T Nation

What's the Point of Rack Pulls?


#1

Hey guys -- I've been watching CT videos non-stop recently and I saw him make one of his trainees do a series of rack pulls before deadlifting. So my question is: what's the point of rack pulls? Why not just do deadlifts? Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer.


#2

Didn’t see the video and I’m not sure this an Olympic weightlifting question, but…

You could do this for a couple reasons that I can think of quickly.

Potentially ramp up the nervous system before going to a much more taxing lift per the extended range of motion.

Might be prefatiguing the most well leveraged portion of the lift so top and bottom would be at similar speeds/levels of control.

Personally, I agree with you and would likely find little value doing this for my own goals.


#3

Overloading a troublesome portion of the lift, including variety to keep interest high, Or including pulls from heights that an athlete can work from in they lack the necessary mobility to execute pulls correctly from the floor.


#4

Crap, sorry guys if this is in the wrong forum?.but I really appreciate the feedback. I just thought that maybe you all would have used them in your training and would therefore have better insight.


#5

Anything above 18" bar height is moot, because of lack of demand on any particular kinetic chain of movement. Maybe a good exercise to feel extremely heavy weights and to blow up your traps and stuff, but I don’t see how it’s going to help your deadlift.


#6

When deadlifting, after the bar passes your knees, you want to drive your hips through to finish the lift. Not over extend your back to finish the lift. The rack pull can shorten the deadlift motion, to really focus on the glute driven lockout. Then, when you go on to the full deadlift you pull the bar past your knees and WHAM your hips drive through, almost “automatically.”

If you injure your hamstring you can do partial deadlifts, with the rack set to whatever height you can comfortably lift from.

If you start above your knees you can really overload your upper back and traps.

For lots of guys, what you can pull from mid-shin, you can pull from the floor. Only pulling from mid-shin saves a little wear and tear on the back.

When you’re new to lifting, and you don’t know the difference between rounding your back and arching your back, or how to really set up to pull, rack pulls can be an easier way to learn.

The key to carry over from rack pulls to deadlifts is to make them “feel” like deadlifts. Set up the same, don’t make the rack pull into its own unique lift where you just jamb your knees under and hitch the bar up.


#7

I was always under the impression that one would do Rack Pulls to train the top half of the movement if locking out was a difficulty for the trainee. Similarly to the idea of partial presses. I personally think Rack Pulls serve as a great overloading movement for the upper back, trapezius muscles.

On back days where my lower back is still tight/sore from squatting that week, I substitute full deadlifts for rack pulls. Seems to help in overall back thickness, while taking the strain away from my legs/lower back.


#8

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
When deadlifting, after the bar passes your knees, you want to drive your hips through to finish the lift. Not over extend your back to finish the lift. The rack pull can shorten the deadlift motion, to really focus on the glute driven lockout. Then, when you go on to the full deadlift you pull the bar past your knees and WHAM your hips drive through, almost “automatically.”

If you injure your hamstring you can do partial deadlifts, with the rack set to whatever height you can comfortably lift from.

If you start above your knees you can really overload your upper back and traps.

For lots of guys, what you can pull from mid-shin, you can pull from the floor. Only pulling from mid-shin saves a little wear and tear on the back.

When you’re new to lifting, and you don’t know the difference between rounding your back and arching your back, or how to really set up to pull, rack pulls can be an easier way to learn.

The key to carry over from rack pulls to deadlifts is to make them “feel” like deadlifts. Set up the same, don’t make the rack pull into its own unique lift where you just jamb your knees under and hitch the bar up.[/quote]

This is just awesomeâ?¦okay, it makes a lot more sense now.


#9

In addition to what was already said rack pulls are not nearly as taxing on the central nervous system. If I go for a deadlift pr I am going to need at least two weeks to recover. If I get a rack pull pr I can potentially do it again in a week. It also feels awesome to do the kind of weight one can do with rack pulls. IF you lower the rack pulls and get closer to the floor eventually when you get to the floor you should be able to do more than you could before you were doing rack pulls. I might do them from 22 inches one week and get up to 650 and then from 18 inches and do up to 525, then from 14 485, and then from the floor break a record of 455.