A few of your questions answered. Lots of stuff on rack pulls and speed Deadlifts!
Hi Andy, Im currently doing low shin deadlifts working up to a set of 5 or 3 reps for speed. Are you a fan of shin deadlifts? I recently pulled 285kg from low shin.Do you think I should be able to pull more from floor ? Thanks, William
Let’s just make it clear what you mean by ‘shin deadlifts’ first of all…
I’ve never heard them called that before but I presume you are referring to Partial Deadlifts, performed through a shorter range of motion than you would do when pulling from the
I am definitely a fan of these movements and I’ll explain why in just a second. But first, let me just congratulate on pulling 285kg. That’s a good number (over 600lbs) and the answer
to whether or not you should be able to pull more from the floor, is NO!
When you start pulling from the floor you will have to pull the bar further than when pulling from shin height, so the weight you can lift will go down a bit.
But that’s ok, it’s the same for everyone. One of my training partners hit 285kg from just below the knee and pulled 260kg in a Powerlifting meet.
Tom Martin, (a Deadlift freak from the UK) who has a 352.kg competition Deadlift to his name at just 82.5kg bodyweight has pulled over 410kg (900lbs) through a partial range of motion.
So the bottom line is… when you significantly reduce the range of motion on the Deadlift (or any lift for that matter) you will lift more weight than you can through a full range.
Let me show you how to maximise your results from Partial movement training on the Deadlift and skyrocket your pulling power.
To see me training and watch me pulling partial Deadlifts, have a look at this (it’ll give you some great ideas for your own Deadlift training program):
How To Set Up Your Equipment For Partial Deadlifts
You have 3 options for performing partial Deadlifts. Here they are:
1. Pull from the pins in a power rack.
Just set the pins up at the height you wish to pull from and perform your Deadlifts. Just be sure to use a cheap bar because it’s very easy to bend your bar when performing this exercise.
2. Pull from Blocks.
Get 2 pieces of wood that are even in height, width and depth and put them under the plates on either side of the bar. Then pull from here. I’ve used this method throughout my career and favour pulling from just below knee height (any higher is just an ego stroke and can burn you out).
3. Pull from Rubber Mats
Buy some mats and put the plates on the mats to pull. This is a great way to vary the height you pull from (just like you would do in a power rack) but it has 2 advantages over pulling in a rack:
- you can’t bend your bar
- when you start pulling off mats the bar flexes the same way it does off the floor (this is not true when pulling out of the rack)
Deadlift Training Programs Using Partial Deadlifts
If you want to pull a big Deadlift from the floor you must pull from the floor sometimes. If you only pull through a partial range of motion your lockout strength will be good but your strength off the floor will be poor.
So, you can either do Partial pulls for a few weeks and then switch back to pulling from the floor. Or you can alternate on a weekly basis. Or you can pull twice a week: heavy from the rack on day 1 and speed work from the floor on day 2.
The only limit to Deadlift training possibilites is your imagination. You just have to find out what works for you. Also, be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
If you are very strong at LOCKOUT, but weak off the floor, you may not want to do much partial work. (In fact, deficit pulls may suit you better).
However, if you are strong off the floor and weak at lockout, then partial Deadlifts could skyrocket your strength.
Experiment and find out what works. One final word on pulling through a partial range. KEEP IT REAL. By this I mean pull from knee height or lower. Don’t load the bar 200 pounds over your max and move it an inch. It’s a waste of time and could cause you to overtrain.
(Save the short ranges of motion for grip work).
So there’s some ideas for how to successfully use Partial Movement Training on the Deadlift. Pulling from blocks, mats or the power rack can really build your strength when you know how to do it right.
SPEED work for the Deadlift
Speed work involves pulling a sub-maximal weight for 1 to 3 reps as explosively as possible. I use this technique a lot in my Deadlift training. It’s super important for strength athletes and anyone who wants to run faster, jump higher, punch or kick harder and throw further.
And I always do speed work from the floor on Deadlifts. There’s no point pulling half you max from blocks. It aint going to do much. Save the partial Deadlifts for heavy stuff and pull for speed from the floor. See how to do it here:
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