My New Favorite Deadlift Accessory Exercise: The Paused Deficit Deadlift

by Jordan Syatt December 18, 2014


I’m so freaking excited!

See, I love deadlifts. 

But that’s not what I’m excited about. I mean…who doesn’t love deadlifts?

I’m excited because on my quest to deadlift 4x my bodyweight (530lbs at a bodyweight of 132lbs) I recently discovered my brand new favorite deadlift accessory exercise.

I’ve been using this movement extensively over the past 4-months and I truly believe it’s one of the major reasons I was recently able to pull an all-time best 535lb deadlift for 2 reps.

The best part?

It felt pretty easy.

So what’s my brand new favorite deadlift accessory exercise?

The Pause Deficit Deadlifts

A combination of pause and deficit deadlifts, this drill is extraordinary at improving:

  • speed and power off the floor
  • strength off the floor
  • lockout strength
  • lat recruitment at lockout
  • and general technique

Want to see what it looks like?

Here’s a set of me performing 5 reps at 300lbs.

Performance & Programming Tips

1. How much weight should you use?

Anywhere between 40-75% 1RM with both of these recommendations being on the “extreme” end.

Personally, I prefer to stay between 50-70% 1RM and focus on using this drill as a way to perfect my technique without accruing too much volume. 

Keep it light and focus on maintaining perfect form.

2. How large should the deficit be?

No more than 2-inches. 

Some lifters think it’s badass/extreme/more effective to use huge deficits (4+ inches) but, in my opinion, that’s a waste of time.

A deficit of 1-2 inches is more than enough to illicit a sufficient training effect without needlessly increasing the risk of injury.

3. How long should you pause?

Anywhere between 1-3 seconds.

Keep in mind, the longer you pause the more stressful the lift is going to be. That being the case, as you increase the length of your pause (up to 3 full seconds) it’d be wise to consider reducing the total weight lifted. 

4. Where should you pause?

Below the knees. 

It could be 2-inches below or .5-inch below. It’s honestly arbitrary and won’t make a big difference either way.

Just make sure to get a solid pause below your knees prior to initiating the second part of the lift.

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