Deadlifting in a squat rack makes the lift safer and more convenient. In fact, power racks are made with deadlifting in mind. With the use of standard weight plates, the barbell should have plenty of clearance to not damage your rack or interfere with your lift.
In this guide, we will discuss why you want to deadlift in a squat rack and how to do it safely.
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Why Deadlift In A Squat Rack?
There are plenty of reasons why you might consider deadlifting in a squat rack:
If you are a home gym owner, you made have just enough space for your power rack but not much else. Therefore, using your power rack as your deadlifting area makes perfect sense in the context of your limited space.
Likewise, if your commercial gym does not have a dedicated deadlifting platform or area, deadlifting within a power rack is a convenient solution.
Easier To Load Weights
If you deadlifting in a power rack, what you can do is set the safety arms to their lowest possible setting. This additional inch of ground clearance will not change the mechanics of the lift but will make loading and unloading the bar much easier.
The little inch of clearance that you get saves you lots of time and strain struggling to load a heavy bar. This applies to other exercises as well like Romanian deadlifts.
Modify the Height Of the Lift
With a power rack, you can also adjust the starting point of your deadlift. There are many reasons why you want to do this including previous injuries, limited mobility, or simply wanting to overload over a shorter range of motion.
Deadlifting from a higher point is often referred to as a rack pull. Rack pulls are a great lift and will still provide plenty of gains as well as a carryover to the conventional deadlift.
How To Deadlift In Squat Rack
Here is how to deadlift within a squat rack using the proper deadlift technique:
Get everything in place. If you want to deadlift from the floor remove all safety bars if you want to do rack pulls, and set the rack up to your desired height.
Load your barbell
Grab the barbell at about shoulder width distance. Lock your feet into the ground.
Begin to pull the bar up by engaging your legs and glutes. Imagine trying to thrust your hips forward. Your core and back should be engaged and tight.
Lockout at the top before slowly lowering the bar down under control.
What You Will Need To Deadlift In Power Rack
Barbell (Deadlift bar is possible)
What Is The Best Squat Rack For Deadlifts?
If you plan on deadlifting inside your squat rack, you should get a rack that has removable safety bars. Also, I would recommend looking into racks that follow westside spacing for their holes. All this means is that your rack will be more adjustable, allowing you to the safety bars very low to the ground.
Additionally, this is one of the few areas where half racks may be better than squat racks. Since you are not locked in a cage with a half rack, you actually have the option to use varied foot positioning. You cannot really do a sumo deadlift inside a power cage.
Is Deadlifting Inside A Power Rack Bad Gym Etiquette?
Whether or not it is appropriate to deadlift inside a power rack depends on how your gym is set up. If there are no deadlifting platforms or space then I think deadlifting inside a power rack is fair game.
After all, you are doing a serious lift with heavy weight. It is not like you are curling in the squat rack while people are waiting for you. Most gym members would be understanding.
The only point where I think it could be considered bad etiquette is if your gym has deadlifting platforms with jacks available.
Can I Deadlift At Home With No Platform?
If you deadlift in your home gym and have no sort of floor protection, you are going to inevitably damage your floor and equipment. Even if you have bumper plates, repeated exposure to dropping weight will cause damage over time.
If you do have a platform, I would recommend deadlifting from the lowest setting on your squat rack possible. This way you are still getting the meat of the deadlift movement without risking property damage.
Alternatively, you could acquire a platform of some kind. We understand these can be very expensive, so we recommend building one if possible.
Why you should be deadlifting:
As most people know, the deadlift will heavily target your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. However, there is still plenty of muscle activation occurring in your biceps, back, shoulders, and core. If you had to pick one movement, the deadlift really provides the most bang for your buck.
Stronger, Injury Free Back
A common injury for most people as they age is lower back pain. Ultimately this stems from weak muscles and being overweight. The deadlift will help you develop a strong lower back and get you into shape.
Release Of Anabolic Hormones
Due to the sheer weight and effort required by deadlifts, your body compensates by releasing more testosterone and human growth hormone. The benefits of this are nearly endless:
Increased muscle mass
You can definitely deadlift inside a squat rack. In fact, it may even be easier and safer in most cases. All you have to do is follow the basic principles we laid out in this guide and you should be fine to do so in your local gym or home gym.