Touch And Go Deadlifts versus Dead Stop Deadlifts

Posted on 06 Jul 2014 18:14

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Touch and go deadlifts are the subject of numerous YouTube videos and articles. Many lifters see this as an alternative method to "regular" deadlifts, and still others think of it as a standard way of training the lift.

The deadlift gets its name from the bar (or other weight) being lifted from a 'dead' stop off the floor, and was traditionally known as the dead-weight lift. This means that between every rep the bar is allowed to come to a complete stop and there is at least a small pause before the next lift is initiated.

Touch-n-go deadlifts, instead, are done very quickly and the bar only touches the floor momentarily, which, when it comes to heavy weights means the bar is bounced violently off the floor. For this reason you might hear some lifters calling these bouncing deadlifts as opposed to dead stop deadlifts.

In this LiftBig video talk and article I give my opinion on this practice, and whether or not it is useful. Watch the video below or watch it on YouTube. Below is the written version of what is said in the video.




We've all seen videos of these guys lifting 600 to 700 on deadlifts, with weights very close to their maximal strength, where their bouncing the weights off the floor. That action, bouncing the weights off the floor, is a touch and go deadlift. I am very much against touch and go deadlifts.

When you're doing touch and go deadlifts, you're opening yourself up to certain injuries because you're doing this movement with weights very close to your max and you're doing it in a rush. So, whenever you're doing something in haste, and you're focus is not on performing the deadlift but is on getting as many reps done as possible, it takes just a small amount of deviation to result in an injury.

The bar might move a little bit to the left or the right by an inch. Or, while bouncing the weights, one side of the bar might bounce unevenly. It just takes something small like that and you're going to end up hurting yourself. So, I know that when we lift heavy weights, we're opening ourselves up to injury in any case. That risk is always there. But I think by doing touch and go deadlifts you're increasing the likelihood of getting hurt. I am against them for that reason.

Another reason why I'm against them is because I believe that, for example, just doing 315 pounds for seven dead stop reps is going to take you a lot further than doing 350 for seven reps bouncing them off the floor. And, I'm not talking about where you have to formally time your rest between deadlifts reps. I think that if you just put the bar down — by the time you put the bar down — you exhale a little; you inhale a little; you brace your core; you get ready to lift again: I think all these small, small things that you're going to do means there is enough of a pause between deadlift reps to make sure that each rep is from a complete dead stop. The weight is dead on the floor. That's why it's called a deadlift.

So, I'm very much against touch and go deadlifts from an injury perspective. but, I'm also against them because I think in terms of progress and, in terms of getting maximum strength or adding weight to your one rep max they are do not do justice to that.

There is another reason not to do touch and go deadlifts. This may not apply to everybody. A lot of you may even disagree, or you may not have even ever experienced something like this. But, most of us, I think, work out in commercial gyms. There aren't as many powerlifting gyms as their should be where it is Okay to lift heavy weights. Most commercial gyms don't want you to lift heavy weights. They don't want the kind of clientele that's going to come in and deadlift 500, 600 pounds — even 400 pounds. They don't want people like that. So, when this preconceived notion exists that guys that lift heavy weights are bad for the gym and that those who lift heavy weights cause destruction of gym property and you show up and you start doing touch and go deadlifts where you're banging heavy weights on the floor, you're kind of perpetuating the myth that we're a bunch of neanderthals. Although some of us like to be neanderthals, but you get my point.

Every single strength coach right now is talking about how the sport of powerlifting is growing. And, I'm sure that more and more people are turning up at powerlifting and strongman meets and strength training is becoming more and more popular…I get all that. But, commercial gyms, they don't want people like that. So, this is something to keep in mind, and, like I said, it may not apply to everybody.

To summarize once again: Touch and go deadlifts should not be done because they open you up for injuries, and if you just approach each lift as its own, and if you're able to do, for example, seven reps, then seven reps done in a dead stop fashion will take you much further in terms of your maximal strength than bouncing 350 off the floor seven times. So, just think about that.

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