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Thread: Paused deadlifts

  1. #1
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    Default Paused deadlifts

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    Have any of yall ever programed paused deadlifts as a medium day? If so, did they help your deadlifts any?

  2. #2
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    What is a "paused deadlift"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    What is a "paused deadlift"?
    It's a deadlift in which the lifter breaks the bar off the floor, usually stops below the knee for a beat, and finishes the rep.

  4. #4
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    Pull to the shins and hold for a sec then lock out. https://youtu.be/CMqyqiTVVlo?si=o0uUkkcriIfXnUcq

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    Why?

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    Could it be useful for a lifter who is struggling with the first few inches off the ground? Or maybe as a medium pull day for a set or two if one is focusing on the deadlift.

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    How?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Griffin727 View Post
    Could it be useful for a lifter who is struggling with the first few inches off the ground? Or maybe as a medium pull day for a set or two if one is focusing on the deadlift.
    Like haltings?

  9. #9
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    I've heard of these being used temporarily as a corrective measure for having trouble keeping the bar against the shins.

    I had an SSC recommend paused squats to me to correct my technique when I was squatting too low, some time ago, which worked pretty quickly. I've used paused DLs as a similar tool - not so much a strength builder as a lifter corrector. If you can't barrel through your error, you have to correct it. A software fix, not a hardware one, if you will...

    I would imagine that a real-time, in person coach can accomplish the same thing with heavy primary lifts, of course, so maybe that's where these modifications are useful, for self-sufficiency?

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Paused deadlifts are often thought of an "underloaded" variation. And anecdotally, they certainly seem to "feel" harder than an unpaused deadlift. It's not clear exactly why this is. A paused squat or bench press is harder because it eliminates the stretch reflex, but there is no stretch reflex in the deadlift.

    You might compare it to a paused, or hang clean. However, this is not even universally regarded as an underloaded variation: some Olympic lifting coaches claim that one should be able to hang clean MORE than one's full clean. This is perhaps untrue, but it's worth considering that some people observe this, whereas almost no one does for the paused deadlift. Second, when it IS an underloaded variation, it's probably due to having a shorter ROM over which to accelerate the weight.

    The deadlift naturally divides itself into two phases: the knee extension off the ground, and the hip extension to lockout. This is roughly where the "halting/rack pull" pair is divided. The paused in the paused deadlift is effectively in between these two phases: it is a rack pull which is pulled to the pin position by the lifter.

    However, something about these two phases makes them somehow un-deconvolveable. There's a few other places this shows up. The position of the shoulders in the clean and deadlift is one of them: when you plan to lock the bar out at the hips, your back angle becomes more vertical than when you plan to accelerate it rapidly perhaps the knees. It also shows up in the rack pull and the halting: most people can rack pull more than their deadlift the first time, but haltings take a little time to get used to because the goal is to "hold" yourself over the bar, and therefore hold your back angle more horizontal higher up the legs.

    I would suspect this is where the potential to make the exercise "harder" comes from: if you are planning to "pause" the bar below the knee, you will hold your back angle horizontal, because "holding" the pause position requires the muscles involved (I would guess the lats and the hamstrings, but will need to think about it further) to work too hard in the "vertical back" intermediate position. So the movement ends up doing something similar to a clean grip deadlift or halting, in that it "stops" hip extension and works the lats harder.

    The variation in loading being so unstraightforward makes its use for training...questionable. How much harder is an 80% paused deadlift than a 90% deadlift? Is either one working? They certainly don't have any advantage over the clean and the row. But it's an interesting special case of the movement that may provide some insight into the deadlift, if one is inclined towards theorizing.

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