Stop Doing Rack Pulls Like This! (SAVE A FRIEND)

  • Published: 20 June 2019
  • If you’re thinking about adding rack pulls into your workout, be sure to check out this video before you do. If you’ve looked up the exercise online you’ve probably found video after of video of guys performing rack pulls. Generally you’ll see it done one of two ways, from a position slightly below the knee as an auxiliary lift to support the deadlift, or from a much higher position above the knee typically done to overload the traps and glutes.

    The latter version has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mostly for its ability to allow the athlete to load up the weight…a lot.

    When you’re using some of the largest, strongest muscles in the body for a such a short range of motion the weight can get really heavy, really fast. It’s not uncommon to see people doing rack pulls with upwards of two or three times their best deadlift. For someone with a meager deadlift that can still amount to 700-800 pounds. That’s significantly more weight than on any other exercise they’re likely performing, and therein lies the problem.

    For athletes who are eager to keep loading weight on the bar, it’s easy to fall into the trap of performing the exercise with rounded shoulders. When the weight gets that heavy it becomes difficult to keep the shoulder blades retracted and tight. What they don’t realize is that this compressed thoracic posture under tremendous load can set you up for thoracic outlet syndrome. While thoracic outlet syndrome is commonly seen in people with repetitive overhead motion, it can still occur by improperly performing an exercise such as the rack pull.

    Scapular retraction is often the weak link in this type of move, in order to accommodate the extra loads, the lifter will likely let their shoulders drop forward and hang down. This can cause the collar bone to rotate downward and put pressure on the delicate veins, arteries and nerves that are in the thoracic area.

    The result is pinching, stretching and unwanted downward traction on the Subclavian artery, Subclavian vein and Brachial Plexus an already long nerve which runs from the neck to the hands. Sufferers of thoracic outlet syndrome experience a number symptoms including muscle wasting in the fleshy base of your thumb, numbness or tingling in the arm or fingers, pain or ache in your neck, shoulder or hands as well as an overall weakening grip.

    The worst part is that these symptoms don’t occur instantly allowing the athlete to pin point the exact cause, but rather gradually, over time. Athletes often experience shoulder pain and attribute it to too much pressing in their workouts, not realizing the true cause.

    If you’re looking to build your traps, grip and posterior chain you’d be better off performing a traditional deadlift where the sticking points of the exercise will likely limit the weight to something that your body can handle. Faults in a deadlift are easy to spot and can be quickly corrected. If you want to supplement your deadlift with an exercise that allows you to overload more you could perform the rack pull below the knee.

    The greater range of motion prohibits you from making such huge weight jumps which will likely allow you to keep your shoulders back and stay in good upright position. Whichever you choose, be sure to engage the shoulder girdle, remain tight and hold strong posture.

    If you want more videos to help you to put the science back in strength, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on RUclip and turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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Comments • 1 705

    ATHLEAN-X™   6 months back

    *NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected WITHIN the first hour the video is published. So don't b*tch if you're not one of them :) Just try next time. Click the link to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

    If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…

    • ThePresentation010
      ThePresentation010  2 weeks back

      Tf is a rack pull. Why not do it first then talk bout it. Then do the correct way or exercise.

    • Hashib Mondal
      Hashib Mondal  5 months back

      Tips for alpha destiny

    • Mohamed Sherif
      Mohamed Sherif  5 months back

      i have got that numb pinky anything i could do to fix that ?

  • michaeljneve
    michaeljneve  2 days back

    hey jeff, under what conditions does a body eat its muscles for energy?

    • Patrick Murphy
      Patrick Murphy  2 weeks back

      Awesome stuff Jeff. can you see an advantage in these rack pulls using a fat grip ( fatgripz) to help with grip strength in crossover to things like faremrs walks etc etc?

      • Steve Parker
        Steve Parker  2 weeks back

        Knee height Rack pulls, a staple parta my back day workout, that's today actually.👍🏻💪🏼

        • SimonQutami
          SimonQutami  2 weeks back

          I do rack pull below the knee is that fine

          • Benjamin K
            Benjamin K  3 weeks back

            Lol what will shredded sports science gon say now? I bet that twink wont make a vdo disagreeing wit Jeff like how he did to Jason.... pathetic.

            • Zetsuke4
              Zetsuke4  1 months back


              • Zetsuke4
                Zetsuke4  1 months back

                Very good explanation. I love these!

                • edge21str
                  edge21str  1 months back

                  So just keep a good shoulder position?

                  • Allin Yapik
                    Allin Yapik  1 months back

                    Hello Jeff. Based on your professional experience, can you dedicate a video to brachial plexus trauma? why it happens and how to work it out? thanks!

                    • gatheringflamess1
                      gatheringflamess1  2 months back

                      Those nerves are a design flaw. The engineers must not have been thinking clearly when putting them there.

                      • Steve Hart
                        Steve Hart  2 months back

                        Too technical. Who cares just lift. This guy isn even big at all

                        • Red Nexican
                          Red Nexican  2 months back

                          What's the point of working the easiest part of the deadlift?
                          Must be for ego lifters...

                          • Vamavid
                            Vamavid  2 months back

                            I call bullshit.

                            He has seen this happen many times? Why is there no epidemic of this in 1000 pound rack pullers on social media?

                            Where are all the studies?

                            I happen to be an MD.

                            • MrGoluman99
                              MrGoluman99  2 months back

                              A Beginner in my mid 40's i started rack pulls after a lower l4-l5 disc herniation , as i thought it would allow me benefits of dead-lift without aggravating lower back.Now have symptoms of cervical radiculopathy (tingling ,numbness and loss of pec strength in left side.Wish i had seen this earlier,now at a loss to rehab myself.Jeff can you suggest any exercises,need your guidance please.

                              • Scubapekka
                                Scubapekka  3 months back

                                Dude, i may have injured myself years ago EXACTLY due to this.

                                I do have minor arm pain and occasional numbness in my arms and hands. But the worst is my neck health, where most of my frontal neck muscles in addition to the top of trapezius muscles are in a total jam.

                                I developed a serious sleeping problem with sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder. And i strongly believe this is connected to those issues, since i have started to rehab these areas and my sleeping has improved a ton leading to a dramatic decrease in daytime sleepiness and anxiety.

                                Final stretch for me is to find a good physical therapist and fix my posture and the rest of the nerve/muscle pinches.

                                Guys dont hurt yourselves!

                                • neenahnah
                                  neenahnah  3 months back

                                  Great rip! Thank you!

                                  • Annaelle Dauphas-Philip
                                    Annaelle Dauphas-Philip  3 months back

                                    Love when Raymond appears!
                                    I'm a PT student (third year), and this is really educationnal !
                                    Thank you very much ;)

                                    • Democrats are cunts
                                      Democrats are cunts  3 months back

                                      Just don't do rack pulls because they're fucking stupid and doing them makes you stupid.

                                      • scoopaway1
                                        scoopaway1  3 months back

                                        Good videos, but needs to get to the point faster.

                                        • BEARD KING
                                          BEARD KING  3 months back

                                          Oh that's not a trap. That's actually the trapesioudiousapiecious you train that by doing rows or bent over bilateral conjunctiouious contitious tug towards your body

                                          • BEARD KING
                                            BEARD KING  3 months back

                                            Man you lose me on every video. I try to learn some basic shit but this is like a college professor trying to show how much he knows

                                            • Rob Zilla
                                              Rob Zilla  3 months back

                                              It's all about Ray baby YEAAAA

                                              • Deivi Sanchez
                                                Deivi Sanchez  4 months back

                                                The scapula retraction... You won again power explosive... You won again...

                                                • Himanshu Singh
                                                  Himanshu Singh  4 months back

                                                  thanks @jeff.. i was going down the same path.. 👍

                                                  • me
                                                    me  4 months back

                                                    Just fucked up my shoulder from doing chest press on the machine version, definitely feels like what you just explained on the nerves

                                                    • Jared Cross
                                                      Jared Cross  4 months back

                                                      If you do Olympic lifting, could this also apply to block cleans?

                                                      • S B
                                                        S B  4 months back

                                                        Holy shit. Just very recently started workout again after recovering from multiple minor pain in various parts and muscles. Searched and this legend seemed trustworthy. First video. This. Now I know why my shoulders were kinda "folding" downwards. Correct posture feels much better to muscles too.

                                                        • Quentin Smith
                                                          Quentin Smith  4 months back

                                                          When I do pec decs or chest flies, by the end of my set my forearms and hands get tingly. What’s the issue, and what the fix? I feel like I’m using good form, please inform me, not tryna fuck myself up

                                                          • Armandas Ivanauskas
                                                            Armandas Ivanauskas  4 months back

                                                            Very informative video, thank you very much 🙂

                                                            • Bertim Timbert
                                                              Bertim Timbert  4 months back

                                                              I think that there is another Problem with the rackpulls: You initiate the movement with the lower back since there is almost no accelaration from leg Extension, hard Task for the lower back

                                                              • fatdepressedveg knight
                                                                fatdepressedveg knight  5 months back

                                                                silver era Steve Stanko weightlifter favorite exercise high deadlift/pull and use a lot in Olympic teams

                                                                as shown by Golden Era Bookworm


                                                                • North Douglas
                                                                  North Douglas  5 months back

                                                                  IF I CAN’T GRIP IT I DON’T LIFT IT

                                                                  THANKS FATHER
                                                                  TO ME YOU ARE MARS

                                                                  • Abhishek Mahendru
                                                                    Abhishek Mahendru  5 months back

                                                                    Jeff's arms are bigger than my legs. @[email protected]

                                                                    • DesertDwellers Az
                                                                      DesertDwellers Az  5 months back

                                                                      Rack PuLLs ArE KiLliNg YouR GaInS

                                                                      • Luis Soto
                                                                        Luis Soto  5 months back

                                                                        I don't think that's how it works, if you are protracting the scapula you are giving the anterior portion of the shoulder girdle more room to breathe. It's the opposite movement where you pull the scapula back and down that jams the nerve bundles and subclavian vessels against the rib cage. Although its still not functional there's no way what you were saying in the video will have that effect on the thoracic outlet

                                                                        • Basri Basri
                                                                          Basri Basri  5 months back

                                                                          Me: *trying to exercise*
                                                                          Jeff: wait, that's illegal!

                                                                          • Manmeet Jhajj
                                                                            Manmeet Jhajj  5 months back

                                                                            Are there any steps you can take to heal if youre already suffering from this injury? (Brachial plexus)

                                                                            • Phil Gee
                                                                              Phil Gee  5 months back

                                                                              Great vid man... think I’ve got some of these pinching symptoms/ pain around the clavicle and probably need to evaluate my form again and drop the weight👌🏻 Thanks

                                                                              • Sai Shankar G Nair
                                                                                Sai Shankar G Nair  5 months back

                                                                                Can you please do a video on losing thigh fat ..

                                                                                • Sai Shankar G Nair
                                                                                  Sai Shankar G Nair  5 months back

                                                                                  @MMBN4bluemoon ❤️thanks a lot

                                                                                • MMBN4bluemoon
                                                                                  MMBN4bluemoon  5 months back

                                                                                  @Sai Shankar G Nair no problem. I wish you the best of luck

                                                                                • Sai Shankar G Nair
                                                                                  Sai Shankar G Nair  5 months back

                                                                                  @MMBN4bluemoon thanks

                                                                                • MMBN4bluemoon
                                                                                  MMBN4bluemoon  5 months back

                                                                                  There is no way to Target fat in one area. You have to lose overall body fat up putting yourself in a caloric deficit. You can do some resistance training to build muscle under the fat in your thighs to make your thighs more "solid".

                                                                              • Gully .H
                                                                                Gully .H  5 months back

                                                                                Although I agree with 99.9% of Jeff's points, I'm struggling to understand this. How is retracting your shoulders back and down putting less compression on your thoracic outlet? It doesnt seem that way. It seems the point of this video is to say do not overload the weight to the point where you can no longer stabilize the weight with your lats, as this will cause excessive strain on your back and shoulders.

                                                                                • Luis Soto
                                                                                  Luis Soto  5 months back

                                                                                  He's definitely wrong on this one, as I said in my other comment protracting the scapula gives the vessels and nerves more room to breathe while pulling the scapula back and down (not retracting correctly) actually makes the clavicle jam the nerve bundles and subclavian vessels against the ribs. As a physical therapist how couldn't he put two and two together.

                                                                              • Big Willy
                                                                                Big Willy  5 months back


                                                                                • Chris in China
                                                                                  Chris in China  5 months back

                                                                                  Thanks Jeff

                                                                                  • blackmaxOaC
                                                                                    blackmaxOaC  5 months back

                                                                                    gonna do some heavy ass rack pulls above the knee now..

                                                                                    • Or Nivo
                                                                                      Or Nivo  5 months back

                                                                                      You must like this commenttttttt!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                      • Patrick Taudul
                                                                                        Patrick Taudul  5 months back

                                                                                        Impressive back development on Jessie ! Tipping my hat to you, young man. You're doing great!

                                                                                        • Jeeses99
                                                                                          Jeeses99  3 months back

                                                                                          Where Jessie is right now he can honestly get on Jeff's level if he keeps it up.

                                                                                      • Youssef Bassam
                                                                                        Youssef Bassam  5 months back

                                                                                        Every time your outro music plays I feel like I’m about to witness a massacre

                                                                                        • The Brotha
                                                                                          The Brotha  5 months back

                                                                                          so as long as you keep the scapula from rouding forward your good, got it.