Strong Doing Deficit Deads

I’ve descovered that I’m just as strong (feel stronger) deadlifting from a 2 1/2 inch deficit, as I am from the floor. Yesterday I started my workout with a 2 1/2 inch deficit, at a certain point I switched to reg deads, ands then when the weights got heavier switched to 2 1/2 inch blocks, I felt real weak in this position. There seemed to be no strength advantage from one position to another.

My question, ( I’m hoping Pwnisher will weigh in, as well as other’s )is what this points to, To me this must point to a weakness, or a strength inbalance, from a 2 1/2 inch deficit, to a 2 1/2 blocks, is 5 inches, and I feel no strength advantage, I actually feel stronger from the deficit, pulling from the streatch position.

I’m comming back from an injury, and a long layoff, and the weights are comming back fairly quickly, but they’re far from huge, this could play into things. My top working weights right now are 405,( 3s, and 5s) but I could move 405 for the same amount of reps in any of the 3 positions. Im wondering guys thoughts on this. Thanks

In regards to pulling off blocks, even though the ROM is shorter, it’s not always an easier lift. In my ROM progression cycle, when I have to pull off 4 mats, I tend to pull weaker numbers than when I pull off the floor. My theory on this is that, at a certain height, your hip angle is so bizarre that it’s actually less conducive to lifting big weight, and when you combine this with the fact that the ROM is too short for your to build momentum and speed on the way up, it’s a miserable lift. When the ROM is really short, you bypass the tough part and have an easy lift, and when it’s full, you have plenty of time to get faster, but when it hits this “sweet spot”, it’s the worst of both worlds, rather than the best.

As for feeling stronger in a deficit, my speculation is that you feel as though you are getting better leg drive since you are forced to bring your hips closer to the floor, but it’s honestly just a guess.

Provided that you have the mobility to maintain a strong back position in the deficit, I don’t think what you are seeing is really that uncommon. I fail deadlifts a bit below the knee. Anything below that I will pull about the same amount no matter what (all the way down to starting with the bar pressing on the tops of my feet). If I start at or above the knee then I can pull a lot more weight.

Csulli posted this on my log to the same question, thought I’d move it here, to futher the discussion

AnytimeJake wrote:
Going over yesterdays deadlift workout, It puzzle’s me why I’m just as strong at deficit deads, as I am at reg deads, and in fact I feel weaker when the bar is up on blocks.
Csulli wrote;
My training partner is exactly the same way. His deficit pull has always felt nearly as strong as his pull from the floor, and certain block heights feel weaker to him. Just the way your leverages are maybe. Or a sign that you get good leg drive. Anyway, he’s an amazingly strong deadlifter, so I wouldn’t trouble yourself too much about it :slight_smile:

Anyways thanks for reply’s, I was just wondering wheather my being the same strength in 3 different positions pointed to a weakness, I needed to be working on, but it seems to be probably a leverage thing, and the way that I’m built. I feel more explosive from the deficit, and off the 2 1/2 inch blocks actually puts me in a weaker position as far as leg drive is concerned. I’m also finding now that I’m back training myself heavy again, that my beltless, and belted number’s, are leveling out, as well, so mabey all of this is a sign, that my strength is comming back, lets hope. Thanks everyone

  • Imo it points to the fact that your form from the floor may not be optimal.
  • Record both lifts and compare in detail your back angle and knee positions.
  • Do some trial and error analysis during training to improve the setup for the floor deadlifts.

ps: I noticed something similar in my training and corrected my technique accordingly. I will find out soon if it works but I predict some big PRs soon.

Hey jake I noticed the same thing recently. I think if I went all out and along with finding the optimal deficit both lifts would be fairly close for me. In general I feel like I get the hip hinge working much better during deficits as well.

Played around with both movements I noticed two things:

  1. making the reach more difficult (ie further away) makes me lock in my lats much better since everything has to be tight just in order to get in position. Basically there is no room to be lazy!
  2. I can keep the bar closer to me at the beginning of the pull. My shins have some forward lean during pulls. This means the higher the bar is the further away it is from my torso even if it is scraping my shins.

Hope my own clues can help you too!

Have you got a video of you deadlifting with and without a deficit?

I recently came into contact with a guy at the gym whose deficit deadlift and floor deadlift were effectively the same. I watched him deadlift and the first thing that happened was his hips shot up and he was basically stiff leg deadlifting it. Perhaps you have a similar problem in that your hamstrings are just really strong, so your using the deficit to allow your hips to be in a higher position and use your hamstrings to pull it?

I think the reason deficits are normally harder for most people is because it forces you to ‘squat’ down more and it places even more stress on your quads, but if your quads are weak relative to your hamstrings already and your subconsciously going to try and take the quads out of the movement, you’re not going to notice much difference?

This is all just speculation to clarify. If you think this is correct then I would really try to work more on your quad strength, since they may be the weakness you feel you may have.

^^This probably has somthing to do with it, as my injury was lower body related, so counting 3-5yrs of different surgeries, then 3-5trs after, where I had fallen into upper body training syndrom ( ya I did ) by the time I finaly snapped out of it this past spring, and got back to balanced PLing training, my upper body chest, and back were a long way ahead of my lower body, including my lower back, since I was mainly doing rack pulls, from the knee, and leg press, as my only lower body lifts for the past 3-5yrs. By the time my lower body had healed, I was caught up in trying to get a double BW bench. Anyway the point being, my legs are / were far behind my upper body, and I’ve tried my best since spring to even this out, but I think I’m still deadlifting low back dominate, and my quads and hams are still pretty pathetic, so some of what you said could be true.
I’ll try to get some vids, but I think from what I’m hereing, this situation I’ve discovered, is not such a big deal, and by continuing to emphasize squats, front squats, and deads from various positions, and just basicaly getting stronger legs, my deads will continue to move forward. Everyone’s been real helpful, and I don’t think this points to anything to out of the normal, thats what I needed to here, so thanks