Saturday, September 28, 2013

Deadlifting - straps or no straps, touch n go, or deadstop...

Recently I've seen more and more guys doing strapped up deadlifts, with touch and go reps. Someone asked me what was the benefit of doing deadlifts this way, as opposed to dead stop reps, or without straps.

What are some of the reasons you would, and would not pull with straps and touch and go deadlifts?

Overload is one reason. And really, the only one. One of the things that getting strapped up and eliminating a grip issue does, is allow you to pull more reps. This in turn allows you to overload the musculature involved in the deadlift to a greater degree, of course. When you add in touch and go reps, you can generally pull more reps that way than dead stop style. This can be useful for strengthening and building the actual muscles involved in pulling, because of time under tension.

So as a tool, strapped up-touch and go deadlifts are a solid tool for actually building the "posterior chain". However, they are a terrible way to train to get ready for a powerlifting meet.

To start, using straps double overhand and pulling mixed grip (if that's how you pull) without straps, are mechanically different movements altogether. Not even remotely the same. Straps allow you to go double overhand, and then let you get very "long" in the pull. Much longer than you are going to be when you get to the platform, and go mixed grip.

When you pull double overhand-strapped, this is not the position you are going to be in when you pull mixed grip. At all. The body will get into an entirely different position when you have to go back to mixed grip. Thus specificity is lost, and the carryover will be minimal, if at all.

So the last thing you should be doing is training double over hand with straps, when you pull with a mixed grip in competition.

For guys that do pull double overhand in a hook grip fashion, there may be more merit to it, because you can indeed mimic the same position you will have with straps. However otherwise, you need to ditch the straps and the touch and go reps, 4 or 5 weeks before your meet, so that you can actually train the deadlift and strengthen it in the style of which you will be asked to demonstrate it. I mean, this only makes sense.

You need to practice like you play.

Finally, there is nothing "wrong" or "right" about pulling with straps, or touch and go reps as a whole. It's only wrong or right, depending on what you are trying to use it to accomplish.

You don't play tennis to get better at playing basketball. So you shouldn't use strapped up-touch and go deadlifts if you are trying to prepare for a powerlifting meet. If you are preparing for strongman, and straps with touch n go reps are allowed, then go to town.

What it really comes back to is using a method correctly for what you will be applying it to.


  1. Great post and very eloquently put,as usual.Hopefully some of the guys at my gym will stumble upon this and pay attention to it,as they seem to quote their strapped up,touch and go with rubber bumper plates rep max's as their Powerlifting max's.
    A few of them even cut the reps short by only lowering the bar to mid shins then standing erect between 'reps' to squeeze out a few more 'reps'....Then when asked what their max Deadlift is they will say,for instance,"500 x 8" when in reality,they would be hard pushed to get a single with that weight in a Powerlifting context.
    The whole thing annoys the life out of me.

  2. ^^ dont get let others stupidity annoy you, otherwise you got some annoying to do.....

    good article