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July 20, 2022

Why & How To Use Deadlifts From a Deficit In Strength Training

Why & How To Use Deadlifts From a Deficit In Strength Training with Annie Miller

Why use a deficit? Though today’s post is specific to deadlifts, I am going to mention deficits in a general sense as well. Simply because I want you to conceptualize how you can use deficits across all your training.

Pulling (deadlift) or pressing (push up) from a deficit increases the range of motion by raising your base (surface) but allowing your body or the weight to pass lower than said surface. There is technically no rule of thumb that I am aware of for the ideal depth of a deficit but I typically use 3-4 inches depending on the exercise.

This looks like standing on a plate or two for deads (or a proper deficit box), or push ups from dumbbells or two plates (one under each hand).

See videos below for deficit deadlift examples.

Conventional Deadlift from a deficit
Sumo Deadlift from a deficit

In short, the use of a deficit increase the range of motion when compared to their normal, non-deficit versions. Larger range of motion has potential to recruit more muscle fibers or different muscle fibers (given a new stretch/range for the working muscle), gain strength in a new range, and possibly build more muscle (due to new/more fibers recruited).

Beyond possible new strength ranges, and muscle gains, implementing deficit work can be a fun way to spice up your typical strength or hypertrophy training protocol. It can be a way to elicit progressive overload via the change in range of motion. Yes…while many people may think that load and volume are the main ways to progress programming, range of motion or angle at which a muscle is stimulated is 100% an option for progressive overload.

You ever used deficits in your training?

It is not at all restricted to deadlift. As stated, you can use them with push ups, or even handstand push ups as seen in CrossFit style workouts.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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