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Thread: Is It Time to Add Rack Pulls? | Ray Gillenwater

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    Default Is It Time to Add Rack Pulls? | Ray Gillenwater

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    Starting Strength Coach Ray Gillenwater explains why and how to add partial movements like the rack pull when your deadlift progress slows down.

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    Why is Ray saying everyone should switch to rack pulls at the end of their NLP? And why does the video not mention haltings?

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    Ray Gillenwater is offline Administrator, Starting Strength Gyms
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    There are several options post NLP. The one I'm suggesting here is an idea Nick D turned me on to: switching to rack pulls once the deadlift stops responding to a set of five with weekly weight increases. The halting/rack-pull programming option is for more advanced lifters that need to break the deadlift into two exercises for stress management. The switch to rack pulls post NLP option is simply a way to keep the heavy pulling day moving up in weight each week, for a set of 5. Nick wrote an article on this and we have a podcast coming out about it soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asm44 View Post
    Why is Ray saying everyone should switch to rack pulls at the end of their NLP? And why does the video not mention haltings?
    You missed the series of questions that set up the statement. What happens when......? What do you do when......? Etc.

    All programming changes beyond the NLP are situation dependent. Your job is to make small changes and not fuck up the continuing-to-get-stronger part.

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    I see. I wasn't aware that this is something you guys reccomended and hadn't seen the article. I don't fully understand the rationale, though, and I would expect it would important to continue training the bottom half of the ROM with heavy weights. I also know from my own training that a weekly set of deads can progress long after the NLP ends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asm44 View Post
    I see. I wasn't aware that this is something you guys reccomended and hadn't seen the article. I don't fully understand the rationale, though, and I would expect it would important to continue training the bottom half of the ROM with heavy weights. I also know from my own training that a weekly set of deads can progress long after the NLP ends.
    This is why the pre-programming change questions are important. You don't change something that's working. If pulling a heavy set of five deadlifts is continuing to work, you don't arbitrarily change your program to rack pull because you think you're an "intermediate" or have "finished" your LP. You guys have to stop thinking about programs as achievements to unlock. The only program that is universally prescribed and universally effective is the NLP. And the NLP doesn't "end" from one day to the other. It's a process that changes into something else over time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Delgadillo View Post
    This is why the pre-programming change questions are important. You don't change something that's working. If pulling a heavy set of five deadlifts is continuing to work, you don't arbitrarily change your program to rack pull because you think you're an "intermediate" or have "finished" your LP. You guys have to stop thinking about programs as achievements to unlock. The only program that is universally prescribed and universally effective is the NLP. And the NLP doesn't "end" from one day to the other. It's a process that changes into something else over time.
    That's a good line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asm44 View Post
    I see. I wasn't aware that this is something you guys reccomended and hadn't seen the article. I don't fully understand the rationale, though, and I would expect it would important to continue training the bottom half of the ROM with heavy weights. I also know from my own training that a weekly set of deads can progress long after the NLP ends.
    Of note, the deadlifts are moved to intermediate programming before the NLP ends: PRs are set on a ten day cycle. It SHOULD progress that way long after the NLP. Even when it's broken up into haltings and rack pulls, it's still progressing at the same rate. You just don't train the full lift. If you're deadlifting every three or four weeks with a broken up deadlift but only progressing it by five pounds each time then you're fucking yourself. The rack pull is not a "break" from heavy pulling: your heavy pulls still progress weekly. Rip is fond of recounting his experience doing *nothing* but haltings and rack pulls leading up to his 635 pound DL. The broken up programming works because it can take a deadlift from 500 to 600 without a single full pull being performed. If it didn't, it wouldn't be worth it. You don't become an advanced deadlifter when you introduce them.

    That said, the bottom portion of the deadlift places a tremendous stress on the very small muscles of the lower back, which is where accumulated fatigue rears it's ugly head first. Doing rack pulls for a few weeks at the end seems like a good sense way to effectively lay off a portion of the movement that behaves a little less like a compound movement than the rest of the lift. I myself thought to break DLs into racks and haltings when I started missing reps at the end of my NLP, but found that a single week of rack pulls left me feeling spry enough to pull an increased weight the following week. If weakness in the bottom of the pull is preventing the lift from progressing, that's one thing, but this is very rarely the case at the end of the NLP: you probably just need to give your erectors a little break.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maybach View Post
    Of note, the deadlifts are moved to intermediate programming before the NLP ends: PRs are set on a ten day cycle. It SHOULD progress that way long after the NLP. Even when it's broken up into haltings and rack pulls, it's still progressing at the same rate. You just don't train the full lift. If you're deadlifting every three or four weeks with a broken up deadlift but only progressing it by five pounds each time then you're fucking yourself. The rack pull is not a "break" from heavy pulling: your heavy pulls still progress weekly. Rip is fond of recounting his experience doing *nothing* but haltings and rack pulls leading up to his 635 pound DL. The broken up programming works because it can take a deadlift from 500 to 600 without a single full pull being performed. If it didn't, it wouldn't be worth it. You don't become an advanced deadlifter when you introduce them.

    That said, the bottom portion of the deadlift places a tremendous stress on the very small muscles of the lower back, which is where accumulated fatigue rears it's ugly head first. Doing rack pulls for a few weeks at the end seems like a good sense way to effectively lay off a portion of the movement that behaves a little less like a compound movement than the rest of the lift. I myself thought to break DLs into racks and haltings when I started missing reps at the end of my NLP, but found that a single week of rack pulls left me feeling spry enough to pull an increased weight the following week. If weakness in the bottom of the pull is preventing the lift from progressing, that's one thing, but this is very rarely the case at the end of the NLP: you probably just need to give your erectors a little break.
    I aware of all of this, but when my weekly sets of 5 stopped increasing I just put more time in-between. Now I only deadlift a single set every 16 days or so and I'm up to 605x5. I've considered moving to the rack-pull/halting setup lately, but I don't have a good place to do rack pulls, and I also prefer to keep training simpler if possible, even if sub-optimal.

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