Gym Shorts: The Paused Deadlift

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

The Paused Deadlift

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

Follow these steps:

  • Set up:
    • Set up like a normal deadlift
    • Grab bar outside of shins
    • Shins forward to the bar & out to the elbows
    • Chest up
    • Big breath
  • Movement
    • Push the floor away
    • Pause a few inches off the floor
    • Shoulders in front of the bar through the pause
    • Stay tight during the pause
    • Then drag the bar up your legs
  • Other Pointers
    • Breathe & reset your back in the bottom
    • Stand tall at the top
    • Gaze forward & down

The paused deadlift is a deadlift supplemental lift that changes the stress by increasing the time under tension with a pause a few inches off the ground. Because it increases time under tension, less weight can be used. The paused deadlift, therefore, is a volume variety as opposed to an intensity variety like the rack pull.

Paused deadlifts aren’t necessarily a deadlift variety that really attacks a specific form error, but holding paused deadlifts can help improve the initial movement off the floor. This movement is primarily knee extension by the quadriceps, which is why we give the cue “push the floor away.”

The paused deadlift can also be programmed for those who might struggle to set their lumbar spine with a stiff or straight leg deadlift or deficit deadlift.

Because the paused deadlift increases the time under tension, this is a lift that tends to be programmed further away from peaking for advanced athletes.

Additionally, because this lift adds time under tension and not just a relatively small additional range of motion like the SLDL or deficit deadlift, the grip is stressed more than in those varieties.

We tend to add paused deadlifts to intermediate or advanced lifter’s programs once we begin to manipulate the exercise selection variable.

These can be programmed just like the deadlift, which means reps will tend to be on the lower rep side of things, generally staying 8 or lower and spending most time in the 3-6 range.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced lifter looking to strengthen your deadlift, especially the lower portion, try the paused deadlift.

Click HERE to see an in depth video on how to set up for the deadlift, and HERE to learn about the two deadlift tracks to help organize your deadlift programming.

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