Barbell rack pull

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Erector Spinae
  • Synergists: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Adductor Magnus, Soleus,  Latissimus Dorsi, Wrist Flexors (the latter two only if you lift heavy)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Place a barbell on the safety pins of a power rack. The barbell should be just under knee height.
  2. Load the barbell.
  3. Stand with your legs almost touching the barbell, with your feet shoulder-width apart and pointing slightly outward.
  4. Grasp the barbell with a pronated (overhand) grip, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  5. Straighten your back, lower your hips and raise your head.

Execution

  1. Keeping your head up and your back and arms straight, exhale as you stand, push your hips forward and drag the barbell up the front of your legs until you are fully standing.
  2. At the top of the lift, squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders back.
  3. Inhale as you push your bottom backward and lower the barbell down the front of your legs to the safety pins in a controlled manner.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back straight, hips low, and head up.
  • Keep your knees and feet pointing in the same direction.
  • To optimize mechanical leverage, keep the barbell close to your body.
  • If lifting very heavy, hold your breath as you make the lift. This helps to stabilize your body.
  • If your grip starts to fail when lifting heavy, use wrist straps, grip hooks, or a mixed grip (one hand pronated, the other supinated).
  • The barbell rack pull is basically the barbell deadlift with the barbell raised off the floor. The exercise is great for developing body-wide strength and helping you to improve the middle and top portions of your deadlift. Since the barbell is raised off the floor, you can use more weight than you can with the deadlift, and there is less involvement of your legs.
  • Support your lower back with a weight belt when lifting very heavy.
  • As with the barbell deadlift, multiple muscles of your legs and core work to stabilize your body during the barbell rack pull. As always, in the image, I’ve only labeled the targets and synergists that are in view.

Barbell rack pull video

Sources

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