A block pull is a deadlift variation where the barbell starts elevated off the ground. This allows the lifter to focus on the top-end range of motion of the deadlift, which can be helpful for addressing weaknesses in this area.
Block pulls are a great way to improve your deadlift strength and technique. They can also help you to build muscle mass in your back (including erector spinae), glutes, and hamstrings. If you are looking to improve your deadlift, block pulls are a great exercise to add to your routine.
Benefits of Block Pulls
Block pulls offer a number of benefits, including:
- Improved lockout strength: The block pull can help to improve lockout strength, which is the ability to lift the weight from the ground to the fully-extended position. This is a common sticking point for many lifters, and block pulls can help to address this issue.
- Increased muscle mass: Block pulls can help to increase muscle mass in the back, glutes, and hamstrings. This is because these muscles are responsible for hip extension, which is a major component of the block pull.
- Improved technique: Block pulls can help to improve deadlift technique. This is because they allow the lifter to focus on the correct movement patterns and body position.
- Reduced risk of injury: Block pulls can reduce the risk of injury by reducing the amount of stress placed on the lower back. This is because the lifter does not have to bend as far down to lift the weight.
How to Perform a Block Pull
To perform a block pull, you will need a barbell, weight plates, and some blocks or other elevated surface. Place the blocks under the barbell so that the bar is at the desired height. Set up in the starting position for a deadlift, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Grip the bar with an overhand grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Take a deep breath and brace your core. Keeping your back straight, initiate the pull by driving your heels into the ground and extending your hips. As you pull the bar up, keep your shoulders down and your chest up. Once the bar is past your knees, lock it out by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings.
Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Tips for Block Pulls
- Make sure that the blocks are the correct height. If the blocks are too high, you will not be able to get the full benefit of the exercise. If the blocks are too low, you will be able to lift more weight than you would with a regular deadlift, which could increase your risk of injury.
- Focus on maintaining good form throughout the exercise. This will help to reduce your risk of injury and improve your results.
- Start with a light weight and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help from a qualified trainer if you are unsure of how to perform the exercise correctly.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Not setting up properly: It is important to set up correctly for the block pull, just as you would for a regular deadlift. This means setting your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your back straight, and gripping the bar with an overhand grip.
- Not bracing your core: Bracing your core is essential for protecting your back during the block pull. Take a deep breath and brace your core before you initiate the pull.
- Not using a full range of motion: The block pull should be performed using a full range of motion. This means lifting the bar all the way from the blocks to the fully-extended position.
- Lifting too much weight: It is important to start with a light weight and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. Lifting too much weight can increase your risk of injury.
When to Use Block Pulls
Block pulls can be used in a variety of ways, depending on your goals. Here are a few examples:
- To improve lockout strength: If you are struggling to lockout your deadlifts, block pulls can help you to build the strength you need to overcome this sticking point. To do this, set the blocks so that the bar is at the height of your knees or hips. Then, perform deadlifts from the blocks, using a weight that is slightly heavier than your current deadlift 1-rep max.
- To build muscle mass: Block pulls can also be used to build muscle mass in the back, glutes, and hamstrings. To do this, set the blocks so that the bar is at the height of your hips. Then, perform deadlifts from the blocks, using a weight that is challenging but not too heavy. Focus on using a full range of motion and keeping your form tight.
- To improve technique: If you are new to deadlifts or if you are struggling with your technique, block pulls can be a great way to improve your form. To do this, set the blocks so that the bar is at the height of your knees. Then, perform deadlifts from the blocks, focusing on keeping your back straight and your core engaged.
Block pulls are a versatile exercise that can be used to improve your deadlift strength, muscle mass, and technique. If you are looking to improve your deadlift, block pulls are a great exercise to add to your routine.
Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of block pulls:
- Use a variety of rep ranges: Block pulls can be performed for a variety of rep ranges, depending on your goals. If you are looking to improve your lockout strength, focus on performing block pulls for 1-3 reps per set. If you are looking to build muscle mass, focus on performing block pulls for 8-12 reps per set.
- Use a variety of block heights: Experiment with different block heights to find what works best for you. You may find that you are able to lift more weight with the blocks at a higher height.
- Focus on your form: As with any exercise, it is important to focus on your form when performing block pulls. This will help to reduce your risk of injury and improve your results.
- Be patient: It takes time to build strength and muscle mass. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Just keep at it and you will eventually reach your goals.