Tip: The Reverse Paused Deadlift

This technique uses a pause during the lowering portion of the rep. Great for strength development, technique improvement, and muscle growth.

Lifters use paused deadlifts, just like paused benches, for similar reasons. At least, that's the thought pattern. People say, "You pause in the area where your sticking point is and thus you get stronger and can lift more weight... yada yada yada."

There's a problem with this on deadlifts, however. Bench presses are paused in competition. Deadlifts are not.

In addition, think about the very thing we went over above. We want to train the body to move as explosively through the entire concentric portion of a rep. When brosefs do a paused deadlift, it's often during the concentric portion of the rep. They lift the bar off the floor, then have to decelerate, pause, and continue.

This does meet one criteria: creating more tension within the rep. But it eliminates the factor of needing to train power/explosiveness.

Let's fix that. Simply reverse when the pause in the deadlift occurs – do it on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the rep.

Doing paused deadlifts this way will naturally slow down the eccentric portion of the rep. Incidentally, one of the characteristics of the deadlift that make it somewhat lackluster is that it doesn't offer much in the way of eccentric tension. (There's very little "negative.") And in case you forgot, that's actually where much of your hypertrophy gains are made.

When you purposefully slow down the eccentric portion of the rep, it not only creates more tension, but for most people it'll help them find proper anatomical alignment for a lift. If you've ever done a set of deadlifts and each rep felt a bit different, the culprit is actually how you returned the bar to the floor.

The bar a few inches in front of you, and out of a more ideal leverage advantage, will mean the rep will be harder. That degree of hardness all depends on how many inches you were off from the ideal position.

When you do reverse paused deadlifts, you'll be forced to slow down the eccentric, pause before the bar hits the floor, then perform another rep. This does some amazing stuff for strength development, technique improvement, and muscle growth. That's the trifecta, right?

The Loading

Don't go crazy on the weight while doing these. The axial loading from a tension perspective is pretty severe. Feel it out. Err on the side of caution. And use these sparingly, perhaps every other deadlift workout, for a couple of sets of five.

Where you pause your deadlift on the return to the floor is really up to you. My advice is to make sure that regardless of where you pause, you maintain a neutral spine at all times, and hold the pause for three seconds each time.

This will make for some nasty sets of deadlifts, and will probably make you hate me and your mother.