Should You Drop Your Deadlift?
We do a lot of deadlifts in our training at Heavyweights Training Center and I do a lot of them in my own training. One question I get asked a lot is: “Why Do We Drop The Deadlift?”
After not being able to do deadlifts for almost 10 years because of a herniated disc in my lower back (which actually happened doing deadlifts), deadlifts and I have a long history of good times and bad times. While I feel deadlifts are one of, if not the best exercise, period, it also has some big drawbacks.
Deadlifts are a double edged sword. There is no better “bang for your buck” exercise than deadlifts, but when it comes to injuries….well, I have seen more injuries from deadlifts and deadlift variations than anything else. This gets especially tricky for athletes. When it comes to athletics and performance, the deadlift is a great exercise. However, it can really impact your recovery and it can cause your body and joints to take a beating. If you’re an athlete, the last thing you want to do is to go into your practices or games sore and achy. This is not a good thing.
The trouble with deadlifts occurs for a few reasons.
The biggest one is that anyone can deadlift. Just go pick up the weight. Of course, if you haven’t been taught how to deadlift correctly, sooner or later this is going to catch up to you with an injury. It’s an easy exercise to do, it’s not an easy exercise to do right.
This is key.
At Heavyweights, depending on our programs, classes and the reason we are doing deadlifts, we will mostly- drop the deadlift.
I don’t mean that we drop it from our programs, deadlifts should be pretty much in every program, what I mean is that we actually DROP the weight at the top of the lift.
Now if you train at a standard gym, they won’t like you doing this, and they might actually ask you to leave, so please be advised. However at HWTC, we make lots of noise, and we encourage the dropping of deadlifts for many reasons.
NOTE : In a Power Lifting Competition You Can NOT Drop The Deadlift. This ONLY applies to training in a gym.
Here are 4 Reasons Why We Drop the Deadlift.
1. Deadlifts are the best and worst exercise. When it comes to my own training and my clients’ training, first and foremost I don’t want them injured. I hate injuries. Deadlifts are one of the worst for injuries. The ECCENTRIC part of the deadlift (the lowering) is where a lot of people get injured. By dropping the deadlift at the top, you remove the eccentric portion of the lift therefore reducing the chance of injury.
2. Dropping the deadlift is very beneficial for people doing our programs, or any athletes I train who do sports and athletics. If you do a hard deadlift workout, you can be sore, slow and achy for 2-5 days depending on your recovery ability, workout intensity and other factors. My goal as a coach is to keep someone strong, have them perform at their best and not get hurt or injured. By dropping the deadlift you will reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) dramatically.
3. When I deadlift, I like to think of my sets as being all single reps. For example, if my set calls for 5 reps of deadlifts I consider this to be 5 singles, not 5 reps. Touch & go deadlifts can cause a lot of aches and injuries so I try to not do them often. Every single rep on a deadlift I like to stand tall, reset, and go through my set up.
4. Avoiding fatigue and breakdown. Most injuries happen when form breaks down, and with deadlifts it’s an exhausting and demanding exercise. By reducing the lowering of the deadlift you will not fatigue as much, keeping your form tight and reducing your chance of injuries. If I am doing deadlifts heavy, they are always the first exercise in my training for that day. I always want my hardest and most demanding exercises done when I am fresh and not tired. I never go to absolute failure in training and avoiding technical and physical breakdown is very important for recovery, strength and preventing injuries.
There are some drawbacks for dropping the deadlift to consider. For example, it’s true that by removing the lowering portion of the deadlift you also remove the part of the lift that casues the most muscle damage, the negative, so if you are trying to build muscle dropping the deadlift is not as good as a controlled tight lowering. So balance out both depending on your training goals.
Just remember that if you are lowering the deadlift, do it in a tight controlled manner. Tension and bracing are key to keeping your lower back strong and safe when deadlifting.
Putting it into training:
Here is a clip of some of the elite girls I train. Some of these are university atheletes, competitive powerlifters and fitness pros. So the last thing I want to do in a class is make them too sore or get them injured!
Notice how in the deadlift ladder how they drop after every rep, This way, the next day they won’t be sore at all and it will reduce their chance of injury.
At my last powerlifting competition because of powerlifting rules you are not allowed to drop the deadlift. You have to keep your hands on the bar until the end of the lift, however if you drop it and maintain control it’s acceptable.
I hope this article helps you with your training and of course your deadlifts.
Please take a second to “like” my blog and be sure to check with your gym rules before you drop the deadlift :).
Looking to improve your Deadlift even more? Check out my “10 Tips For A Stronger Deadlift“
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it helped you.
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