T Nation

Rack Pull at Knees

I have started back into lower body lifting again after injuries/surgeries and due to lower back pain I’m starting using rack pulls for my hinge movement. I’ve been doing high reps with just the bar to get some blood in there and reinforce the hinge pattern. anyways I started at home but now I’m at school and the way the racks are the lowest I can go is to the middle of my patella.

I have always hear that rack pulls are done at different heights depending on the goal, however I always hear above or below the knee. is there any downfall to doing them at the knee? There are no blocks to pull from and the fitness director may have issues with me stacking plates under the bar to substitute. Input is greatly appreciated

Could you just stand on some plates so that you lower the height of the bar by making yourself taller?

Also, I have had success by taking some rubber patio tiles, cutting them in half, carrying them into the gym and putting them under the plates. They’ll fit inside a bigger gym bag (like a duffle bag).

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Could you just stand on some plates so that you lower the height of the bar by making yourself taller?
[/quote]

I’m short. This is exactly what I do. Works like a charm with smooth plates. Rigid, irregular ones… not so much.

I could try but the plates at the gym aren’t solid ones. the bumpers maybe but even they have a weird shape to em. I could try the tile idea as well. Is there anything inherently wrong about pulling from mid patella level? I mean besides training how to get the bar around the knee?

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I could try but the plates at the gym aren’t solid ones. the bumpers maybe but even they have a weird shape to em. I could try the tile idea as well. Is there anything inherently wrong about pulling from mid patella level? I mean besides training how to get the bar around the knee? [/quote]

It’s only wrong if it doesn’t help you reach your goals. Give it a try and see what happens.

@ th3pwnisher, good point sir. I have another question for you. Awhile back (year or so maybe) I brought my back injury to the forums and someone recommended getting back into training with rack pulls, and possibly not even using conventional dl again if it kept causing injury. I remember they had a lot of good things to say about rack pulls in their own training. I’ll look back through the old forums of mine cause there was some good advice given there. Any chance that may have been you?

I more advocate for mat/block pulls. I am not a fan of rack pulls, since the bar is the point of contact instead of the plates. Screws up mypulling mechanics.

For me, pulling any higher than about 2-3" below my knee feels like a different lift and a less “complete” lift. However, anywhere from the floor to that point seems to involve near everything from head to toe.

Currently I do mat pulls from about mid-shin, and I’m pretty pleased with what that’s done for me. Anything I can pull there for 5 reps, I can pull from the floor.

@thepwnisher, ah i see. thanks for your time. I’m not sure how I feel about rack pulls as a replacement for dl, but I’m hoping in my current situation they allow me to train the hip hinge and progressively improve ROM.

And Lorez, I understand what you mean. Granted I have only been using an empty bar, but I started pretty high up the thigh and have slowly worked myself down to just below the knee. The difference in the moment is quite drastic.

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
@thepwnisher, ah i see. thanks for your time. I’m not sure how I feel about rack pulls as a replacement for dl, but I’m hoping in my current situation they allow me to train the hip hinge and progressively improve ROM.
[/quote]

You definitely have my ear on the topic of ROM progression deadlifts. I’ve talked about this pretty extensively with my own training history, but if you want a recap

I think you’ll find a lot of success with this method. Feel free to contact me if my experience is of any help.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
@thepwnisher, ah i see. thanks for your time. I’m not sure how I feel about rack pulls as a replacement for dl, but I’m hoping in my current situation they allow me to train the hip hinge and progressively improve ROM.
[/quote]

You definitely have my ear on the topic of ROM progression deadlifts. I’ve talked about this pretty extensively with my own training history, but if you want a recap

I think you’ll find a lot of success with this method. Feel free to contact me if my experience is of any help.[/quote]

I just glanced at it, and thats some pretty awesome stuff! Thanks man and Ill be sure to read through it more intensively. I injured my lower back about 2 or 3 years ago, and went to start pulling from the floor a couple months ago. I got up to 155lbs before the pain was back so obviously that’s not the way to go. I started reading some stuff and now I’m focusing on bulgarian split squats as my main lower body move to focus on strength, and I want to supplement them with rack pulls. I was looking at the Bill Starr rehab protocol and got the idea that higher reps would be best to try and get the area to heal and ingrain the hinge pattern. So I started with 10s (empty bar) and worked my way down to just below the patella. My back felt great after the sets of ten.

Today i did sets of 15, and I plan on either sticking with 15’s or going up to 25’s next session. I want to stick with these high reps and do them three times a week, adding 10lbs each session. Once I hit 95-135lbs I want to drop down to ten reps and keep adding weight slowly. Sound like a halfway decent plan to you or does that sound like a terrible idea?

Truthfully, I have had better luck using HEAVY partial movements and light weight full ROM work for my own rehab. Reverse bands are also very helpful.