To Bounce Or Not To Bounce The Deadlift

Should I pause the deadlift at the bottom or touch and go?

by Vladi
Last Update  On December 10, 2011
Short answer - Don't bounce.

The deadlift was called “dead” for one very simple reason -  the weight you are lifting is dead on the floor. It does not move. If you bounce every rep you are not doing “real” deadlifts.

"Bro..what happens when I bounce a deadlift?"

Have you heard about Sir Issac Newton's third law of physics - “Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction”. When you let the bar crash on the floor it bounces and that particular bounce assists you during the beginning of the exercise. In other words your muscles are doing less positive work which translates into less muscle stress. What makes the deadlift so hard are three things - you can lift a lot of weight, a lot of muscle mass is used, there is no stretch reflex or bouncing. It's pure muscle. It's almost impossible to cheat a deadlift. You can squat high and some people may disagree but a deadlift is a deadlift although sometimes judges may “ignore” the fact that some lifters are not locking out fully at the top but that's a different story.

"Ok..but why are people doing it? Also Ronnie Coleman bounces some of his deadlifts. I've seen the 800 pounds deadlift at Metroflex gym. U mad?"

Technically if you perform touch and go deadlifts there are some benefits to it. For example most likely the negative portion of the lift will be more controlled and we all know that a controlled negative is important for growth stimulation. A lot of muscle damage is done on the way down. However some coaches argue that touch and go deadlifts are not for beginners who have not developed a groove. In other words your setup may become worse and worse after every rep. 

However the real reason why so many people bounce the deadlift is this: It's easier and you can do more reps. As far as Ronnie Coleman bouncing his deadlifts - it doesn't change a thing. He still bounces it because it's easier and he can get more reps.

" it. But some people advice you to bounce your deadlifts to work on your lockout. Is this correct?"

Yes, like I said by bouncing your deadlifts you are sort of omitting the first portion and you end up doing more reps which will result in more lockout work or overload bevause you will do more reps. However I think that a Romanian deadlift or a rack pull will achieve the same thing. You can try both and see what’s better for you but for general deadlift work - always pause at the bottom. Otherwise you are not getting full benefit from the exercise.
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