T Nation

Rack Pulls

Quick question…

When I do rack pulls (from various heights), I generally have a good deal of bend in my legs. I’m careful not to turn it into a “fake rack pull” or squatting motion, but I wonder if I should have my legs closer to straight. I end up using leg drive to get the bar up. I pull sumo style, and my legs generally lock out with the bar just around my knee, so I want to work on my back strength and lockout from that point.

Also, when I do rack pulls, I take a foot stance that’s similar to my sumo stance. Is this a good thing, or should I just forget it and take a regular stance?

Anyone have anything good/bad/rude to say?

How low in the rack are you pulling from? I tried rack pulls several different times in my training cylces for deads and I found out that they didnt really do anything for me. I went 1.5-2 inches below the knees at the lowest. I thought that the heavy weight would help for lockout and my suit would help from the floor.The floor was my weakness, so I found out and just replaced them with good mornings.

I also pull conventional and arent quite sure how they would help someone who pulls sumo.How do you use them in your training?

I do rack pulls from just below my knee to limit the amount of invovlement from my legs. The main movers in rack pulls are my upper back muscles. This is a great strength builder for upper back as long as you don’t involve too much leg.
I use the same foot placement as I do for regular deads as well as same hand placement. I also use good mornings and romanian deads to help with the bottom portion of regular dead lifts.

When you do rack pulls you want to duplicate the “full lift position” than you should be in at that particular point in the range of motion.

Here’s a quote from my “Deadlift Diagnosis” article:

Rack pulls can be extremely helpful in terms of the upper back strength thickness that we desire in this instance. However, many lifters find that their carryover to improving lockout strength is minimal at best. The main problem is body position. The set-up for a rack pull doesn’t exactly replicate the joint angles that occur in mid-pull.

For instance, when I missed a third attempt at my last meet, the bar stalled an inch short of lockout. At the time, I was able to do six reps on rack pulls with 85 pounds more than that attempt. It shouldn’t have been a limiting factor, as the rack pull is done from a dead stop. Essentially, the movement winds up turning into a quarter squat rather than the completion of a deadlift, as trainees begin the movement with a near-upright torso and simply extend the knees (without much concern for the hips).

Summarily, if you’re seeing progress on your deadlift poundages from using the rack pull, it’s likely because these pulls are strengthening your upper back, not because they’re directly training the lockout (which they aren’t). In the aforementioned meet example, my upper back had plenty of strength; it was my glutes that failed me at lockout. Getting the torso out over the bar and focusing on simultaneous hip and knee extension enables you to attain greater specificity.[/quote]