What Are Rack Pulls?

Rack pulls is a bodybuilding exercise that boosts your pulling strength and builds strong muscles in the back. There can be many ways of lifting weights. The conventional deadlift is probably the most famous way of lifting weight. The rack pull exercise is also a method of pulling weight with a slightly different set of benefits than a conventional deadlift. 
If you are planning to add strength training to your workout then barbell rack pull is a good place to start. Beginners often find it hard to start with a deadlift. Since rack deadlift is relatively easier than a traditional deadlift, you can begin your strength-building journey with it. 

Benefits Of The Rack Pull Exercise

Down below, we have curated a list of the most important rack pulls benefits:

  • Increases Your Pulling Strength: Be it high rack pulls or low rack pull, the exercise is going to increase your pulling strength. By practising the right rack pull form regularly, you will improve your traditional deadlift too. You can easily hone in on the lockout part of the traditional deadlift by lifting more weight through rack pulls.
  • Reduces The Stress On Your Lower Back: In the high rack pulls, you pull the weight from a vertical position. This puts less pressure on your lower back. If you think that other exercises in your strength training workout are putting too much stress on your lower back, you can do rack pulls lower back on alternative days to reduce the stress.¬†
  • Develops Your Trapezius Muscles And Back: When you increase the load while practising low rack pull, what you essentially do is target the upper back muscles. Whether you want the aesthetic appeal of large traps or you want to increase your strength, rack pull form is going to benefit you a lot.¬†
  • Increases Your Grip Strength: Thanks to the partial range of motion, rack pulls lower back can make you lift more weights than deadlift and hence increase your grip strength. Again, this will prepare you for intense deadlifts in the future.¬†

Muscles Worked By The Rack Pull Exercise

Rack pull downs and ups engage a lot of major muscle groups of your body. In fact, since this exercise burns so many calories and builds lean muscles, it is also counted as a weight loss exercise. Here is a list of the major muscle groups targeted by rack pulls for back:

  • Glutes: The high loading in rack pull downs and the partial range of motions help in engaging your glutes (hips).¬†
  • Hamstrings: Dumbbell rack pulls do not fully engage the hamstrings as it does with glutes but it still does a good job if you lower down the starting height of the weight.¬†
  • Quadriceps: To fully lock out the knees while doing barbell rack pull, you have to engage your quadriceps. When you keep the depth of weight pulled low, rack pull deadlift helps you in engaging your quadriceps.¬†
  • Lower Back Muscles: When hip flexion is less in a strength exercise, it leads to a reduction in the lower back stress. So, you can do a rack deadlift to actually recover your lower back muscle from strenuous exercises.¬†
  • Trapezius and Back Muscles: The more you increase the weight in dumbbell rack pulls, the more you are going to increase the strength of your trapezius and back muscles.¬†

How to Do the Rack Pull: A Step-by-step Guide

Before you start the exercise, set your rack height according to your body. Ask your gym trainer if you are not sure about how to calculate the height of the rack according to your body. Now, without further ado, here is a step-by-step on how to do rack pull the right way:

  • Place the rack pull barbell on a rack and weight plates to it. You can also choose dumbbells if you want to do dumbbell rack pull.¬†
  • Stand in front of the barbell, bend the knees, and grab the barbell with both your hands.¬†
  • You can either hold the bar overhand or mix, according to your comfort.¬†
  • Breathe in and start lifting the barbell. As you lift the barbell, put pressure on the ground through your heels.¬†
  • Pull the barbell back and up. While pulling the barbell, you also have to pull your shoulder until you reach the lockout position.¬†
  • Hold the barbell at the top position and then return it to the rack.¬†
  • For putting the barbell back, bend your knees and lower down your torso.¬†

Precautions And Safety Points For The Rack Pulls

Although you need to be careful with every exercise, strength exercises demand extra precision and precaution. Here is a list of some safety points you need to keep in mind while doing the workout at home:

  • Always maintain a neutral posture in the rack pulls workout to keep your spine neutral. Otherwise, you will hyperextend your back during the lockout part of the exercises.¬†
  • Never jerk the weight off while practising the rack pull deadlift or you might end up injuring your legs.¬†
  • Do not use your fingers to hold the weight. Grip the weight deep in the palm to ensure that it does not drop down on the floor.¬†
  • Take extra care not to touch your knees when you put the weight back on the rack.¬†
  • Never make big jumps in your rack pulls workout by increasing the weight of the rack pull barbell or the dumbbell.¬†
  • Never fully drop the barbells on the supports or you might damage both the rack and the barbell after doing rack pulls for back.
  • When coming down from a top position, put an extra effort to control the motion of the weight.¬†

Rack Pulls: The Conclusion

Rack pulls benefits are known to almost every gym-goer. What most people lack is the determination to stick to the strength workout routine. If you think that deadlift is too intense for you, you do not need to leave your strength workout altogether. Rack pull will help you stick to the routine with its low impact but a high number of benefits.

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December 31, 2021

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