Practice pause deadlifts for significant strength gain and a great addition to your typical barbell lifting routine. The paused deadlift is a slight variation of the basic deadlift maneuver.
When you pull the bar off the floor, somewhere before the bar reaches your knee, add a pause in your lift. Many lifters have experienced a massive improvement in numerous muscle groups from this simple trick.
1. Improve Regular Deadlift With Pause Deadlifts
Deadlifts are one of the main pillars of barbell training, and adding a few reps of pause deadlifts will work a wide variety of muscles. Significant strengthening in the quads, glutes, traps, abdominals, obliques, and hamstrings result from the pause deadlift maneuver, to name a few.
If you detect quad weakness during your regular deadlift, implementing the pause will help you strengthen the weak point.
It’s a specific way to improve your normal deadlift because the bottom of the lift, which is most lifter’s weakest part of the lift, is targeted for improvement.
Reach your maximal weight, and increase your lockout strength by mixing in a few sessions of pause deadlifts.
2. Use Less Weight, Be More Effective
One of my favorite aspects of pause deadlifts is getting an overall effective workout and not using too much weight on the bar.
The pause deadlift emphasizes form, and the pause in your lift with each rep will force you to use the proper amount of weight.
Like many folks, I tend to have goals of more weight on the bar for my deadlifts. Why is it always more, more, more? Human nature, I guess.
Trying to improve your one rep max or just the previous workout isn’t bad; in fact, it’s what makes us better.
But overloading the bar will diminish our form, causing a less effective workout. Not to mention increased risk for injury.
Executing pause deadlifts forces you to be realistic with the weight on the bar. It’s a great reminder that it’s not how much you are lifting but what you are doing with that weight in your hand that creates strength gains.
3. Pause Deadlifts – It Only Takes 2 Seconds
Once you begin your deadlift at the start position and begin moving the bar off the ground, make a pause before the bar reaches the knee. The bar should remain close to the shins, just like a regular deadlift.
When the bar is held motionless during your rep, it forces you to tighten everything, including your lats.
When the bar stops moving vertically, pause the lift and count to two. Then, begin the lift again, just like a traditional deadlift. You can extend the pause beyond two seconds, but longer pauses are not the goal. Two seconds is all it takes!
The time under tension is what’s important for hypertrophy. And the pause deadlift technique adds just a few extra seconds of muscle stress and delivers huge benefits.
That’s all the time it takes to improve your next lifting session dramatically. Targeting the weakest part of the deadlift with the pause is an incredibly effective and efficient way to become stronger over time.
It’s amazing what simple adjustments can do when training your muscles.
If you’re just starting out, mix in a few dumbell pause deadlifts with super light weights, just so you can experience the movements without the chance of injury.
Where is Your Sticking Point?
If you’re focused on increasing your deadlift, pause deadlifts will help. Other variations will also do the trick. But first, we must find our sticking point in your range of motion.
The two most common sticking points in the deadlift are just above the knees and pulling the bar off the ground. Here’s the challenge. Not everyone has the same sticking point. So find yours, and then work to get “unstuck.”
If your sticking point is getting the bar off the ground, here are a few maneuvers that might strengthen your legs.
- Reverse Nordic Curls
- Deficit Pulls
- Halting Deadlift
- Belt Squats
- Pause Deadlift
- Touch & Go Deadlift
- Barbell Row
- Romanian Deadlift
- Pause Squats
- Rack Pull
READ more about lifting and strength gain methods –
Benefits of Deadlifts
The list of deadlift benefits is long. It’s no wonder the standard deadlift is one of the big four lifting maneuvers to build total-body strength, along with the bench press, squat, and press.
From head to toe, deadlifts strengthen your entire posterior chain and build overall strength in many other muscles throughout your body.
Pause deadlifting can even be used for bodybuilding, strongman competitions, and powerlifting. Variations of the deadlift can help develop strength in the most expert-level lifters.
With the Sumo deadlift, your stance will be wider than usual. Grab the bar with hands inside your thighs rather than outside of the legs like a conventional deadlift.
A double overhand grip, mixed grip, or hook grip will work, whatever feels comfortable. Studies show the sumo deadlift is beneficial for lifters with less deadlifting experience and a longer torso and limb length.
Some sumo pullers enjoy deadlifts from their strongest position and a more comfortable position to pull weight on a barbell.
A narrower arm position and wider stance tend to put less pressure on both the lower back and upper back compared to conventional deadlifts. For even more variation, try the deficit sumo deadlift or the kettlebell sumo deadlift.
A discussion on deadlift strength training wouldn’t be complete without mention of the deficit deadlift. Read more about this popular alternative lift here.
It’s another great lift for strengthening the low back and the best deadlift move to try when your workout is getting stale.
READ more about deadlift variations –
Additional Resources –
Long-Term Adaptations in the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift – PubMed,NIH.gov
The Minimum Effective Training Dose, Powerlifters – Frontiers.org