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Thread: NEWSLETTER ARTICLE - Invert for More Back Activation: Rack Pulls

  1. #1
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    Dec 2000
    Cambridge, England

    NEWSLETTER ARTICLE - Invert for More Back Activation: Rack Pulls

    by Brad Borland

    Have you toiled away at rows and lat pulldowns for years with little to show for them but a sore lower back and underdeveloped lats? The inverted rack pull (sometimes known as rack chins) may be the secret to your back-building arsenal you have been searching for all these years. With a little set-up at your local gym or even at home, you can be on your way to a more effective method of developing your back.

    Want proof? Recent research has found that the rack pull can activate the muscles of the back up to 60% more than the traditional barbell row! AND you save your lower back from strain and possible injury. Now, I am not suggesting you ditch all bent-over row movements from your current program, however, I will advise you include this move into your present routine. Additionally, you can perform this move at the beginning of your back day so you can lessen the strain on bent-over exercises later in the program.

    The how to:

    The best place to perform this move would be in a squat rack or Smith machine. Just be sure that the bar is locked into place securely.

    1. Set the bar about waist-high in the rack. (As you gain strength and as the bar is lowered this move becomes increasingly more difficult).

    2. Position yourself under the bar facing the ceiling. Grasp the bar about six or so inches wider than shoulder-width with an overhand grip.

    3. With your heels on the floor and your body remaining in a straight line, pull your chest up to the bar just below your pec line. Pause and return to the start.

    For the beginner, attempting these with the bar set high will be best. As you gain strength, lower the bar closer to the floor while maintaining a full range of motion. The next step would be to place your heels on a bench to add to the difficulty. And finally, by adding weight to your lap or stomach will turn this once scoffed at exercise into one heavy-duty back-builder!

    3-5 sets of 8-15 reps should provide enough volume to add to your current routine.

    Train smart.


    This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - August 20th, 2010

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  2. #2
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    A great exercise for those not yet strong enough for chin-ups.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member IronDiggy's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Alberta, Canada
    Also great for the shoulders I fine. It relieves a lot of stiffness and pain from bench days.
    Best unequipped meet lifts - 120kg Open class
    Sq: 629lbs
    Bp: 330lbs
    Dl: 585lbs
    Training since Dec 2008.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tnathletics2b's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    Only good use for a Smith Machine I have ever seen.
    Most people pray for a lighter load in life...ever thought of praying for a stronger back?

    Goals as of 2/08/11 (current) goal:
    Squat: (505) 535, Deadlift: (475) 500, Bench: (325) 350 Total: 1305 (1385)
    BW: 225 as of 02/01/2011 Goal: 205 by May 1, 2011

  5. #5
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Better known as "Fat Man Pullups."

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