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Rack Pulls - less weight than deadlift.

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  • Rack Pulls - less weight than deadlift.

    Ok so i was messing around a bit in the gym this morning, with rack pulls. the rack i was using only has one height, the bar for me is about half inch/inch under my knee.

    So i worked up to pulling a weight i know i can get 5 good reps out with a full deadlift but.......i could hardly get 3 reps.

    Any opinions on the cause? bad day? not use to rack pulls? bar is at the exact height of a sticking point for me?

    im only asking as i was always of the opinion you should be able to rack pull more than you can deadlift.

    cheers guys.

  • #2
    going through other posts on this topic, i found this comment from someone:
    I'm 6'1 with long legs in relation to my torso, and even with light weights on warm-ups, below the knee aggravates my lower back to no end, so one notch up from there places them right at the top of my knee, maybe a half-inch above. That little bit makes all the difference for me. No pain whatsoever.
    i do feel it in my lower back pretty much no matter what the weight. is the above the correct action to take, or is it simply a case of having a weak lower back which needs strengthening?

    oh 6'5"
    Last edited by height_11; 07-11-2012, 05:56 AM.


    • #3
      i guess i could put the bar on the next level up and stand on a step, this might put the bar ever so slightly above the knee. (thinking outloud here sorry)


      • #4
        It's very possible to pull more than you rack DL. You might DL primarily with your lower body and a rack pull Is taking most of that out. You might also have a weak lockout and that's exactly where you could be starting from. If its hurting your back you might not have the bar close to your body or your just in a bad


        • #5
          You say you were "messing around a bit...with rack pulls", so my first question would be: do you perform them often? Or was this the first time? If the first, then that could be your answer: you are just not used to the movement. Also, as Ross mentioned, you are taking out most leg/hip drive that you get from full deads, so if it is a movement you are not used to, or your back is a limfac, then that could be the reason as well...

          I would suggest ensuring your form is good to go, then just practice more. When I was rack pulling with consistency, my weight went up faster than it did with regular deads...


          • #6
            When I rack dead I go from just above my knee as well. I am 6'4 and my legs are very long. Below the knee for me is WAAAY too much lower back. Raising it to just above the knee really took the emphasis off the lower back (at least it feels that way) and allowed me to go up in weight with no pain....



            • #7
              If you're doing rack deads to help your deadlift and not just rack dead more make sure that you're doing the movement as a hip hinge (which will put a lot of stress on the ol low back) and not squatting under the bar. You can't really do it as a squat when it's below the knee and i've learned over the years if you stink at something you should probably do more of it.

              FYI I rack dead less than I can deadlift.


              • #8
                just an update on this, today i had another attempt at rack pulls, pulled from slightly above the knee and it felt A LOT better, minimal lower back strain and really felt it all over my upper back.

                annoyingly, because the rack i use is pretty poorly designed, the gaps between the different levels are huge. so i had to put a step in the rack and stand on that.

                how much weight can these steps take?! its one of the 'old skool' reebok steps:

                so apparently its 200kg.....oops. so if i was to have two steps (each foot on a different step), that means the weight would be split right? so if i was doing 150kg pulls, with my weight (150+90=240) that would only be 120 each step?
                Last edited by height_11; 07-16-2012, 05:19 AM.


                • #9
                  Stand on plates, or make something yourself out of 2x10s or 2x12s and bring it to the gym. Ask if you can leave it there, or else its a pain in the ass to bring it each time. IF you do make something, put some of that anti-slip material on it just for safety sake.
                  Lets get serious. Lets get ugly. Beat the logbook - Gollum
                  BEAT YOUR FREAKING LOGBOOK! That's what you should be worrying about - DC

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                  • #10
                    i'm 6'3" bro and I think i know your problem. when I deadift i definately try to keep the bar as close to my legs as possible on the way up. when I first did rack pulls i was surprised to find the same thing as you, i could lift as much.

                    i figured out that you have to keep your chest up and out(as you should with deadlifts) and for me to do this I litterally have to just about slide the bar up my thighs on the concentric part of the lift. keep that bar close. works well on a smith machine to. when I did it like this i was reping my deadlift weight all day


                    • #11
                      Just gotta keep poundin'

                      I am new to rack pulls also

                      My gym rack does not go down very low on the last notch

                      So i usually just stand on the guy who made me wait 20 minutes for the rack while he did 10 sets of barbell curls hogging up the rack in between his dumbbell lunges also done inside the cage...��
                      Just kidding...all equipment at the gym is there for all people all the time so we all patiently wait our turn��
                      I train Dogg Crapp. When not training DC ... sometimes I train arms 3x to 5x per week. Sometimes I train 'modified dogg crapp' which includes an 'arms only' day.