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Deficit Deadlift Guide: How to Do, Benefits, Muscles Worked & Technique


Deficit Deadlift Guide: How to Do, Benefits, Muscles Worked & Technique
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The deficit deadlift is a powerful exercise that can help you build a strong and muscular lower body. It puts extra strain on your hamstrings, glutes, and other muscles in the posterior chain, which helps improve your overall strength, power, and athleticism. When done correctly, it can also help increase your range of motion, making you more flexible and able to move better.

This article covers everything about deficit deadlift exercise so that anyone willing to add this movement to their workout plan would know the correct method, implications, and risks. Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Who Can Do a Deficit Deadlift?

The deficit deadlift is unique because it is a more advanced exercise than other variations of deadlifts, such as the Romanian or the sumo deadlift. It should be used selectively by lifters with particular goals.

That is because while it can help improve hip mobility and posterior-chain development, it requires an increased level of coordination and body awareness that not all trainees possess.

If you’re looking to incorporate the deficit deadlift into your workout routine, you must ensure a firm understanding of your abilities and limitations before attempting the new lift.

You can also consult a professional trainer for proper guidance about performing deficit deadlifts and weight selection.

Deficit Deadlift: Execution of the Movement

The deficit deadlift is performed by standing on a raised platform, usually a few inches or centimetres tall. It’s also important to note that this lift may involve additional stress on the core muscles, joints, and ligaments due to the greater range of movement. Knowing these facts will help ensure a safe and effective outcome when executing the deficit deadlift.

Now let’s have a look at the step-by-step instructions on how to perform deficit deadlifts properly.

  • Start with a hip-width stance, placing the barbell on the ground in front of you.
  • With your feet firmly on the floor and your torso kept straight, bend down to grab the barbell using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Your hands should be placed just outside of your legs.
  • Keep your arms straight and ensure your back is flat throughout the exercise.
  • Brace your core and use your glutes to lift the barbell off of the floor, maintaining a neutral spine alignment throughout the movement.
  • When you reach hip height, squeeze your shoulder blades together and use your glutes to push your hips forwards.
  • As you lock out at the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and hold for a second or two before slowly lowering the barbell back to the ground in a controlled manner.
  • When completed, place the barbell back on the ground and stand up straight, repeating the exercise for reps.
  • Once you have completed your set, stretch out your back and glutes thoroughly before moving on to the next exercise.

What Muscles are Worked in a Deficit Deadlift?

The primary muscles targeted in a deficit deadlift are the same as any other type. It targets the lower body mainly, while the back and core are also involved. For a deeper understanding, here are the muscles worked during a deficit deadlift.

Gluteus Maximus

The largest and strongest of the three gluteal muscles, this powerhouse helps extend your hip when you’re lifting. It also stabilizes your lower back, making it an essential part of the lift.


Composed of four different muscles, your quads help extend your knee when performing a deadlift. When combined with your glutes, they can generate an incredible amount of power and strength.


Composed of three separate muscles, your hamstrings are responsible for hip extension and knee flexion. They help stabilize your lower body during the deadlift, helping you to lift heavier weights safely.


This powerful muscle group helps stabilize your spine and neck when performing a deadlift. It also assists in pulling the weight off of the floor.

Core Muscles

Your core is an essential stabilizer during the lift, helping to maintain your balance and form. It also helps to transfer force from your lower body to your upper body.


Your lats are responsible for pulling the weight off the floor while keeping your shoulders safe. They’re also crucial for maintaining a neutral spine and keeping your back from rounding.


Your forearms play an essential role in the lift, transferring force from your hands to the barbell. Stronger forearms can help you to generate more power during the deadlift.

To get the most out of a deficit deadlift, you must make sure you’re engaging all of these muscle groups. The more muscles you can involve, the more powerful your lift will be.

Tips to Help You Maximize Your Gains From the Movement

Deficit deadlift is an excellent exercise that can work multiple muscles at a time and offer a range of other fitness benefits simultaneously. One can even increase the advantages of deficit deadlift exercise by using some simple yet effective tips and techniques. Let’s look at how to get the most out of this move.

  • Keep your arms straight as you lift the weight, avoid rounding your back and keep your chin up.
  • Don't go too heavy too soon - start light and gradually build up the weight as you become more comfortable with the movement.
  • Utilize a weight belt to help protect your lower back and support the movement.
  • Maintain an even tension throughout the lift, and avoid jerking or bouncing the weight off the platform.
  • Make sure you don't overextend your hips as you come up from the deficit deadlift, which can lead to injury.
  • If you are new to the deficit deadlift, use a shorter platform until you get more comfortable with the movement.
  • Make sure you keep your breath even and consistent throughout each repetition.
  • Using proper gym gear for weightlifting is essential for eliminating injury risks. So ensure that you have weightlifting gloves, knee wraps, and elbow wraps.
  • Lastly, focus on using perfect form throughout the exercise to ensure you get the most out of it! It will also save you from injuries.

Benefits of Deficit Deadlifts

The deficit deadlift is a powerful exercise that can help build muscle and strength in the lower body. It can be used as an accessory lift or as a workout routine. If you are considering adding this to your daily workout plan, here are some benefits of deficit deadlifts to motivate you!

Improves Strength and Power

The main benefit of the deficit deadlift is that it increases the range of motion, making the muscles work harder and increasing gains in strength and power.

Targets Weak Points in the Posterior Chain

The deficit deadlift can target weak points in the posterior chain, such as the glutes and hamstrings. These areas can become stronger and more developed by performing this exercise with a greater range of motion.

As an accessory lift or part of a workout routine, a deficit deadlift is an excellent tool for developing strength, power, and overall muscle size. It can also be used to help improve balance, coordination, and stability, which are all critical for any athlete or weightlifter.

Helps Fix Technique

The deficit deadlift is a great way to work on technique and form, as it requires more concentration due to its range of motion. This can lead to better performance in other lifts and exercises. The deficit deadlift is a great exercise that can help build muscle, strength, and power in the lower body.


The deficit deadlift is a highly beneficial exercise that should not be overlooked. It can help build muscle and strength in the lower body and add to any workout routine. Increasing the range of motion and targeting weak points can lead to greater gains in muscular development and improved performance.

Additionally, the deficit deadlift is a great way to work on technique and form, which can lead to better results when lifting heavier weights. All these benefits make the deficit deadlift an essential exercise for any weightlifter or athlete.

By including this exercise in your program, you can take your workouts to the next level and maximize your gains. So if you’re looking for a way to build muscle and strength in the lower body, look no further than the deficit deadlift.


1. How heavy should you go for Deficit Deadlift?

When performing deficit deadlifts, you should choose a weight appropriate for your strength and experience level. It is important to start light so that you can focus on perfecting your form. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, gradually increase the amount of weight used.

Generally speaking, it's recommended that beginners lift around 60-70% of their one-rep max when performing deficit deadlifts. Experienced lifters may use up to 85-90% of their one-rep max. It's important to remember that with deficit deadlifts, you will be lifting more weight than usual to create the necessary challenge, so start light and work your way up.

2. How important is form while performing deficit deadlifts?

It is important to remember that form should be your top priority when performing deficit deadlifts, even if it means having to decrease the amount of weight used. Poor form can lead to injury, so make sure you use the proper technique before attempting heavier loads.

3. What is the difference between a deadlift and a deficit deadlift?

The main difference between a deadlift and a deficit deadlift is the amount of range of motion. A regular deadlift starts with your feet on the ground, while a deficit deadlift requires you to start with your feet elevated on plates or blocks to increase your range of motion.

This makes it more challenging and increases the strength and stability needed to perform the lift, which can help you increase your overall muscle size and strength.

Additionally, a deficit deadlift will target different parts of the posterior chain than a regular deadlift because of the increased range of motion.

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