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Rack Pull Harder than Full Deadlift?



Bench 275
Squat 285
Deadlift 425

I just did conventional deadlifts 4x315, 4x365, 4x365, 12x245.
Then tried rack pulls with the bar at knee height with 405. Couldn't even budge it... Had to use 315 for 3 sets of 3. It was as if my mind shut my muscles down. Felt like a switch had flipped in my head and my mind was like nope dont want to lift that.

Should I start the lift mid shin instead of at my knees? Was I unable to do lift just because of being fatigued from the other lifts? I thought rack pulls would allow me to lift more than full range deadlifts.

I am following the New Rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove -by the way


I think you just burned out


You should use rack pulls at wherever your sticking point is in your deadlift. This is usually somewhere along the shin. When you do rack pulls at this level, the weight will be lighter then your deadlift because youre at your weakest point.

Doing rack pulls at knee level is pretty much just an ego lift anyway.


I had the same problem some time ago, how is your breathing and grip? Both things I put some work into and blew past my plateau. Keep grinding


Alright thanks guys. I will start at shin level next time.

Bacher- My grip is not too strong so I will definitely work on that, hoping that will help me on the deadlift.


Just did rack pulls from mid shin height. Worked up to 365 as opposed to 315 last week. Threw up a little in my mouth during regular deadlifts at 385 today! haha


"I never did my reps from the floor up, but from the mid-shin. The initial pull off the floor is mainly using the legs and glutes, which I didn't care to train on back day." ~ Dorian Yates, about dead lifts


you bouncing the weight off the ground between deadlift reps or resetting / allowing the weight to go dead between each lift??

momentum will do funny things to a lift...


Knee level is not mid-shin.

Even if the middle of the knee is used, that's still a good 6" difference than mid shin. The ROM of rack pulls from knee level is extremely short. They serve a purpose, but a very limited one that really only applies to powerlifters.


I saw that discrepancy when I pasted the quote and decided to submit it as the point of muscle activation is still valid. I knew it would get called out, should have timed it.

Well played


All about the details bruh


I make sure it is a dead-lift every lift.

You are right though


wait, did you do rack pulls right after deadlifting?


Yup. It was in the program from The New Rules of Lifting.


What about ultra-wide snatch grip or even a reeve's DL grip? I would think that could very heavily stimulate the back from knee height even. At that grip width anything lower would probably be mostly legs to start the pull. What do you think?


Well, dude!! That's why your rack pulls were weaker...you just did 24 working reps of DL! Don't overanalyze this. You're doing fine.

This is a completely different scenario than I think you were making it sound like...as in, when you do rack pulls fresh, they are weaker than conventional DL.


Am I missing something? Isn't the bar always at mid-shin at floor level because of how wide the plates are? (unless you're deadlifting with really tiny plates)


Your rack pulls were impossible? Well no shit, Sherlock! lol

Seriously though, not to bust your balls but I have no idea why you'd do a set of 12 and then expect to go heavier for a partial. No offense, but you've got your approach backwards.

Do your high deadlifts (rack pulls) first, then do lighter back off sets with a full range deadlift variation. The heavier lift will make the lighter lift seem very easy provided you don't tire yourself with needless reps.

The full DL for hypertrophy is just about the worst idea ever. It'll kill you, and there are better lifts for growth. Full deadlifts and rack pulls give you a big ass and thick waist and not much else. Even Yates used the overhand RDL in lieu of the full DL or rack pull (RDL's have a bounce at the bottom and an eccentric portion). Specific tools for specific goals.

You want a solid program? Here's what a deadlift day looks like for me:

1.) Rack Pull (at whatever height, changes weekly)
- 1-3 reps working up to a max for the day

2.) Full Deadlifts (or) Stiff Leg Deadlifts (from floor or on a plate, changes weekly)
- 1-3 reps working up to a max for the day

My avatar is a picture of a mid shin rack pull with 880lbs at 235lbs bodyweight. On that day I did:

!.) Rack Pull (plates 8" off floor)
225x1, 315x1, 405x1, 495x1, 585x1, 675x1, 765x1, 815x1, 855x1, 880x1 *PR

2.) Full Deadlift
405x1, 495x1, 585x1, 675x1, 745x1 *PR, 760x1 *PR

So right now I'm basically exceeding the RAW American record by 60lbs and the above approach is what I used to get there. I built my base using a Doug Hepburn style program and multiple singles, but changed to this for the past year or so. I pull once a week and change deadlift variations, reps and weight weekly.

There's my two cents. You can take it for what it's worth. Best of luck.


twiceborn: impressive numbers! thanks for the advice. So you basically just do warm ups and then max out every week?


Of course it depends on how long someones lower leg is. For me, a standard deadlift leaves the bar below the middle of my shin. And when I used to rack pull I did them from about 3-4 below the bottom of the knee cap. I was using the term 'mid shin' liberally and so was Yates as he didnt even set the bar down, he just did his reps with constant tension with the ROM ending somewhere below his knees.