How to: Rack Lockouts

Everyone has something they can work on when it comes to the deadlift.  For me, it’s the lockout portion of the lift.  A way I remedy and train this weakness is by performing an exercise known as “rack lockouts”.  Assuming you know how to breath properly and your form is on point, I’ll explain how I would recommend you perform this exercise.  For you science nerds, I apologize for not breaking down every muscle that is activated in this exercise and how the temperature of the room can possibly hinder training results in the long-term.  I write for the person that doesn’t have time to read 4 page long blog posts; the person that just wants to get it done!

Alright, enough with the nerd bashing.  Here’s how you “lock it out”:

  1. Place a loaded bar on the safety bars of a power rackor any other kind of rack, around knee level. The bar may actually sit above or below the knee. I use an old school squat rack and stand on a wooden platform to bring my knees up to bar level.  My gym is not a part of the modern age, so I work with what I got.
  2. Take in a deep breath, tighten everything, and pull. The movement is very quick, so don’t expect too much excitement.  This method will, however, allow you to load the bar up with a good amount of weight, due to the fact you’re only doing half the movement.  I don’t know of anybody that doesn’t load the lockout with more weight than they can comfortably pull off the floor.  This is one of the reasons it is such a great supplemental exercise.  It primes your CNS for heavier loads down the road and allows you to strengthen the lockout portion of your deadlift with such loads.
  3. Do low reps with heavy weight.  I only recommend low reps with heavy weight due to the universal fact that this approach builds strength.  You can do higher reps, but I feel higher reps are better for muscle building and hypertrophy.  If I was going for reps, I would just do a full range deadlift.  I typically work up to a heavy single or a weight I can do for 3 sets of 3 reps.  Choose your own poison.

Simple enough, huh?  YouTube is flooded with videos on how to perform this exercise; if this wasn’t simple enough for you.

DISCLAIMER:  Please check with your doctor before taking on an exercise, or related exercises, like the one presented.  Also, find a good personal trainer to train your technique if you want to be 100% on it.  

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