What You Need To Know

  • Using the deficit method requires you to have good hip mobility. If this is a limiting-factor for you, there are two options.

  • Using the deficit while using a 2 to 3-second eccentric will leave the legs under tension through a longer range of motion and smoke them.

  • Deadlifting from a deficit requires a longer bar-travel path thus making your posterior work much harder. This, too, requires significant hip mobility.

  • Why let the floor be a limiting factor? Add deficits to your lower body movements to make them work harder.

Add More To The Floor

With reverse lunges, the plant leg gets to about 90 degrees and knee hits the ground.

Same goes for Bulgarian split squats.

Conventional deadlifts are an incredible total-body exercise that will help build strength but what if you could make it even more progressive?

Muscle-building is simple contrary to all these big, wordy posts you’ve read before. Recruit the muscles necessary for a movement using a pain-free range of motion while keeping the muscle under tension (via time under tension aka tempo). As you perform it, control the movements, such as the split squat and reverse lunges, down to the floor for 2-3 seconds and let it burn more than Usher.

By adding the deficit using either standing on a Reebok platform or stacked plates, it will add a whole new dynamic to your leg training.

Know Your Limit

Adding a deficit isn’t for everyone. It may be a harder variation but if you don’t have the hip mobility to flex and extend the hip in a wide, pain-free range of motion, loading it up is just silly. That said, adding a deficit using bodyweight in your warm up prior to a lifting session can help increase range of motion so that when you do want to eventually strengthen your movements using load, it will be done safely and efficiently.

For this, doing bodyweight reverse lunges 8 reps per leg before a lower body workout would be an efficient way to get the ball rolling safely.

The other option you have is simple; don’t do it. Why would you want to potentially harm yourself? Get stronger on the flat surface first then work it in to your warm up then load it up. Be intentional with your training. Do not try something simply for sheer fun.

Quad Attack

True story, my favorite (favourite if you are Canadian or Australian) day of the week is leg day. Personally I hit them 2-3 times a week. There is something incredibly empowering knowing it’s usually the hardest days but they happen to be the best days.

Two movements I have progressed to using a deficit with is the Bulgarian split squat and reverse lunge. The reason for this deficit is to elicit a wider range of motion for my quads and really hammer them directly. It allows for a solid stretch throughout the movement and man, it can just be brutal.


The key thing you’ll notice is the set up is virtually the same. The difference, once the trailing knee gets passed the step, it will elicit a bigger range.

What About The Deadlift?

Pulling a deadlift can be controversial but in all honesty, it shouldn’t. It should only be done if you have adequate mobility and can your spine neutral through the entire movement. There really doesn’t need to be some in-depth Madden analysis about it.

Can you maintain proper spinal alignment? Can you keep you upper-back tight? Can you perform it pain-free?

If you answered yes to all of them, then this shouldn’t be an issue to perform?

Why would you do it?

It requires a longer bar path, more glute and hamstring work, and makes the deadlift a bit more challenging. Nothing like building more muscle and strength by increased work, hey?

It’s All About Smart Programming

I know the last question you are going to ask is, “when would I actually use this?” I have a really solid answer for you:

I would not use deficit lifts with max or close to max weight.

Deficit lifts elicit a very taxing response in training and do best with moderate to high-rep ranges.

If you are to use them without load, program them as part of a warm up. When using loads, nothing less than 8 reps in a set. Play with sets per exercise as you want to make sure you volume isn’t too much.

 Wrapping It Up

Everyone in the fitness industry is looking for the “next best thing” or routine or movement. There really is no way to reinvent the wheel no matter how many times someone can try. It is simply a matter of taking what you have and what you know and progressing it in a way you didn’t think you could do. By simply adding a little bit of height to your lifts, you now have a progression that will take your training to a whole new level.

Give it a go and give it your all.