Gym Shorts: Floating Deadlift

New to the floating deadlift (aka cocaine deadlift) or looking for a quick technique tutorial? Learn correct form in one short video.

The Floating Deadlift

Gym Shorts videos provide short video demonstrations of correct form for various exercises.

Follow these steps:

  • Set up
    • Narrow stance
    • Shins 1″ from bar
    • Grab bar outside shins
    • Chest up
    • Big breath
    • Drag the bar up your legs
  • Top
    • Stand tall
    • Breathe between reps
  • Middle reps
    • Lower the bar to midshin
    • Hips back first
    • Then bend your knees
    • Pause briefly
  • Other Cues
    • Bar maintains contact with legs
    • Keep your flat back
    • Feel the weight in your full foot for the entire set

The floating deadlift is a deadlift variant that used primarily to help clients with low back pain. It begins from the floor with 1 perfect deadlift rep, but the subsequent reps begin from the top similar to an Romanian deadlift or RDL, except the knees move forward on these whereas with RDLs the knees do not travel forward as you lower the bar. Because the knees move forward, balance should be maintained on midfoot throughout the exercises whereas on RDLs weight may and likely will shift to the heels.

These are meant to be performed with a perfectly flat back, so spend extra time setting your back on the deadlift off the floor if that is a problem for you. Then, lower the bar to midshin in a reversal of a perfect deadlift from the floor. Stopping short of the floor enables the lumbar to remain extended, whereas many people struggle maintaining a flat back if they lower the bar all the way to the floor.

These will be performed with less weight than a normal deadlift and are really meant to strengthen the back during and after a back tweak or other back injury. They also help heal the muscle tissue and flood the low back with blood.

You may want to use straps, as holding onto the bar for a long period of time without the bar resting on the ground can tax some people’s grip.

Different rep ranges may be used for these, both in terms of number of times you bring the bar up off the floor and the number of times you perform the top-down-pause deadlift. Generally, do at least 3 top-down reps, though you may do more (again, more reps increases the stress on the grip).

Click HERE to watch a longer tutorial on the floating (aka cocaine) deadlift and HERE to learn how to fight back against back pain.




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