How High Should The Bar Be For Rack Pulls?
Most often, the bar for rack pulls is set just below the knees. This is the point in the deadlift movement where the load transitions from hamstrings to back. So it’s the best height to maximize the engagement of your back muscles.
You could go a little lower if you want to involve some hamstrings. But you shouldn’t go above the knee because then the range of motion is reduced to almost nothing.
Can You Do Rack Pulls On a Smith Machine?
Yes, you can do rack pulls on a smith machine if you don’t have access to a power rack. But this will change the exercise to some extent due to the guide rails.
On one hand, the guide rails inhibit the natural path of the bar from front to back. On the other hand, the rails reduce the need to stabilize the bar, and that can put more load on the major muscles.
What Is A Deficit Deadlift?
A deficit deadlift is another popular variation of the deadlift and it’s essentially the opposite of rack pulls. Instead of moving the bar up, you move your feet up. This is accomplished by standing on a sturdy platform or plate – usually 1 to 4 inches high.
With deficit deadlifts, you’re effectively increasing the range of motion by having a deeper starting point. This requires much more activation from the hamstrings and glutes. And it’s a good way to improve the first stage of your deadlift.
Are Rack Pulls Dangerous?
Rack pulls are generally safe as long as you use proper form. And the rack itself prevents you from being hurt if you drop the weight.
However, this is an exercise where the weights can get exceedingly heavy. So there is potential to over-exert yourself and strain your back or neck. Just make sure you gradually build up the load and avoid lifting a weight you can’t handle.
In addition, there is a greater risk of overtraining with heavy total-body exercises like rack pulls and deadlifts due to the huge strain on your nervous system. For that reason, make sure you give yourself enough time to recover between workouts.
How Often Should You Do Rack Pulls Or Deadlifts?
For injury prevention and to avoid overtraining, you should allow at least 72 hours of recovery between workouts involving rack pulls or deadlifts. Studies show this is the amount of time required for your nervous system to recover from the heavy load.