Touch-and-Go Deadlift Reps

by: Josh Bryant

Like King Solomon said thousands of years ago, there is a time and place for everything under the sun, be it drinkin’ some ‘shine in a kick ‘n stab bar in West “By God” Virginia or even touch-and-go deadlifts. 

First, let’s differentiate between bounced reps, which deadlift 101 covered, and touch-and-go reps.  Bounced deadlift reps are where the lifter purposefully uses excessive momentum to aid in the lift via bouncing the barbell off the floor.  While touch-and-go reps include the nuance of the lifter having control of the weight and where she only touches the floor with the weights but the full weight of the barbell is not unloaded on the floor before she begins the next rep.

For advanced lifters with great technique, the following four benefits can be derived from touch-and-go deadlifts.

Touch-and-go reps force a controlled eccentric phase, amortization phase, then, finally, concentric phase.  This seemingly continuous tension puts you under tension for longer contrasted to dead stop reps.  This increased time under tension is a catalyst for muscle growth.

Grip Strength
If you do five reps in the deadlift and reset your grip each time, it is not nearly as difficult to grip as five reps where you are forced to control the eccentric and maintain a solid grip the entire time, lose the grip lose the lift.. Think about the time under tension; a max-effort deadlift with 600 lbs, that takes three seconds, will not build your grip to the extent 450 lbs for eight reps would, because that could potentially take 30 seconds. 

Stretch Shortening Cycle
Since the early 1980s, my mentor, the late Dr. Fred Hatfield, wrote about the benefits of touch-and-go deadlifts.  The main one cited was the introduction of the stretch shortening cycle (SSC), this refers to the ‘pre-stretch’ or ‘counter movement’ observed before things like a vertical jump.  This pre-stretch allows you to produce more force faster.  The deadlift is dead weight but the second rep and beyond introduce an eccentric phase that essentially allows you to spring load and produce more force. For the technically-sound, advanced lifter, this learned explosiveness can certainly transfer to a one-rep max or dead stop reps.

Staying Tight
Some lifters have the issue of losing tightness as they reset at the beginning of  dead stop deadlift rep, this, often times, is a manifestation of relaxing on the eccentric phase.  There is no relaxation on the eccentric phase of touch-and-go deadlift. In fact, touch-and-go deadlifts force you to stay tight throughout the entire movement! Any loss of tightness is a leakage of tension that should be placed in the barbell. Touch-and-go deadlifts force you to stay tight.

Author, Josh Bryant, shows the differences between dead stop and touch-and-go reps

Final Thoughts 
Ed Coan, in preparing to set deadlift world records, used a successive dead stop style deadlift as each rep is dead stopped in the starting position. Tension is never released and after momentum is halted, successive reps are pulled.  Deadlifting icon Steve Johnson does a brief reset between each dead stop rep he pulls in training.  Benedict Magnusson, owner of the biggest deadlift of all-time, touch-and-goes his reps.

Advanced lifters with great technique can derive benefits from touch-and-go reps in the deadlift.  Keep in mind, the desired training effect should be the driving force behind what type of deadlifts they use, not the ego. 

Learn the in-depth method behind the madness HERE.