T Nation

Rack Pulls Not Helping?


I recently tried rack pulls, in the hope of using 20kg (44lb) more than my current max in terms of weight. The goal was to use this for some reps, slowly working the bar down the rack until it's touching the ground. This would give me a new max of 4 plates or 180kg, work out the rest if it's important.

However, I was training with my friend who's shorter than me by about 15cm (5-6")
This meant that the rack was set for his Vastus Medialis height and one pin too low for me.

In short, I couldn't lift any more weight using rack pulls. Very disappointed, I was looking forward to playing with some bigger weights than before.
I don't believe this could be because it was one pin too low, is there anything else that may be an issue/has anyone else had this happen to them?

Thanks guys


Why not keep using a Deadlift but instead of plates use chains for extra weight. Using chains means the weight will be lighter at the bottom and gradually get heavier as you go through the full range of motion as the chains unravel off the ground.
If your gym doesn't have chains you can always suggest they get them, worst they can say is no, if you train at home they'd make a relatively inexpensive addition to your equipment


I don't know what "one pin too low" for you means, as I don't know either what you were looking for or what the height difference is in pins, but that is not the main point.

Just because RIGHT NOW you are not stronger at a height at which lifters ordinarily are stronger than they are off the floor, does not mean you would be wasting your time TRAINING it.


So are you trying to pull more weight or work on your lockout? Rack pulls help my lock out with setting the pins at or right below my knees and doing 4-5 sets of 10. Pulling more weight I would defiantly use chains or bands. Try standing on a few plates and pull from a deficit. That will help with speed off the ground as well.

With rack pulls I would suggest using straps, that movement seems to put some pressure of the bicep without them.


I know at my gym "1 pin" is about 2-3" with one of our racks. And if that range is right at/around your transition area then it would make it pretty difficult to start the pull at that point.

You could tell your friend that your going to train with it at YOUR height and suggest he stand on a box or some 45lb plates to make up the distance.


there's a huge misconception that you can always use more weight on a partial movement than on a full range of motion one. this is especially true of deadlifting. i find that many of the people that i've worked with are weaker pulling from an elevation in the shin area. but if they pull from an elevation around the knee or higher, they are much stronger than their full ROM pull.

the reason for this is that during a full ROM pull, you create momentum as you pull from the floor that will take you through that sticking point. when pulling from a dead stop at that midshin level you have no momentum, therefore, you can't lift as much. once you pass the knee level and transition to getting the hips through at knee level, the strength increases drastically.

knowing this, i uses two types of elevated pulls- 1. right at knee level, to work lockout power and to use supramaximal weight. 2. to train a sticking point (for most people, somewhere along the shin), using submaximal weight.


Meat hit it dead on.

I pull 655 raw standing on a 2 inch block
I've pulled 720 in meet with a suit and plenty of meet-platform adrenaline
I've pulled 900 (with straps) in a rack from just above my knees
But I missed 635 pulling from the top of my shins a couple months back (3 fucking times- never got it)

High-shin is a tough startign postition.


+1 to both pinto and meat




Agreed. I am the weakest when I pull with the bar set to just below the knee.


Enough said


Alright thanks guys that helps heaps. I'll be sure to stick to above knee rack pulls (my friend can stand on a plate) and include deadlifts from a defecit in my training. Chains may be out of the question for now but I'll have some when I train at home in a year or so.
Thanks again to all who replied. I'll post back when I hit 5 plates sometime in the months/years to come.


Pretty much. I know for me personally, I can pull more from 2.5" blocks than from 4" blocks.