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Benefits of Deficit Deadlifts


In addition to performing conventional deadlifts (full), and rack pulls, I was wondering how beneficial deficit deadlifts are to improving the overall weight?
When it comes to my form, my sticking point is just pass the knees (i.e the hip extension part). However, I have no issues with my rack deadlifts.

So I was wondering if my initial drive out of the bottom was causing my body to fatigue before the lock out, thus causing the sticking point.

Knowing that deficits put you at a mechanical disadvantage and increases the range of motion, thus increasing the flexibility required. I was also wondering (after only really 6/7 months powerlifting training) whether it would premature for me to start doing these variations so soon.

My deadlift PR is 440lbs (200kg).


Deficits should help your speed off the floor.

Personally I used to do them all the time as a main movement, and as a consequence, there was a time I could lift more from a 3 inch deficit than I could from the floor. They never helped my actual deadlift. Now I never do them.

There is only one way to find out if they will help you, do them for a while and see what happens, experiment.


Awesome, cheers for the reply.
Just a bit wary of trying to run before I can walk, so to speak. Think I'm gonna just do them as an assistance exercise (a bit lighter) just to see how they feel.


What part of your body is failing at that point? If your torso is rigid and your legs are failing then speed from the start of the lift can probably help, or just squat more. If your torso starts to give way compared to just after initiation of the lift then you might be better off with pause deadlifts. Rack pulls will help with lockout but it might not work that well for the sticking point at the knee because you didn't strain right before lifting past the knees when doing rack pulls like you would in a full range of motion pull.


My torso tends to give way past the knees in terms of bending, but my hips also fail in terms of being able to complete the rep. But I'm thinking because my torso rounds, it will take the bar further away from my hips making it harder for me to extend my hips.
I've been doing rack pulls every now and again and can easily pull 50lbs more than my full deadlift.

Like the idea of doing pause deadlifts though, should be interesting.
Cheers for the advice!


Check out what a guy on his way to pulling 800 thinks about it.


Stay away from deficit deads. I would not do them at all. They put you in a position that is too hard on the low back. Stick with speed pulls from the floor and block if you want to get better at deadlifts.


I swear doing Snatch Grip Deadlifts (same benefit as Deficit Deadlifts) added 40lbs to my pull in 2 months while dropping weight.


If you're failing above the knees but don't have a problem with rack pulls, that indicates you get into a different position when pulling from the floor than when pulling from the rack. You should film yourself pulling from the floor and then film your rack pull. Figure out what is different.


Who does deadlifts from a 6 inch deficit? Jesus.


As Silyak said it is worth filming yourself rack pulling compared to normal deadlifting, because from personal experience when going heavy on normal deadlifts my upper back rounds and that completely changes the lockout, whereas rack pulls you can set up in a way that you can keep your shoulder blades pretty well packed back together which makes the lockout way easier. So the problem with doing rack pulls if that is the case, is that you're actually training a 'different' lockout, so its going to have less carry over and be easier.


sweet guys, cheers for the advice. I'll video next time I lift.
I doubt I would be lifting from a deficit of more than 3 inches to be honest, but the video was helpful thanks.
Altered my programme a little and included a speed day for deads so I'll report back soon with how well that session goes!



not sure how this relates but its a hell of a deficit deadlift


That was a crazy grind to lockout.


Goddamn, that looks miserable. I've never seen anybody do more than three or so inches in the real world. Masochistic bastard.


I stopped doing rack pulls in the past because it had no carry over when I altered my form to make the lift easier (remained more upright with slightly hyperextended back). However, I've recently added them back in with a focus on getting in the same position as if going through full range (more forward lean and neutral spine) and without worrying if I'm going heavy enough. It feels like I'm working the right distribution of muscles now so that is definitely something to consider.


I forget where I read it but someone wrote an article on the rack pull and said to get in the worst position possible, safely of course. I've started doing them and noticed I can really feel my PC firing which is an issue I think a lot of people have at lockout


Yeah I've been doing this for all my assistance lifts as well. Making the lift hard while keeping a neutral spine to really force the weak muscles to work. Focusing on body position as opposed to going as heavy as possible seems to work better for strengthening the weak muscles when doing assistance work.


My 1 cent on the issue is that certain people benefit from it because they have certain tendon insertions/leverages that benefit from it more vs. some other guy. You see it in the bench with certain people using a McDonald bar; some say it helps and some say they don't notice any improvement at all.