Fitness expert and two-time Ms. Figure Olympia champion Erin Stern knows the importance of strong glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles doesn't end on the stage. In her recent Instagram video, Erin demonstrates the rack pull, a rarely-seen, shortened version of the deadlift performed from either squat rack safeties or boxes.
"It's to work on the second half of the deadlift—the pull. I like it for helping to develop explosive power," she explained in a Facebook comment accompanying the video.
Erin goes seriously heavy on this movement—with a smile on her face, of course—and uses straps to keep her grip from limiting her.
But why shorten the range of motion in this case? As powerlifters and other lovers of all things heavy know, the rack pull is an incredibly effective way to build your back, glutes, and even the muscles of your upper back and traps, without the same level of risk of the full deadlift. You can lift some serious weight and strengthen your posterior chain, while keeping your knees and back safer from injury.
Her fondness for the top-half overload doesn't mean Erin avoids the lower-half of the ROM, of course. Just three days after her initial post, she was in the gym again, doing sumo squats with a heavy dumbbell, to own that deep deadlift position as well.
It's time to dust off some of these obscure exercises, and let gems like the rack pull finally see the light of day. Take a cue from this Olympia champion and add some ROM variations to your routine. Heavy, focused lifts may be just what you need to help you bust through stagnant results, and develop strength and power in your physique.
Looking for a place to start? In her Elite Body 4-Week Fitness Trainer, Erin combines dynamic plyometric circuits with traditional powerlifting moves, including not only deadlifts, but also reverse hyperextensions and good mornings, to achieve serious results in just four weeks.