By: Josh Bryant
Hey Josh, I have just start powerlifting and am new to deadlifting. I did 315 pounds for eight reps using the “bounce” style off the floor. An older powerlifter at the gym told me to stop each rep and now I can only do three reps. Which style should I use in preparation for my first powerlifting meet?
Squats and bench presses have an eccentric phase; in this phase, you store elastic-like energy that is a free ride out of the bottom of both lifts. In fact, a recent study entitled “A Biomechanic Analysis of the Effects of Bouncing the Barbell in the Conventional Deadlift”concluded that the bounce technique does not allow the athlete to develop max force production in the early portion of the deadlift.
So, of course you can complete more reps bounced; it’s easier but more is not better. With bounced deadlifts, you are essentially training a different lift than you will perform in a powerlifting meet. As a beginner, you will build great technique by consistently executing repetitions with the same technique you will use in competition. This is sports-specific training 101.
The deadlift has no eccentric phase making the lift start in mechanically the most difficult position. With bounced deadlifts or even controlled touch and goes, you have added an eccentric portion on the second rep and beyond that wasn’t there on the first; if the reps were bounced, a component of momentum off the floor is further aiding the lift. This completely changes the lift and, while there are benefits to controlled touch and goes for bodybuilders and advanced powerlifters (bouncing is always bad), we need to focus on right here, right now, where you are. This means dead stop each rep for you and every other beginner and intermediate lifter.
Staying tight and being properly braced is important for properly executing any powerlift and this importance is exacerbated with the deadlift because there is no elastic-like energy from the eccentric that can counteract a lack of tightness which translates into tension leakage and you lifting less weight.
Start viewing a set of three repetitions in the deadlift as three single repetitions. You are new to this and properly executed repetitions are the mother of skill. Hence dead stop repetitions are going to refine your technique and build the necessary skill to increase your one-repetition deadlift maximum, aka have your ass ready for the powerlifting platform.
The way to get to Carnegie Hall is practice, practice, practice! Repetition is the mother skill and when bouncing deadlifts, you are doing a different movement. Powerlifting is a one-rep sport, so start treating deadlifts accordingly. Start stopping deadlifts, next week we will look at exceptions to this rule.
The path of least resistance, in this case, is the path of least gains.
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