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Mr.Silverback 04-15-2012 09:30 PM

Rack pulls
Pretty sure we all have done them or seen folks done them, what i want to know is YOUR opinion on them: overrated or underrated?

Reason I ask is because recently I was able to pull 700 at knee level for several reps, never done that much before but my sticking point is around knee level so i believe these may help out. But just want to hear others input.

Silverback Barbell

gaspers04 04-15-2012 09:32 PM

Im not much of a deadlifter but it sounds reasonable big fella. I do enjoy them, a chance to overload.

Disciple X 04-15-2012 10:00 PM

I think they're a great exercise, but they dont mimic the top part of a deadlift. You're probably going to be a lot more bent over doing a pull from the floor than you will set up doing a rack pull. My experience anyway... i think they're a great exercise, just dont feel they really build actual deadlift lockout power that much...

Disciple X 04-15-2012 10:01 PM

But you deadlift more than me :)

BendtheBar 04-15-2012 10:31 PM

Rack pulls at knee, or above the knee never carry over much for me. I've spent a lot of time with them, giving them long runs, and the return on investment was little to none. I think at that level I've experienced great rewards from doing heavy power shrugs than high rack deads. Mileage may vary of course, as this is just my experience.

On the other hand low rack deads have been gold for me. Using them about 4 inches off the ground has been paying off, and in addition, they are easier on my body than floor pulls. This last point is a big one for me. I am still experimenting with them, but with how well they are working for me right now, I plan on giving them a long, hard run the next year.

In the past 5 years 99% of my rack pulls were either a hair below knee or higher. So low rack deads are still a new venture.

The more I analyze the deadlift, though I am far from an expert, the more I notice that most people are strong off the floor. If you ask me man to man away from forums I would tell you I am not a fan of deficit pulls for this reason. Certainly they are beneficial, and can be beneficial, but I am starting to believe that a deadlifter's time might be better spent pulling low rack deads a few inches off the floor.

I hate to generalize, and that's not my intention here. Merely saying I think low racks should be given a good run.

5kgLifter 04-16-2012 05:09 PM

I like rack pulls purely because they permit me to pull heavier weight than in the deadlift, so they allow me to get the feel of the heavier weightload and my grip in relation to that load, even if only at the top end of a deadlift set-up.

LtL 04-16-2012 05:37 PM

Gonna try some low rack pulls tomorrow night. Let's see what happens.


Off Road 04-16-2012 05:47 PM

I miss ALL my pulls off the floor, but that's due to an injury more than a weakness. My injury cannot take the low position.

I use a lot of rack pulls, but prefer pulling off blocks for several reasons. The two main reasons are: pulling off blocks feels more like a traditional pull and pulling off blocks doesn't bend bars.

Hazzard 04-16-2012 05:52 PM

I enjoy doing them as they overload the CNS and strengthen the lower back and traps. But I've never really experienced any direct carryover to the deadlift itself. Don't really do them that often though, so who knows.

Fazc 04-16-2012 06:34 PM


Originally Posted by Mr.Silverback (Post 233381)
Reason I ask is because recently I was able to pull 700 at knee level for several reps, never done that much before but my sticking point is around knee level so i believe these may help out. But just want to hear others input.

SB. I think if your sticking point is at knee level you really need to be doing rack pulls from *below* knee level. The reason being is that you have to distinguish between the point at which the bar slows down and the point it actually stops... they are two different things. The point at which the bar slows down is your actual sticking point *not* the point where it actually stops.

For me and a lot of people, rack pulls below the knees are the ones which have the greatest relationship to my actual pull. For the reasons stated above.


One decent way to incorporate rack pulls of different heights is to use one height to strengthen another and then work down. For example:

1) Over the course of a month or two build up to 300kg above the knee - 21inch height for example.
2) Over the next couple months lower the height and build back up to 300kg at knee level - 18inch height for example.

- At this point you still might not see a massive increase from the floor.

3) Final stage is to lower the height again and build up to 300kg below the knee, in the low rack position. - 12-15inch height for example

That should increase your pull quite a bit. This is pretty much all I was consistent with prior to my last Meet and netted me the 260kg pull. I do a similar thing with Partial Squats and it works really well.

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