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Saturday, March 2, 2024
HomeBody Building SupplementsThe Truth About the Deficit Deadlift - Bigger Stronger Leaner - Community

The Truth About the Deficit Deadlift – Bigger Stronger Leaner – Community

Does it work for you?

Are deficit deadlifts and other deficit lifts worth doing? Are there better alternatives with the same advantages? New info here.

Does deficit training work or not? After working with thousands of clients, my final answer is…it’s tricky. For most people, the payoff isn’t worth the risk for some lifts. Fortunately, there are ways to reap the same benefits without the risk.

What is deficit training?

This is when you increase the range of motion of the exercise. A common example is deadlifting while standing on several planks or platforms. Also, do a lunge with one foot on the box so your back knee has to go down even further.

What are the supposed benefits?

Here is the statement:

  • Increased range of motion: Yes, obviously.

  • Increased tension time: Increased range of motion allows for more intense time. Some people think this works more muscles.

  • Increased Force Production: Powerlifters use deficit deadlifts to improve their power. Some believe that deficits improve barbell speed and muscle fiber response.

  • Add length: With a longer range of motion, you stretch the targeted muscles to a greater extent.

  • Add variety: Of course, choice is good.

What Are the Disadvantages of Deficit Deadlifts?

I’ve seen many trainers try to force their clients into a deficit where they have no business. They are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

First, the deadlift also works the lats, traps, quads, core, and forearms. Unfortunately, deadlifting from a deficit has no additional effect on these muscles. What it can do is a power range of motion that many lifters don’t. Most people don’t even have the flexibility to get into a traditional deadlift position, let alone a deficit.

See where I am in the two images below. A deficit places a greater range of motion requirement on your hips and knees, making it nearly impossible to get into the correct set position.


without fail:

You better pull it off the floor or use trap bar.

Some even say that the deficit improves the setup position. I disagree. It’s much harder to get it right when standing on a plate.

What about the statement about a stronger leg drive? Well, other exercises can match the leg drive and even give better results. In a study that focused on hip and knee dynamics during squats and deadlifts, the authors determined that both exercises help train hip and knee dynamics. (1)

However, squats are a better tool for strengthening knee extension. Deadlifts are slightly better for training hip extension. So, it depends on what you want to accomplish. However, if you want to experiment with leg drives, you can get the same benefits, if not better, from the bar deadlift. This way, you don’t have to use risky positions to start lifting.

Dangerous deficit setups often cause the hips to be lifted too quickly, making it a lower back exercise. Remember that anything with hip/knee flexion beyond 90 degrees is a squat…and that’s what you need for a deficit deadlift.

How bad this looks if your hips go up too fast:

Better Deficit Deadlift Options

If you only need to use deficits, use trap bars for a better setup. To get many of the same benefits, use the straps to adjust resistance:

Some other deficit exercises are also effective:

You’re in a better setup from the start lunge。 You’re also using less weight, so there’s far less risk. These are great options for athletes.

The required liquidity can also vary. If you’re highly mobile, use a higher deficit. The glutes and hamstrings have to work overtime to get the lunge leg back in the box.

If you need more stability, supported releases are a good choice. Ipsilateral loading allows for better recruitment of prime movers, which promotes better force adaptation. (Ipsilateral exercises use the same arm and leg, while contralateral exercises use the opposite arm and leg.) Ipsilateral lifting greatly increases central stability requirements and develops neuromuscular recruitment.

What about other exercises?

Some exercises that work well with flaws (when you’re ready):

single leg hip push

Here, deficits are used strategically:

  • When your hips can comfortably support the weight, start with a single-leg hip thrust.
  • Helps you feel your glutes and hamstrings better due to the increased range of motion.

Make sure your feet are far enough away from your body so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle in the top position. If you find yourself standing up, adjust your posture.

The raised platform allows for a greater range of motion and increased muscle recruitment. Even with only body weight, the additional range of motion required produces an adaptive muscle growth response.

rear foot raised squat

Split squats are one of the best exercises for building leg strength. Adding to the deficit would make it even better.

  • Start with a small 2-4 inch notch with the front foot on the box or mat.
  • Keep your chest straight and your spine neutral, reducing body control.
  • Return to the starting position through the heel of the front foot.
  • Keep a neutral mind.

Just make sure you’re using a deficit. Get on your knees!

One-Arm Kettlebell Push-Ups

There aren’t many good options for deficit upper body workouts if longevity and injury avoidance are your concerns. However, I’m a fan of the one-arm kettlebell pushup:

  • This is a symmetrical test of strength. Staying away from your bench limits is always a good thing.
  • It builds core strength.
  • It improves shoulder stability.
  • This is a closed-chain exercise. We need more of these people in our program.

wrap up

Don’t force a range that you don’t already have. Having a deficit doesn’t automatically mean you get extra benefits. To build strength, it’s all about optimizing force-generating techniques.

refer to

refer to

  1. Choe KH, Coburn JW, Costa PB, Pamukoff DN. Hip and knee dynamics during back squats and deadlifts. J Strength Cond Res. 2021 May 1;35(5):1364-1371. PubMed.


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