Pulling, Reaching, and Stacking During Big Lifts – Movement Debrief Episode 107

Movement Debrief Episode 107 is in the books. Below is a copy of the video for your viewing pleasure, and audio if you can’t stand looking at me. Here is the setlist:

  • Should one be hesitant to work on pulling exercises if the goal is to improve movement options?
  • When would the following exercises be useful: lat pulldowns, face pulls, one-arm dumbbell rows? And when should they be avoided?
  • Are band pull apart, Ts, Ys, and Is no-gos?
  • What is reaching at the 0-60 degrees of shoulder flexion useful for?
  • How about 60-120 and 120-180?
  • Does encouraging a posterior pelvic tilt during a squat or a deadlift go against the lifting mechanics or support them?

If you want to watch these live, add me on Instagram.  Enjoy!

and the audio version:  

Zac Cupples iTunes

Below are the links mentioned in the show notes

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You can find two good debriefs explaining wide infrasternal angles here and here.

Eric Oetter

Here is the Bill Hartman ITY video

Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System

Motion of the Shoulder Complex During Multiplanar Humeral Elevation

Here is a good 0-60 reach example that I like to use

Here is a good 60-120 reach example that I like to use

Here is a good 120-180 reach example that I like to use

Raise Up by Petey Pablo (will likely be played while I’m in Charlotte on loop)

The lumbar and sacrum movement pattern during the back squat exercise.


Question for you on lifting – I have zero pull-up skills and want to improve that, but I’m hesitant to try some back strengthening exercises given that my push to do extension based strength training years ago has probably contributed to my troubles. Heck, this maybe could be a debrief question for you on a video…lat pull-downs, face pulls, one-arm dumbbell rows…what sets these apart from extension based exercises that are generally no-gos such as band pull aparts, or prone Ts & Ys & Is? For me specifically, any reason I should avoid either lat pulldowns, face pulls, or dumbbell rows?


Do you have a source/did you discuss the 0-60 degrees shoulder flexion being optimal for posterior expansion in a debrief?

Stacking During Big Lifts

If you keep a PPT and thorax stacked on top during the DL and squat, does this compete against lifting mechanics/technique or support them? 

Sum Up

  • Pulling is not inherently bad, and can be perfect for improving movement options
  • Chinup, pullup, and pulldown variations can be useful for improving buckethandle mechanics and anteroposterior expansion (breathe at the dead hang) or pump handle (breathe in when chest is to bar)
  • Facepulls are great for posteroinferior thorax expansion (at the start) or pumphandle (at the pull)
  • Rows are great for pump handle
  • T, I, and pull aparts can be useful for pump handle mechanics, with Y’s encouraging anteroposterior expansion, though I rarely use them
  • Reaching from 0-60 degrees of shoulder flexion can improve posteroinferior thorax expansion
  • Reaching from 60-120 degrees of shoulder flexion can improve pumphandle mechanics
  • Reaching from 120-180 degrees of shoulder flexion can improve anteroposterior thorax expansion
  • Stacking during the big lifts is essential for maintaining intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic pressures
  • The lumbar spine naturally becomes kyphotic during back squatting, so arching may not be useful

Image by skeeze from Pixabay 


  1. Hi Zac

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks.

    I note your reference to the Human Matrix Home Study – is this your new online course? Is this available for purchase for those who can not get to your live courses? I hope so….

    Thanks, Drew

    1. Hey Drew,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I’m still in process of designing this. I’m making major updates to the live seminar, so sadly the online has been put on the backburner. My hope is to get it out 2020, but I need to refilm the whole thing 🙁

      Keep on the lookout!


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