Want to know the benefits of rack lockouts? You do? Good! Because this page is dedicated to exactly that topic.
I’ll discuss in detail, all the advantages of the rack lockout (or bench press lockouts as they are commonly called).
Plus I’ll tell you how said advantages relate to your priorities.
In other words, you’ll be able to decide if this is an exercise that can help you accomplish your goals faster.
This is probably the least known and most underrated triceps exercise. At least that’s the case among the bodybuilding and general weight training population…
…It’s a much more popular technique among powerlifters. But the benefits of rack lockouts are potentially just as desirable to non-powerlifting weight trainees.
Read on to discover what all the benefits are, and what you need to know about them.
Video: See below for a video of the rack lockout exercise. It may be helpful to visually reference the lift when I discuss it in the rest of the article.
Rack Lockout Benefits
1. Build Stronger Triceps
One of the benefits of rack lockouts is that they are the best exercise to develop explosive triceps strength…
…In fact, they are specifically designed for this purpose.
The short range of motion allows you to use ridiculously heavy weight and stimulate the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which is essential for strength production.
And despite training within a limited range of motion, you still develop greater “general” triceps strength…
This general triceps strength transfers (at least in part) to all other triceps exercises, even ones with much greater ranges of motion (e.g. lying triceps extension).
2. Build Bigger Triceps
Although the rack lockout exercise is, first and foremost, a strength training movement, it can also build more muscular triceps.
It’ll increase your triceps muscularity, even if you only do sets of 3 or fewer reps.
However, you’ll notice more profound muscle gains if you do higher reps. By ‘higher reps,’ I mean like 6 reps to failure, 8 max.
More than 8 reps per set is plain silly since it nets little to no strength gains.
Afterall, the main point of rack lockouts is to use much heavier loads than you’d ever lift otherwise.
If you want to do higher reps because you only care about gaining muscle, then an isolation triceps exercise a more appropriate selection.
3. Increase Your Bench Press Strength
Rack lockouts are highly effective for increasing your strength on the barbell bench press (and its many variations), especially if the lockout is your sticking point.
Of all the benefits of rack lockouts, upping bench strength is the most popular…
…Those who end up actually adding this lift to their weight lifting routine, do so primarily to boost their bench numbers.
One reason for this is that you’ll have greater general triceps strength.
Another reason is that you’ll have even greater and more “specific” triceps strength in the lockout portion of the lift.
Considering that rack lockouts entail training an actual portion of the bench press and that the triceps play a major role throughout the movement, it’s no surprise that this is a benefit.
In fact, rack lockouts are so popular among powerlifters specifically because they are so effective for improving your bench numbers.
4. Increase Your Overhead Press Strength
It was probably obvious that one of the benefits of rack lockouts was its capacity to increase your bench press.
But it may not be as obvious that it also significantly improves your strength on the overhead press (and all variations), most notably on the lockout.
This is despite the fact that the overhead press is a vertical pressing exercise, whereas rack lockouts are a horizontal press. The lockout on each both exercises trains the triceps in very similar ways – It doesn’t matter if you’re pressing weight over your chest or above your head.
Most, if not all, of your “lockout strength” gains transfer to your overhead press.
That said, if your priority is a stronger overhead press (as opposed to a stronger bench), then overhead lockouts (also called overhead pin presses) are more appropriate…
…You see, bench press lockouts don’t train your deltoids nearly as well. As such, this benefit is incidental and therefore shouldn’t be your main reason for doing this exercise.