Rack Pulls

Rack Pulls (Block Pulls)

How to do block rack pulls properly, with perfect form and technique! The best back exercise to work the top of the deadlift for a strong lower back and hips.

Sumo Deadlift Block Rack Pulls

Block pulls are a deadlift variation in which you lift the weight from a raised position in order to decrease the range of motion and focus on the lockout of the deadlift.

This decreased range of motion utilizing the strongest part of the deadlift movement allows for you to overload the deadlift when using weights over your normal maximum.

To gain the most benefit from block pulls, be sure to only use a slightly decreased range of motion so that the pull always begins below your knees, allowing you to still train the most difficult leverage point in the lift.

Setting Up The Blocks

Place blocks or plates, evenly stacked, underneath the bar loaded plates to raise the starting position. Ensure that the blocks are stable and will not move or break during the exercise.

You may also use a power rack in which the bar itself rests against the side railings to decrease the range of motion.

*Make sure that the range of motion is not decreased so much that the bar starts over your knees.

how to deadlift 600 lbs book Get our “How To Deadlift” Guide!

Everything you need to know about the Deadlift!

Includes a 12 Week Deadlift Program, Workouts, common Deadlift mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!

How To Do Rack Pulls (Block Pulls)


  • Overload the Deadlift
  • Teach Hip Hinge Mechanics
  • Build Full-Body Strength
  • Build Hip Hinge Strength
  • Increase Core Stabilization Strength

Prime Movers:

  1. Glutes (Hips)
  2. Hamstring Complex (Legs)
  3. Quadriceps (Legs)



The Set-Up:

Your set-up is all about creating tension in the right places without wasting energy. You need to maintain that same tightness during the entire lift. If you lose tightness, then you lose strength.

Set Your Feet:

Set your feet shoulder-width or closer, to where the bar is directly over your mid-foot, and turn them out slightly (10-30 degrees).

You can use a conventional or sumo stance.

Grab The Ground:

Suction cup your feet to the ground by spreading your toes as wide as you can, then grasping the floor with your entire foot. Your entire foot (heel, the ball of your foot, and outer edge) should stay locked into the ground.

Then, while clenching your toes into the ground like eagle claws, create torque by externally rotate your feet, as if they were to spin in place, throughout the entire motion.

This movement should flex your entire lower body from your glutes down through your entire legs so that everything is tight, and nothing is loose or relaxed.

Maintain this external rotation torque throughout the lift.

Note: By grabbing the ground with your foot you are simply creating a strong arch in your foot, not rolling your ankle. Your feet should not move out of place or come up at all during these motions. Just create a rotational pressure to stabilize your joints, while your entire foot is locked into the ground.

Brace Your Core:

Suck in as much air as you can and hold it in, attempting to create as much intra-abdominal pressure as you can, to stabilize your spine. Then press your lips closed to hold the air in while flexing all of the musculature surrounding your entire torso, and forcing the air deep down into your abdomen. This is known as the Valsalva Maneuver.

If you are wearing a lifting belt, then brace out against the belt as you do this.


Bend At The Hips:

While staying tight and maintaining a neutral spine, bend mainly at the hips until you can grab the bar.

Grab The Bar:

(Conventional) Set your hands about 3 inches outside of your shins on either side, so that you have enough room to push your knees out and not run into your arms.

(Sumo) Set your hands directly under your shoulders.

After finding your preferred width, evenly set according to the power rings, spread your fingers as wide as you can as if to engulf as much of the bar in your hand as possible.

Then grasp the bar tightly with your thumbs wrapped, trying to crush the bar in your hands to take control of the weight.

This is your control point, SO TAKE CONTROL!!! Make the weight feel small while you become invincible with your crushing grip!

Then create an external rotation torque by pointing your elbows behind you.

Note: Use a double overhand-grip as often as you can, and only switch to over-under or hook grip when the weight gets too heavy to hold otherwise.


While keeping your entire body tight, again suck in as much air as you can and press it down deep into your abdomen increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. Hold this tightness throughout the lift.

Get Set:

Fully extend your knees to reset the tension to your hips, and then push them forward as you sit your hips back until the bar touches your shins. Use the bar as leverage to maintain balance.

Maintaining a constant external rotation torque in your feet and push your knees out hard as you do this.

While keeping a neutral spine, force your head back, with your eyes straight ahead. Imagine pulling your chin straight back, and never tilt your head up.

Maintain a neutral head position (straight spine) throughout the entire lift with eyes straight ahead.

Create Tension:

Pull the bar back into your legs as you position your hips back and down, chest high and back flat. This is called “pulling the slack out of the bar.”

In this position, your entire body should be tight and ready to pull with the weight tight up against your shins.

Your lats should be tight, arms are straight, elbows pointed back behind you, and shoulders over or behind the bar.

Tuck Your Shoulders:

Keep your shoulders back and down throughout the lift.

The Deadlift:

Press Into The Ground:

Simultaneously press your feet into the ground, drive your hips forward and pull your shoulders back as you extend your knees and hips together until lockout.

The entire lift should be one smooth motion.

Maintain Control:

Stay tight as you lower the bar, with perfect form, sliding against your legs all the way down. This will build strength and improve form.

If you are doing multiple reps, pause on the box/rack for 1-2 seconds, without bouncing the bar or losing tightness, then pull again.

If you set-up properly your body should do most of the movement for you. All you have to do is stay tight and lift.

Key Points:

  • Stay tight throughout the entire set-up and lift.
  • Grab the ground with your feet.
  • Pull the bar into you.
  • Torque your knees out throughout the full range of motion.
  • Drive your feet into the ground and hips forward.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and head position.

how to deadlift 600 lbs bookGet our “How To Deadlift” Guide!

Everything you need to know about the Deadlift!

Includes a 12 Week Deadlift Program, Workouts, common Deadlift mistakes and how to fix them, and so much more in this nearly 100-page master guide!

Learn more!