I keep meaning to ask this but I forget - I have tried and tried to do rack pulls, but I can never feel it anywhere except in my lower back. How do I do them correctly to make them hit the glutes and hams - do I just need to go down further? If I go down further I feel I am doing an RDL...
Key thing with rack pulls is to make sure your hips are back and shoulders over your knees. If someone is looking at you from the side then they ought to see a triangle formed with the three sides being your torso, your arms and your thighs.
back is in natural position, i.e. thoracic extended, lumbar with natural arch, scapula retracted and depressed. Feel the weight in your heels as you set up for the pull, brace your abs, tight grip and pull 'er on up. Make sure your hips and shoulders are moving at the same speed. Keep the weight close to the body, coming up the thighs and drive with forward with your hips. Remember, go after hip extensions and not hyper extension of lumbar area.
Many times when performing a dead lift or rack pull and one feels it in their low back it could be because the weight is too far out in front of the body or your just not sitting back enough to allow the glutes and hams to take over.
hope this helps
These are meant for your upper back really. As the other poster said, it could be that you have the weight too far in front of you. This throws off the mechanics of the move and will put undue stress on the low back.
Try this; when you pull the weight up and are at the top of the ROM, laterally rotate your scapula or pinch your upper back muscles for a second to squeeze them. This could help you feel it up there.
Thanks. I will try these tips next time I workout! How far down should the bar be at the starting position?
You can vary the height of the pins so that you start the pulls from different positions. Knee level, a couple inches below, a couple inches above etc.
I'd start with setting the pins so bar is at knee height, slightly higher so you aren't pulling over the knee. That's a good start position and will be a good one so you can get used to hip extension part of the 'dead lift' movement.
I like to get an extra wide grip on these and flex the hell out of my back at the top.