How To Deficit Deadlift

Let’s learn how to deficit deadlift – one of the most important deadlift supplemental exercises to include in your intermediate or advanced strength program.

The deficit deadlift adds additional range of motion to the normal conventional deadlift, which reduces the intensity (weight on the bar) just a bit. You can set up by standing on a 1 or 2 inch mat, artificially elongating your legs. The mat should not be so high that your hips end up higher than your shoulders. The other way to add range of motion to the deadlift is to snatch grip deadlift, which artificially shortens the arms.

However, because the angles of a deficit deadlift are much more similar to the regular conventional deadlift, we prefer this lift variation.

The 5 Step Deadlift Setup

To review, the setup for the deficit deadlift requires the same as the conventional deadlift.

  1. Stand with your shins one inch away from the barbell (directly over the middle of the foot).
  2. Lean over with straight legs and take a grip just outside your legs.
  3. Bring your shins forward until they touch the bar.
  4. Squeeze your chest up to engage the low back muscles.
  5. Drag the bar up your legs.

When To Use This Lift Variation

If you struggle to get the deadlift moving off the floor, this deadlift supplemental lift might be an excellent addition to your training program. However, if you’re still a Novice (what’s a novice?), the deficit deadlift is not yet for you.

Use fewer reps per set for this supplemental exercise, because the range of motion is longer.

For more on when, why and how to incorporate supplemental lifts into your training program, check out more videos.

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