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Old 07-13-2008, 11:18 PM   #1
Alex Bond
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Programming in Rack Pulls

Hey guys -

So, I've been deadlifting a lot lately, and my 1RM max has gone from 315 to 375 (just over 2xBW) in just under two months. I'm noticing that the most difficult part of the pull for me is the final bit of hip extension, once the bar is past the knees, and combined with the CNS beatdown of deadlifting heavy often, I was thinking of working in some rack pulls to work on closing out the lift.

I'm doing an MEBB program, with a strength-metcon-strength-rest schedule, using deadlifting on the 3rd day of the cycle, and i was wondering how best to program in rack pulls. I was thinking of just alternating between deadlifts and rack pulls for a while and seeing how that goes? What should I look for in terms of set/rep schemes? I try to only do one hard work set of DLs per session because of the intensity - does that apply to rack pulls too, or should I really go nuts with them? Since I was mostly planning on trying to improve my 1RM, should I be doing singles on the rack pulls, or do some higher rep sets (maybe a 3-3-1-1 at increasing weight)?

Thanks for any advice you can give!
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Old 07-14-2008, 04:17 AM   #2
Leonid Soubbotine
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

Joey Powell recommended doing Glute Ham Raises to strengthen the top of the pull - and that really helped a lot to get my DL up!
The bonus is that you don't kill the grip or overload the lower back.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:48 AM   #3
Keenan Lightner
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

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Originally Posted by Leonid Soubbotine View Post
Joey Powell recommended doing Glute Ham Raises to strengthen the top of the pull - and that really helped a lot to get my DL up!
The bonus is that you don't kill the grip or overload the lower back.
What kind of set/rep scheme (I'm assuming they are weighted) to have the greatest carryover to the DL?
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:16 AM   #4
Leonid Soubbotine
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

I did a bunch of them just for warmup

3x5-10 usually just bodyweight, sometimes 25lbs plate, sometimes Blue Woody band. Used to stall with 400 lbs and up right above the knee, just did 473 and it was fine. Not quick but no stalling either.
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Old 07-14-2008, 04:34 PM   #5
Jacob Cloud
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

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Originally Posted by Alex Bond View Post
Hey guys -

So, I've been deadlifting a lot lately, and my 1RM max has gone from 315 to 375 (just over 2xBW) in just under two months. I'm noticing that the most difficult part of the pull for me is the final bit of hip extension, once the bar is past the knees, and combined with the CNS beatdown of deadlifting heavy often, I was thinking of working in some rack pulls to work on closing out the lift.

I'm doing an MEBB program, with a strength-metcon-strength-rest schedule, using deadlifting on the 3rd day of the cycle, and i was wondering how best to program in rack pulls. I was thinking of just alternating between deadlifts and rack pulls for a while and seeing how that goes? What should I look for in terms of set/rep schemes? I try to only do one hard work set of DLs per session because of the intensity - does that apply to rack pulls too, or should I really go nuts with them? Since I was mostly planning on trying to improve my 1RM, should I be doing singles on the rack pulls, or do some higher rep sets (maybe a 3-3-1-1 at increasing weight)?

Thanks for any advice you can give!
Where in Seattle do you workout? I've never seen anyone in my gym do rack pulls and can only imagine the response if I did...awesome.

I think the alternating method should work if your current schedule is working for you but you're just looking to hit the sticking point. I'd stick to very heavy weights and keep your work similar to the DLs. Rip mentions in SS that sets of 5 work well for rack pulls, and that they "just plain murder the lumbar erectors." If anything you might end up doing either/or once a week if your recovery isn't getting it done. I've gone to DL'ing once a week but haven't introduced any assistance for them...yet.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:06 PM   #6
Veronica Davis
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

FWIW... I'm currently following a powerlifting cycle. Monday is DL Days. I typically do Rack Pulls every 4 weeks. So I don't tax the lower back, I typically use a lighter weight (about 15-20 lbs less than I would for DL) and a slightly higher rep scheme (5-8 reps).
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:07 PM   #7
Alex Bond
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Re: Programming in Rack Pulls

Thanks for the advice, guys. I think I'll try the alternating DL-rack pull idea, and I'll try a 5-3-1 rep scheme on the rack pulls to start with, with 5 rep warm-up sets. I'll also try some glute-ham raises on top of that. Unfortunately, my gym doesn't have a reverse hyper bench, which I've heard is also great. I also might try alternating 3 rep DLs, 1 rep DLs, and rack pulls, if I can't stand to go so long without deadlifting so often. Laugh if you want, but it's a serious issue for me - I just love to deadlift.

I'm also considering the possibility that it's a form issue - that I'm opening my hips too quickly, so the last couple inches of the lift have to be done by the back straightening alone. Maybe rack pulls are what I need to do to solve that form issue.

Jacob, I'm a University of Washington student, so I workout in the college gym (IMA). There's one or two guys who do the WOD every day, about a dozen legitimate powerlifters (couple of guys bench close to 500 in t-shirts), and hundreds of the bench-and-bicep types. They get in the way, but there's plenty of power racks, and nobody ever gives you a bad time about overhead Oly lifts or anything. It's certainly better than a Gold's, but it's no Crossfit gym - no rings, kettlebells, etc.
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