Deficit Deadlift

Why Should You do Deficit Deadlifts?

Deficit Deadlifts is a deeper version of your traditional deadift. To make it “deep,” you must stand on an elevation so that you lift the bar from a lower starting position. During a normal ground lift, you can do the right thing and start the movement with your legs, but you can also incorrectly straighten your back directly. In deficit deadlifts, the opportunity to lift directly with the back disappears, so you have to work with the legs so-called “leg drive” at the start. Therefore, the exercise is good for learning the first phase of deadlifting.

Depth also trains the muscles in a more significant movement path. Although the course may not be that much longer, it is the one during the most challenging part of the lift, the start. The mobility demands are therefore more significant in the hamstrings, calves, and back. Not all body types will be able to do the exercise, so be careful. If you can not have a straight back even at the start, you should not do this exercise. We recommend that you master the technique in ordinary deadlifts before testing this version.

Exercise Details for Deficit Deadlift

  • Primary Muscle
    Quads, Lower back, Gluteus
  • Secondary Muscle
    Traps, Middle back, Hamstrings, Forearms
  • Equipment
  • Level


It would help if you got up on an elevation. Stand on a weight plate or a box for this. The height should not be too high; start low. The bar should lie across the center of your feet. Your body weight should rest on the middle of the foot or slightly back towards the heel. Grab the bar with an overhand grip a little wider than shoulder-width. Your upper body will be more tilted forward than with normal deadlifts, but you should still have your hips between your knees and your shoulders at the same height as with deadlifts. However, your shoulders will be located a little bit more in front of your hands in this starting position than when doing normal deadlifts.

Tighten the torso and maintain a neutral back throughout the lift. Just like with a normal deadlift, you should pull the bar up close to your body. The difference now is that you have to pull up the bar the first bit by pressing with the quads, creating a “leg drive.” Therefore, the lift must be done with the legs until the bar reaches the height of your knees, then the movement changes to a more classic ground lift with seat, back, and hips.

Tips for Deficit Deadlift

  • Make sure you can do regular deadlifts before doing this exercise
  • Take less weight than with regular deadlifts
  • Your back should be straight; it may not be, so you need to take a lower chest.
  • Lift with the quads from the start
  • Once the bar has passed your knees, take your back, back thighs, and seat over the movement
  • Your feet should point slightly outwards
  • Your knees should bend outward in the same direction as your feet

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