Today’s discussion is based on the different types of deadlifts. Obviously there are various types of primary deadlifts i.e. conventional, sumo, and the strongman stance that we all know. However, instead we are going to cover the other variations seen in social media such as touch and go deadlifts and pause reps.
Touch and Go Deadlifts
The cheater way to deadlift, right? This idea is about as useless as those who believe sumo is cheating. Sure, you can just dislike the use of a deadlift variant, but no need to say they are cheating or unhelpful just because you don’t agree.
I digress though. First let’s cover the touch and go deadlift. This version has several useful benefits:
- Increases Muscle Growth
- Improves Strength
- Improves Grip Strength
Muscles are developed best through the eccentric phase of a lift, which regular deadlifts don’t always focus on for many lifters.
This exercise is not to see how hard you can slam the weight into the floor. That’s what makes people believe this is a useless exercise. You simply allow the weight to tap the floor like you’re giving it a kiss, and then pull the weight back up.
Stop and go deadlifts are when you pull the bar from the floor, and once lowered you stop and reset for another pull. Essentially your x5 reps in the set are honestly a bunch of singles with no rest.
The issue with this is that you focus only on the concentric phase, which is when you’re in the position to pull from the ground in terms of the deadlift. This is good for pure strength and explosion, but not the best for muscular growth.
Aside from this, when you touch and go you also improve grip strength. The entire set you’re grasping the bar firmly and never releasing until the end of the set. Stop and go deadlifts, many reset grip as well, so this is another advantage to consider for the later variation.
Lastly, time under tension is the goal for touch and go deadlifts. The more time under tension means not just muscular growth, but true strength training as well. Generally touch and go can be used with heavier weights around 70-90% of your max pull.
The lowering portion of the deadlift, also referred to as the negative or eccentric phase, is greatly could for improving growth and strength in the quads, hammies, and lower back.
Powerlifting of course is focusing on that one rep pull, but having stronger muscles and central nervous system is what allows all the newer lifters to pull even more weight. Many are going beyond 800lbs easily, and it’s not just from practicing raw singles all day.
This is an alternative reason for incorporating touch and go deadlifts.
Deadlift Pause Reps
Another great deadlift variation to consider adding into your training program is the pause rep. As the name implies, you are literally pausing for 2-3 seconds at around mid-shin level while pulling the weight up.
The primary reason for practicing the use of pause reps is to get your lats involved more, which is a primary muscle used for deadlifts.
Most assume it’s just lower back, quads, and hamstrings. However, your lats and traps play a vital role in the deadlift, and you can tell looking at a powerlifter’s physique.
Pause reps are not really intended to be performed with heavy resistances, but rather around 50-60% (in the start at least). There’s a lot of stress placed on the lower back while paused with heavy weight.
So don’t get crazy and keep the weight being used reasonable.
Other benefits received through pause reps are:
- Grip Strength
- Time Under Tension
Grip strength definitely gets improved since you stop mid pull and have to hold that weight for a few seconds. Doesn’t sound like a long time, but doing them after sets of heavy pulls you will think differently.
Time under tension is again a determining factor with this type of deadlift. Having to pause with the weight not only increases time in general, but the other concept to this is more attention on muscle building.
Rack and Block Pulls
Now it’s time to take away portions of the deadlift to work on concentric strength and lockout. Rack pulls and block pulls are basically the same, but just noting the equipment used to separate the height of the bar from the floor.
Both are as their names imply. Rack pulls means you pull the bar from the safety handles on a power rack. Then block pulling is when the weight is on top of blocks that are set at various heights.
The point is to have the bar height placed shin to just below the knee.
This takes away the necessity to pull the weight strictly from the ground and requires pure concentric strength as you will not have much of a negative to the lowering of the bar.
You should be able to do more weight than you use for regular deadlifts. For example, I can pull 445lbs 3×3 smoothly, but rack pulls I do 3×3 with 495lbs. or more.
These also assist with improving lower back strength, and should not be incorporated with the touch and go pull.
Deficit deadlifts are when you place your footing higher from the floor with something such as a block, platform, or even a weight plate. The intention is to make your body spend more time pulling the weight for a longer distance, which hopefully makes your body used to pulling heavier loads easier.
This is one exercise you don’t necessarily have to try if you’re a tall and lengthy type of body. The end re
sult may be injury instead of deadlift improvement, so deficit pulls usually work best for those not so long.
I’m not saying this applies to all, but just a heads up to give them a try for a bit and see if they work well for you. Hell that concept applies to all these different types of deadlifts.
None are required, but they help change up your body’s workout and may boost your lifting potential greatly.
Deficit deadlifts should be performed with 50-60% your max pull before trying out heavier weights. You may need some time getting used to pulling this way as you have to get deep into the squat position to prevent this from being a straight up stiff leg pull.
Conclusion: Try Out Different Types of Deadlifts
Just give these different types of deadlifts a try and see what works for you and what just feels too weird. Give them some time before judging too quickly as they can take some getting used too. Each exercise after being incorporated into my training programs have helped boost my lifts greatly.
I’d say the main reason being muscle building and giving my body new things to do, thus preventing it from becoming lazy and lethargic to another day of doing deadlifts.
Remember, form and practice before weight. Stay strong fambam.
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