, bands, chains, etc. You can use them to work whatever you need. I think for most people they work best for sets of 5 and go as heavy as you can. People turn them into squats when they go for a 1RM.

Our favorite right now is chain suspended vs doubled mini or monster mini bands. Usually a GM is hard to get moving but then it gets easier as you go. With the bands doubled, it's hard the entire lift.

FYi, this is Marcus. I'm the only one that uses this account.


I tried it out with the bar and I see what you're saying about the wider stance, it definitely feels like I could use significantly more weight like that because of how much more stable I feel and like you guys said I'm not as far off from my bodies center. Also I can keep my legs straighter with that stance so I can see that leading to a hamstring stretch. I always just thought narrower stance meant more hamstring and wider meant more glutes. I'll record tomorrow and post it up for a critique.


15 something 800 lb deadlifters i believe? yeah i know squat suits aid more in adding poundages then a deadlift suit. the raw percentage of squats being higher still overshadows the raw percentage of deadlifts amongst westside. correct me if i'm wrong.. i'm just spouting facts I read a while ago.

speaking from a raw lifter perspective, the way I was taught to do a GM (close to or at parallel) is mainly to aid in the squat and as an assistance exercise for the oly lifts. my deadlift numbers used to be higher than my squat until last year, when I added GM as a max effort. now there's about a 60 lbs difference. it made me more sense to go parallel (at least to me anyways), i haven't bother scoping out other's opinions about not going down as deep because things are still progressing. just my experience.


For me to get the best strech in my hamstring on GMs or RDLs I have to have my feet>shoulder width and Matsm21 is right about the rack pulls move closer to the bar and I would also start alittle high than you are.


Hm, I've never even thought to do them like that for RDL's. I'll work on getting closer with rack pulls but how exactly do you mean? Apparently I'm supposed to pull back more so I'm guessing you don't mean lean over more, and I don't think you can see it but the bar is touching my shins so I can't really get closer than that lol, I could move my feet more under it I suppose though.

As for the bar height you canâ??t really see it but itâ??s just barely below my knee. It was actually higher but I thought it was too high (just above my knee) so I got a 2in (roughly) box to stand on. I thought it was supposed to be below the knee


this is %100 not true, especially for the op who does his lifts raw. you need a strong back. nearly everyone I have ever encountered has a weaker low back relative to everything else. what other lift, that you can use the same maximal weights, will improve the deadlift more for a raw lifter?



OK I got 2 GM videos, got them straight this time for you guys too :slight_smile:

3x125 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCxepQB-xA8

1x145: I stopped after 1 because I felt like I couldn't get low enough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo1ccEHAIkI

It amazes me some of you guys are doing near 500lb with these. Does my 125 seem to line up strength wise with a ~315 (?) deadlift, 3x305 RDL, 2x345 rack pull and 1x255 or so squat? Or is my lower back even more relatively weak then I thought?