Deficit Deadlift (Deficit Pull)

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Lower Back
Secondary Muscle(s) Glutes, Middle Back, Hamstrings, QuadsAbdominals
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Pull

Deficit Deadlift Instruction

  • Find a platform, mats, or plates you can stack & stand on that are 1-3 inches tall.
    • You do not want a deficit of more than 3 inches. 
  • Be in a strong athletic position: knees flexed, core and glutes activated, chest up, and shoulders back. 
    • Rib cage set over your pelvis with your abs/obliques engaged.
  • Have the bar positioned over your shoelaces.
  • Feet are just inside shoulder-width.
    • Set your feet as if you are about to jump as high as possible.
  • With your knees slightly bent, tighten your mid-section and hinge at your hips to grab the barbell.
    • Maintain a neutral spine throughout, never rounding or arching your back.
  • Grip the bar just outside your knees.
  • Re-tighten and engage your body for the lift. You are trying to take all the "slack" out of your body. Imagine pulling your hips into proper position.
    • Raise your hips slightly then lower
    • Activate your upper back & lats by trying to break the barbell with your hands.
    • Screw your feet into the floor.
    • Take a deep breath to brace your core.
  • The barbell should be underneath or level with your chest. Arms are fully extended.
    • Neck is in a neutral position.
  • Drive your feet through the floor and stand up. 
  • Maintain your core tightness throughout the movement.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Keeping your knees slightly bent and core tight, hinge at the hips to lower the weight back to the starting position.
    • You can release/drop the weight once it is past your knees.


  • For a more extensive look at the deadlift, read this piece about the biomechanics of it.
  • Make sure the plates you are using have the diameter of a 45lb plate (450mm).
  • Avoid arching your back excessively. This is false sense of core stability.
  • You can employ a mixed or a standard pronated grip. 
  • Do not "look up". You want to maintain a neutral neck position.
  • Keep the bar as close to your body as possible
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