I saw a video yesterday from another forum where this guy rack pulled 625, and his current best deadlift is 515. I was amazed that he was able to pull over 100 more lbs. on the rack (at knee height) then from the ground.
I decided I'd give them a shot for the first time ever yesterday. My current best deadlift is 420 lbs. Well, yesterday I decided to go for a heavy single after my normal deadlift workout:
135 x 5
225 x 3
315 x 1
405 x 3 - pretty easy for me.
Then I loaded the bar with 5 plates, which is 495. It wouldn't even budge, and in fact I just didn't feel like I had the mechanical advantage that I do in a regular deadlift due to the lack of leg drive.
So I tried reducing it to 455 lbs....again nothing at all. Now, this wasn't even like I felt as if I gave it my 100% effort to pull from the pins. No, this felt like I probably would struggle with 315 even because I felt much much weaker without my legs being involved.
So this make me wonder, am I doing something wrong? Because I always thought rack pulls were supposed to be somewhat easier then deadlifts. I've attempted deadlifts off the ground before that were too heavy for me to budge, but I felt as if I gave it a much better effort then from the pins at least.
well if you have never done them before its probably not best to expect amazing results. the height at which you pull from and your body proportions can determine how much easier/harder it is for you to do compared to deads off the floor
personally, i could always rack pull from below the knee more than i could DL. however, they also have virtually no carryover to floor deadlifts for me so i never do them
Powerlifting Kenny Powers style
Different people at different heights have different leverages, so a certain height might be harder than a full range dead. For me, I've practiced my full range deadlift form so much I feel much more comfortable doing full range than rack pulls.
Do pulls with bands instead. Harder to setup? Yes. But your form stays the same, and you don't have to worry about different PR's at different pin heights. You pretty much get the advantage of pulling from all the pins.
Lou talks about this a lot
EDIT: Also, if you haven't done them much in the past, you might just not be used to them. The need for a stronger grip, the heavier weight, the need to strain to get the weight off the pins.
Last edited by Lones Green; 06-16-2009 at 11:19 AM.
Also depends on *how* you rack pull. Many guys don't have nearly the same motion as their regular pull allowing them to pull more weight. I don't think this is any help for the regular pull
I deadlift less with the plates on boxes. I asked Louie about this at a seminar. He said it meant my lower back was weak. Increasing my lower back training has helped a lot. My deadlift off boxes is improving (+70 lbs) and so is my comp deadlift (+27 lbs). A 6" box seems to be where I'm weakest and generate the least power.
the reason ppl dl with different variations is to attack weaknesses....in one variation if your really good at it...you prolly dont need to do it to often...if you find one you really suck at...you should prolly do it more...like for me a pin 4 rack pull...i really suck at it....in january i pulled 705...a few weeks before it i pulled 645 from that pin....so dont worry about I should beable to do alot more from so and so height...just find where your weak...then tear it up
I'm weaker at rack pulls too, probably because I never do them. Try block pulls (elevating the plates on mats/blocks) or pulling against bands like Lones suggested, they just feel more natural and you get the flex of the bar instead of just dead weight off the pins (if that makes sense).
My Training Log
You want science and studies? **** you. I've got scars and blood and vomit. - Jim Wendler
I can hit my max deadlift from the ground for 5-6 reps if I put it on a rack at knee height. Funny thing is my sticking point on the deadlift is the lockout. The positioning is so much different. I think they are usefull for building up your grip + traps + upperback but they don't directly carryover.
960/530/749 @ 242
903/524/738 @ 220
Yes, all these replies do make sense. I thought I was just doing them wrong, but I guess it's because I'm just not used to them. I was a little upset, because I would have been happy as hell walking out of the gym yesterday knowing that I held 495 lbs. in my hands.
Honestly I was only planning on starting to do them to help my deadlift, but I will look into some of the other methods instead.
Don't worry too much about the weight though. My best deadlift is 551 and my best rack pull is only 600 from the knees. Percentage wise, thats probably very similar to what you're getting.
Stats: 11/15/07-First-meet--2nd Meet----3rd meet
Max Bench: 255---220-----------280------300
Max Squat: 405----395----------440------460
CHINUPS - Bodyweight + 135, x1, dead hang. Still working on the one arm chinup.
Goal = IM 70.3 Racine 2010 (Sub 5 hour)
Ya, I'd have to figure out how to program them in though. Right now I do deads every 4th training day (bench day, squat day, oh day, and dead day), and I just figured I'd use my regular deadlift progression as a warm up to a heavy single on a rack pull. Maybe I'll give them another shot on next dead day, or maybe I'll even chuck them on another day.
I can pull less weight from the racks than I can pull off the floor, my weakness is right between mid-shin and the knee so I pull from below that point to build up my strength. I do nothing but rackpulls (or variations, throw in bands, chains, etc.) 90% of the time.
I always used rack pulls to focus on my back, above the knee hit my upper back most and at knee and below i hit my lower back alot so I don't necessarily do rack pulls to help with deads but I do use them as a compound exercise to strengthen my back which helps me lock out and working my lower back definitely helps me get heavier weights off the floor as i proceed to the lock out.
P.S. I usually do rack pulls on deadlift days and my hands hurt so much I usually only rack pull 80% or so of my deadlift.
Last edited by dynamo; 06-16-2009 at 08:11 PM.
400(335) Bench Press
600(520x3 2xBW) Dead Lift
500(495x1) ATG Squat
365 Front Squat
consistency and intensity.
I agree with Nick W i am weaker off the rack then i am off the floor everyones height leverages are differnt i seen guys pull 600+ out of the rack but have trouble with 500 + off the floor then you got guys like me who can pull heavy off the floor but i pull less out of the rack so its mostly leverages strong,weak points etc..
I'd agree with LonesXedge that using bands to deadlift is a more productive alternative to rack pulls for improving your deadlift. I only do them occasionally but even doing them once in a while has helped my speed off the floor. I use the green bands on the jumpstretch platform and you really have to drive the weight up fast and hard from the floor to finish against the doubled bands. They carry over to the DL very well, while I've never gotten much help from rack pulls. But, everyone's different.
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