World Champion Powerlifter Shares Her Secret to the Perfect Rack Pull (VIDEO)

Learn how-to perform the rack pull with powerlifting legend Kimberly Walford.

It’s not often that you get to learn from the best, but we were lucky enough to do so in our latest training video. The rack pull is an awesome deadlift variation for working through close-to-lockout sticking points during heavy lifts.

To help us dial in our rack pull form, we enlisted the help of six time IPF Open World Champion Kimberly Walford. Often regarded as one of the best deadlifters of all time, Walford knows a thing or two about lifting heavy weight. Currently, Walford holds the women’s -72kg IPF Open World Record in the deadlift with an incredibly strong 243kg/535 lb pull that she completed in 2017.

In the video below, Walford discusses the logic behind performing rack pulls, how-to do them correctly, their benefits, and programming them properly.

Rack Pulls With Kimberly Walford

Rack Pull Setup, Benefits, and Form

In our video, Walford discusses that one of the most important performance characteristics to consider when training with the rack pull is the setup. She stresses to find a rack height that is conducive to your personal sticking point.

  • If your sticking point is below the knee, then set the rack height just below the knee.
  • If your sticking point is slightly higher, then set the rack in-line with the vastus medialis (teardrop quad muscle). 

In respects to the rack pull’s form, we’ll let the video speak for itself — check it out below! You can also check out our full Rack Pull Guide for more in-depth tips and training content.

There are a handfuls of benefits that come with performing rack pulls. Typically, this movement will be best utilized by experienced athletes who already have a solid foundation of deadlift strength, and have an idea of where their sticking points lie.

That’s not to say beginners shouldn’t perform this movement — but before doing so — there needs to be a full understanding of the why and the intent of the rack pull’s use in a training program. A few of the benefits that come with rack pulls include,

  1. Improved grip strength. 
  2. Neural accommodation to supramaximal loading. 
  3. Increase efficiency when working through deadlift sticking points. 

In regards to programming the rack pull, this movement can serve as a deadlift accessory or as the main compound exercise on heavy pulling days. One thing to note with programming the rack pull is that Walford recommends to use them somewhat sparingly since they’re often supramaximally loaded.

If you use rack pulls currently in your program or have used them before, why did you use them and what did you like most about them? Share in the comments below!

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as the Fitness and Training Editor at BarBend.

He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand.

As of right now, Jake has published over 1,200 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter.

On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.

Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and a personal trainer the three years before that, and most recently he was the content writer at The Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office.

Jake competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a professional knee rehabber after tearing his quad squatting in 2017. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in New York City.

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