T Nation

Incorporating Rack Pulls


On back days I always begin with deadlifts so I'm not worn out and can get the best out of them.
I do 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 3 reps.

I wanted to incorporate rack pulls to try and improve on my lockout. Would it be best to do these rather then the deadlifts for a while, say a month or so? Or do deadlifts and rack pulls on the same day for a while?


Could do this a variety of ways.

Deads:work up to top set
rack deads: 1x4-8 1x10-12

or just do the rack deads for a while. Up to you.


Rack pulls are better than deadlifts in my book (greater loads, less risk of injury IME, and better overall back activation). You can have one or the other, you can't have both.


You can do deads and RPs on the same day, but if you do that, make one the strength exercise, and do the other for a higher rep range. If you're weak at the lock-out, then do the rack-pulls for maximal strength first, then do the deadlifts at a lighter weight (60-70% 1RM) for a "hypertrophic" rep range (8-10).


Why not alternate week to week? Some guys will go 3-4 weeks without dead lifting and will incorporate rack deads or other lifts that will aide in bringing up there deadlifts.


What is the difference, in regards to training effect of rack pulls versus full deads?


x 2 on this.
This is how I perform them usually.


Deadlifts are primarily a leg/glute exercise with a little back involvment

Rack pulls (from 1-2" below the knee, depending on limb length) is a lower back exercise with a little upper back involvement and some glute activation.

Do the rack pulls later in the workout. There are other exercises that are more important and effective for back development than rack pulls. You want to be fresh for those movements to get the most out of them. Doin rack pulls later in the workout will also allow you to use less weight and still get the stimulation.


It depends on how your split is set up. I was doing a 6 day split for a while and had squats monday, rack pulls tuesday on then deadlifts on friday. Made progress in all lifts.


Such as? I just ditched deadlifts for rack pulls, but I would like to know what I could add.




Barbell rows and variations, HS rowing movements, Pullups, Cable rows, Pullovers. Those are all things I'd do before rack pulling. I usually do 2-3 things before rack pulling and 1-2 things afterwards.

But I dont suggest abandoning the deadlift until an appreciable amount of strength is developed.


That's what I figured.

Rack pulls take the hams/glutes/quads out of the lift and make it more of a pure back exercise, which is what I'm looking for.


do you guys recommend higher reps with rack pulls or lower reps? and is there a reason for that?


4-6 reps does the trick for most. Obviously you can go lower if handling the most weight is the main goal. I dont think high reps are necessary, there's a chance for injury as fatigue sets in. Higher reps can be done while the weight is still relatively light while you ramp the weight up


Have you guys seen huge returns in your back development from building up your rack pull numbers?


i did rack pulls for a while to strengthen my mid and upper back for deadlifts. i think i might have been better off just deadlifting more.

i guess one way in which they're useful is that they're less neurally draining considering you generally have a better mechanical advantage when starting it from a deadstop off the pins.

it's certainly fun to load the weight up on them though, or to rep out with weights that you can only deadlift for a few. i guess it could also be good for your grip strength.

by the way, mine were done from about 2" below the knee