A Long Way To Pull: The Deficit Deadlift

At my height, 6’9″, I’m already at a disadvantage and the deficit makes it that much harder. Is there a benefit to it or am I just a sucker for punishment? Let me share some insight not only into why I personally find them to be my favorite assistance movement for the deadlift but how they can benefit you as well.


In the simplest terms a deficit deadlift is when you place yourself into a position that moves the bar’s starting position further away from you (vertically). That object you stand on can be a box or a weightlifting plate typically ranging from 1-4″ inches. I personally have found that at my gym the 35lbs bumper plates suit me well and they are around 2.5″ thick.

Getting ready to grip and rip while standing on the 35lbs bumper plate


The reason why we do most assistance movements is to try and work on the weaknesses that are lagging on the main movement. You may have heard the phrase that a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link? The deficit deadlift tackles the weakness associated with the start of the deadlift: floor speed. The is the amount of inertia you need to initially break the bar off of the ground and begun its traveling motion upwards towards lockout. If you are weak/slow in the starting position you may sometimes find yourself stalling out halfway through the lift or compensating via poor form with hitching or crutching of the bar onto the quads. The deficit deadlift will help you build strength which will correlate into speed when breaking off the floor due to increased range of motion and, as a bonus, you’ll also be recruiting more of your posterior chain and quadriceps into the movement compared to the deadlift alone.

Just like you would do floor presses or board presses to improve lockout strength in a benchpress the deficit deadlift will help with only a portion of the movement involved in the deadlift! When I want to pull big weight I need to ensure that each aspect of the lift involved (breaking the floor, bar speed, lockout) is the strongest it can be!

Those toothpick legs tho… do I even lift?

Setting up for the deficit deadlift starts you off at a mechanical disadvantage but because you are putting yourself through an increased range of motion for the whole lift (thanks to those extra 1-2-3-4″) you’ll get stronger at it which will translate into faster speed off the floor when you go back to a just pulling from the floor. Before I started rotating this assistance movement into my routine my floor speed with anything 85%+ was crap. After doing months of incorporating deficits into my routine my bar speed has shown vast amounts of improvement and I highly suggest performing this lift!


For my deficit deadlift setup I always end up using a 35lbs bumper plate which is roughly 2.5″ as this is what I have found to work best for me. I’m still able to get into my correct deadlift stance while still managing to have a starting position that gets the bar under mid-foot. One thing you will notice that changes is the bar will start further out from your leg then you may be accustom to. When I perform from-the-floor deadlifts I’m always scraping up against my shin. With deficits I don’t feel the bar rub until its at or above my knee. I place my feet and arms the same width apart as I normally do with a conventional setup and begin the routine with whatever weight is programmed for that day. If this is new to you I suggest starting off with a 1″ deficit and make sure you can still get into a comfortable stance/position and perform some sets here before trying to add more height. Mobility will be a factor here for those that find it difficult to get into the starting position. Otherwise you just pull as you normally would with the exception that you are standing on a plate instead of the floor!


Week 3 Begins – What Is This Program?

gorillaffSo I’ve talked and I’ve teased this program that I’m doing for the past few weeks now and now that I’m finally moved into my new place with the INTERNET and things have finally calmed down I can finally get to writing this up! I’ve tried many programs in the past and this one has been set up differently than what I’m used to – as it progresses from week to week within a training block, the volume remains the same but the weights lower by 5-7% (so intensity drops). Once you hit the next training block, the volume prescription drops but the weight increases above what you had started with from the previous block (intensity ramps back up), rinse and repeat until about Week 11-13.

I have tried multiple programs in the past: Starting Strength, 5/3/1, Sheiko, The Cube Method, Candito’s 6 Week Strength program, etc. and the one thing they all had in common was their setup for LINEAR PROGRESSION (you could argue some wavered slightly but the theme was the same!). Simply put, linear progression allows you to make gains in the heavy ass weight department by slowly ramping up the intensity – doing more sets/volume with lighter weight to get you acclimated for the heavier stuff which ramps up and up and up the more your body gets used to it.

And linear progression has always been a tried and true method of establishing a good strength base… for at least the beginner or even moderate lifter. Once you move develop your CNS to a point with linear progressive training you will eventually run into diminishing returns and you will need to change your plan/program to continue to allow yourself to gain strength (for most of us, anyway).

Enter a man with a different train of thought. A man who is an IPF World Champion with a world record in the squat, bench and total as well as the HIGHEST WILKS EVER (691)…

… Blaine Sumner.

Just this summer Blaine launched his own website, www.blainesumner.com, and as part of the launch (you can still do this now!) he included 5 of his programs FOR FREE. I took a look at them and settled on what I thought would be most beneficial to me, his Frequency Freak program [he totally missed the opportunity to go with FREAKQUENCY but I digress].

This program is 12 weeks longs and is split into 2 main training blocks with two peak-specific week blocks leading into the last week for a potential PR. This is what the volume/percentages look like for the main lift within each week (2 accessory movements are included in Days 1,2,3 at varying percentages until Week 11 when they disappear. Day 4 is its own day with bands for each “big 3” lift at considerably lighter weights to make up for added band tension):

Week 1-4: 5×5, 78%/76%/73%/68% of max
Week 4-8: 4×3, 84%/82%/79%/74% of max
Week 9: 3×2 83%
Week 10: 2×2 88%
Week 11: 1×1 87%
Week 12: 1×1 102%

As you can see this program is a little different in the fact that the intensity actually decreases slowly into Week 4 before dropping the volume and ramping the intensity, slowly decreasing until Week 9 when the volume drops and intensity ramps again, and continues to do so through Week 12. Here is a graphical representation of Volume vs. Intensity through the 12 weeks:

gorillagraphThis is the first program I have ever tried that actually tapers down the intensity before dropping the volume and ramping the intensity back up. Hopefully this “micro-deload” will help prep my CNS to get shocked for when the intensity ramps up and prepare it for heavier weight.

Most programs typically follow in a linear fashion where you consistently work up the intensity while keeping the volume the same (for example 225×5 benchpress in week 1, 235×4 in week 2, 245×3 in week 3 and as long as you hit all reps, reset to week 1 and now use 235 instead of 225, etc). Linear progression is an excellent gauge of strength but somewhere along the line you will eventually plateau and have to look for another outlet or style of training that will continue to let the strength gains come!

Hopefully thats what I’ll find here with Blaine Sumner’s FREQUENCY FREAK.

As a reminder, 2016 year end goals are still to hit a 300+ benchpress, 415+ squat and to hit 500+ with a sumo deadlift. With the way I currently have the program set up, I will be testing each of those on their own leading into the 12th week which will occur right in the middle of December [305 bench/425 squat/515 dead].

I’m looking forward to the challenge.


MuscleElements PreCreXS & A Newcomer!

BB Day w/ PreCreXS & AminoFLOW






BODYWEIGHT:250.0lbs (+7.5lbs)

PROSUPPS HydeV2 vs. Mr. Hyde

PROSUPPS: Mr. Hyde vs. Hyde V2


Is one really better than the other?

Even when under the guise of a proprietary label which only had the caffeine contents somewhat documented I found myself benefiting more from HydeV2 than I did Mr. Hyde. However, it seems as though ProSupps has been shifting gears and is slowly phasing v2 out and replacing it with Mr. Hyde. While I’m somewhat disappointed with this I do appreciate the added transparency that comes with disclosure of supplement ingredient dosings.

Mr. Hyde vs Hyde v2

A comparison of ingredients found in ProSupps Mr. Hyde and Hyde v2.
IngredientMr. HydeHyde v2
Beta Alanine2500mg? prop blend
Creatine HCl1000mg? prop blend
L-Leucine500mg? prop blend
Agmatine Sulfate500mg? prop blend
L-Citrulline Malate500mg? prop blend
Caffeine Anhydrous300mg? prop blend
Caffeine Citrate50mg? prop blend
Dicaffeine Malate50mg? prop blend
Pikatropin50mg? prop blend
N-Methyl Tyramine50mgNot included
Hordenine50mgNot included
Yohimbe Bark Extract2mg? prop blend
Rauwolfia Vomitoria2mg? prop blend
Swertia Chirayita ExtractNot included? prop blend
Acacia RigidulaNot Included? prop blend
n-isopropyloctopamineNot Included? prop blend
Nobile OrchidNot Included? prop blend
N-phenylacetyl-L-prolygycine EENot Included? prop blend

Molecular Nutrition TEST FACTOR Log Day 16


PREWORKOUT: 2 caps TF (with breakfast)… 1.5 scoops Nitramine, 2 scoops NOXYGEN, 4 caps XFA

205×5,5,5,5,5 (30 sec. rest between sets)

60s x 15,15,15


40s x 10,10,10


35s x 15,15,15

So I skipped the fluff n’ buff day and decided to jump right into benchpress. I did for this for two reasons: 1) my chest hadn’t been worked in nearly a week and 2) my chest felt great and I was just ready to lift heavy things so I decided to move into Week 3 of the CUBE and will hit up the bodybuilding day at a later time. I meant to film my weekly video today but my wife came home from her baby shower and it was like Christmas at my house for a few hours so I didn’t get around to it. Should have that filmed this evening (Tuesday) ! I’ve seen some noticeable changes that I’ll hit on later.