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    Default Rack Pulls & Trap Bar 'Deadlifts'

    I recently got interested in wanting to deadlift, but haven't gone above 90lbs (plus the bar) because I don't want to throw out my back doing it improperly.

    As a substitute, to gain some confidence with thoracic extension and form, etc., I have resorted to rack pulls and trap bar deadlifts. Is this a bad idea?

    Since I really have no idea how strong my back, legs, and/or core are, I did a litmus test with rack pulls and got up to 340lbs (plus the bar) before I decided I didn't want to go any higher. With the trap bar I think I was doing 260lbs (plus the bar) before I didn't want to add any weight.

    I sustained no injuries and my back is fine... So I'm kind of wondering where to go from here if my goal is to deadlift in excess of 400lbs (plus the bar), without hurting my back.
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    Have you considered talking to a trainer? They can critique your form, and give you suggestions for avoiding injury.

    A "real" trainer, not just the monkey that happens to hang around the gym. Beyond has a few legit guys.
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    Where to go from here. Start dead lifting Work up the weight. You can use rack pulls or trap bar deads no problem as assistance exercises. All are great lifts. Did you rack pull at knee level height?

    Watch this vid.

    Last edited by Redlined_8000; 04-05-2014 at 08:20 PM.

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    Originally posted by Redlined_8000
    Where to go from here. Start dead lifting Work up the weight. You can use rack pulls or trap bar deads no problem as assistance exercises. All are great lifts. Did you rack pull at knee level height?

    Watch this vid.

    Thanks for the vid. Can't wait to try it out.

    When I did rack pull it was slightly below my knees.

    I love the trap bar dead because its so similar to the motion of picking up dumbells for farmers walks (my favorite exercise), I've also read though its more similar to a squat than a dead lift. Whatever, they are fun.

    From the numbers I gave you, what do you think is a good weight to start with? Whatever I can 3x5?

    *Edit.. Also just trivial question on the lingo, when someone says 200lbs or whatever, does that mean 200lbs all in or 200lbs plus another 40-60 for the bar.
    Last edited by themack89; 04-05-2014 at 09:10 PM.
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    Originally posted by themack89


    Thanks for the vid. Can't wait to try it out.

    When I did rack pull it was slightly below my knees.

    I love the trap bar dead because its so similar to the motion of picking up dumbells for farmers walks (my favorite exercise), I've also read though its more similar to a squat than a dead lift. Whatever, they are fun.

    From the numbers I gave you, what do you think is a good weight to start with? Whatever I can 3x5?
    To start? up to you. If you are scared because of past lower back problems or anything of that nature I shouldn't tell you. But if you are healthy I would say you would be good for 275x5 easily Maybe even 315. Im not sure why you say what do I "start" with. Do you do warm up sets? I always start with 135lbs and then just throw on 50lbs more till I get to working weight. 385lb rack pull from below knees is really good for not dead lifting by the way.

    When someone says 200lbs that is weight + bar. Olympic bars are usually 45lbs.
    Last edited by Redlined_8000; 04-05-2014 at 09:13 PM.

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    Originally posted by Redlined_8000


    To start? up to you. If you are scared because of past lower back problems or anything of that nature I shouldn't tell you. But if you are healthy I would say you would be good for 275x5 easily Maybe even 315. Im not sure why you say what do I "start" with.
    Yeah I am healthy.. I meant working weight I guess.

    Originally posted by Redlined_8000
    Do you do warm up sets? I always start with 135lbs and then just throw on 50lbs more till I get to working weight.
    Yes this is what I've been doing. I mean if it is my goal to up the weight over time what kind of reps should I be going for. If it isn't obvious, I'll figure it out... Eventually.
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    Rack pulls are awesome and when done properly can make the back feel good.

    Last time I did them I was doing 230x5 @ 3

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    Racks and Trapbar are excellent.

    I prefer trapbar over pure deadlifts as it's easier on my SI joint. I've slipped that guy a few times conventionally deadlifting.

    Not to say anything wrong with deadlifting, I've had a lifelong issue with proper Mobility.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

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    Back in 2004 I wrecked my low back doing RDLs. I think it was because that was all I did, since that is all I ever saw in the gym when guys did deadlifts, and that wasn't often. I got up to 275lbs on RDLs but hurt my low back (S1) doing 255. Such high pain that I could hardly walk for weeks and needed to use a cane. I think I stopped lifting for close to a year, perhaps more.

    Fast forward to perhaps the fall of 2012 when I wanted to start deadlifts again but this was after I thought I had learned how to do standard deadlifts. By spring of last year, I had tweaked my low back several times, forcing me to stop working out for a couple of days or up to a week.

    At one point in the summer I hit 155lbs but my grip would give out. Enter Stronglifts 5x5. I had been receiving the annoying emails for months and finally decided to give the program a try. I started it in September last year and have probably progressed slower than most on that program, for various reasons. But the last two times I did deadlifts, I did 255lbs with a double overhand grip (and that was starting at 95lbs back in September). It felt really good, especially since there was definitely a mental aspect to it with my back. The big mental block now is 275.

    I setup differently than the guys in the vid but setup is very important. I follow the technique in Becoming a Supple Leopard, by Dr. Kelly Starrett, which someone on here recommended. A higher priced book but worth every penny. Check him out here too: http://www.mobilitywod.com/ With his technique I have not tweaked my back once since starting SL5x5.

    Something to keep in mind with strength training, since you want to go 400+ in deadlifts, is that the slower you progress, the stronger you will get, or at least it will be easier to get stronger and you will likely reach the 400lbs sooner then if you started heavy. At least that is something that both Mehdi (Stronglifts 5x5) and Jim Wendler (5/3/1/) teach (someone can correct me if I'm wrong). 5/3/1 was okay and got me started in strength training but SL5x5 is really what has gotten me going.

    All that to say: get your setup and form nailed down with lighter weights and progress slowly. Just my 2 cents (which rounds down to nothing since the penny isn't around anymore ), based on the little I've learned in the last half year. There certainly are guys on here who know waaay more than I and are more familiar with 5/3/1 and SL5x5.
    Last edited by duaner; 04-06-2014 at 07:43 PM.

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    ^-- Awesome post duaner, thanks a lot. I actually stumbled across the 5X5SL earlier today and now that I've seen you mention it, maybe it is a sign. I might as well just do it and see what happens. Thinking of 7.5lb or 10lb increments though because I am not exactly the weakest person to begin with (abnormally strong grip and used to work rigs).

    Gym was packed today... All bars in use, so I went to do some HIIT instead. After I returned only the trap bar was available. I couldn't do fuck all haha , I was exhausted. At least I learned never to do intense cardio before trying to lift.
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    Deficit deads are a good exercise to work on initiating the DL movement and gaining confidence early on for future heavier lifts. When I tweeked my low back I used this to get back into the saddle lifting heavy again.
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    Originally posted by Darkane
    Racks and Trapbar are excellent.

    I prefer trapbar over pure deadlifts as it's easier on my SI joint. I've slipped that guy a few times conventionally deadlifting.

    Not to say anything wrong with deadlifting, I've had a lifelong issue with proper Mobility.
    Any tips on keeping the SI joint safe? I think I tweaked that or my Coccyx doing 405x10 on deads
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    Originally posted by zipdoa


    Any tips on keeping the SI joint safe? I think I tweaked that or my Coccyx doing 405x10 on deads
    Lol. Not really.

    Nothing you probably don't already know.

    My torso is really long. If I can't get my back perfectly placed or it rounds just a cunt hair, I'm in danger of slipping.

    My last real bad slip I was box squatting 270 going for max reps. Week before was 260 and I completed 16 reps.

    So I pulled my belt super tight, felt great. Bam second rep and I'm done. Almost collapsed on the YMCA floor.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

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    Originally posted by Darkane


    Lol. Not really.

    Nothing you probably don't already know.

    My torso is really long. If I can't get my back perfectly placed or it rounds just a cunt hair, I'm in danger of slipping.

    My last real bad slip I was box squatting 270 going for max reps. Week before was 260 and I completed 16 reps.

    So I pulled my belt super tight, felt great. Bam second rep and I'm done. Almost collapsed on the YMCA floor.

    Wow, that's garbage. Must be very frustrating for you.

    I took 8 weeks off from squats and deads, focused a lot on spinal decompression, and so far my tailbone feels pretty good. I feel it tweak every once in a while, but I don't push it to the point where it would immobilize me. When it does happen, it feels like the bones in my tailbone are splitting apart and pushing a disc out - which from my research sounded like a coccyx issue.

    Do you stretch? Have you tried Yoga, something like Hatha? not that yogilaties workout bullshit.
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    Originally posted by zipdoa



    Wow, that's garbage. Must be very frustrating for you.

    I took 8 weeks off from squats and deads, focused a lot on spinal decompression, and so far my tailbone feels pretty good. I feel it tweak every once in a while, but I don't push it to the point where it would immobilize me. When it does happen, it feels like the bones in my tailbone are splitting apart and pushing a disc out - which from my research sounded like a coccyx issue.

    Do you stretch? Have you tried Yoga, something like Hatha? not that yogilaties workout bullshit.
    Yes. I stretch, foam roll, etc.

    I've been to about 6 sessions of Bikram Yoga. I found the heat helps in deep stretching. I May return for more regular classes but at 1.5 hours/day It's taking a lot of time away from actually lifting.

    Honestly It's really just laziness on my behalf. I *KNOW* I have to keep ahead of the game in Mobility but it takes so much time.

    I have to do some soul searching here and see what I'm going to do. I haven't had a good lower workout in 1.5 years.

    I may try to get as lean as possible then do an upperbody spec routine for a while. I'll Maintain legs with high reps but keep the intensity low.

    During this time I'll likely over-strengthen my core and see if I can get some great conditioning too.

    Otherwise Until I can properly squat and Deadlift I'm going to be doing Girl weights. But lots of reps!! lol.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

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    Originally posted by Darkane


    Lol. Not really.

    Nothing you probably don't already know.

    My torso is really long. If I can't get my back perfectly placed or it rounds just a cunt hair, I'm in danger of slipping.

    My last real bad slip I was box squatting 270 going for max reps. Week before was 260 and I completed 16 reps.

    So I pulled my belt super tight, felt great. Bam second rep and I'm done. Almost collapsed on the YMCA floor.
    Speaking from experience I have done this and took all I had to walk out of the gym and get home and ended up in the hospital on morphine!

    Rounding of the back sucks.

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    Originally posted by firebane


    Speaking from experience I have done this and took all I had to walk out of the gym and get home and ended up in the hospital on morphine!

    Rounding of the back sucks.
    It's just aweful. First time I did it I developed sciatica symptoms so bad I could only put my underware on lying down.

    Terrible lol.
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

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    Do you guys think these back injuries make it worth it?
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    Originally posted by themack89
    Do you guys think these back injuries make it worth it?
    The thing is injuries are inevitiable when you are lifting anything heavy. You have no idea what your body is capable of and the only way you do is when something fails like your back.

    Do I feel its worth it?

    yes.

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    Originally posted by themack89
    Do you guys think these back injuries make it worth it?
    Well the thing is obviously I'm just not genetically superior for some movements and I Understand that.

    I'll never be a powerlifter or strongman.

    However to look and perform good, that is something I CAN do and doing these movements (Minimizing the negative aspect) Will get me there.

    It's like the chicken or the egg - If I didn't hurt myself early in life I would of hurt myself eventually doing something else. I was Genetically predisposed to it.

    My Grandma had severe back issues and she didn't deadlift a thing!
    "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    nice box... to bad that nigs face is in it

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