This movement offers a different approach to improving your deadlift technique & strength. I like to recommend it either as an assistance exercise to your regular deadlift or even as the main series of the deadlift session. It is especially useful to improve technique & strength from the floor.
How to Perform
Stand on some mats, or even a plate, & perform pauses near the bottom of the movement with the bar touching the starting point on your shin of your normal deadlift. As you are standing on the mats or plate the bar will be pausing/floating just above the floor.
The difficult part of the movement will be the turnaround from the isometric pause into the concentric, so this is where you need to put your focus and effort. Staying tight and trying to keep shoulders above the barbell is key to the execution and therefore transfer to your normal deadlift from the floor.
There’s always a delay in signalling as the muscles decelerate. Basically you think you’ve paused but you’re still decelerating so it’s good to have a coach or training partner count for you to keep you honest!
How to add it into your Program
Before your Main Deadlift Sets using them essentially as a warm up and reinforcement before things get serious:
- A) Floating Deadlift: 3 sets of 3 reps, 42X0, 180s rest
- Ramp up weight selection but not to the point of causing tremors/shaking during the pause
- B) Barbell Deadlift (Clean Grip, from Floor): 3 sets of 3 reps, X2X1, 240s rest
After your Main Deadlift Sets to further fatigue the lower threshold motor units and increase reinforcement of proper positioning. This has the added benefit of potentiating the floating deadlift:
- A) Barbell Deadlift (Clean Grip, from Floor): 3 sets of 3 reps, X2X1, 240s rest
- B) Floating Deadlift: 3 sets of 5 reps, 32X0, 180s rest
- Ramp up weight selection to the point of causing tremors/shaking during the pause
As a Superset to ensure proper transfer of positioning:
- A1) Floating Deadlift: 5 sets of 1-2 reps, 32X0, 10s rest
- A2) Barbell Deadlift (Clean Grip, from Floor): 5 sets of 1-3 reps, X2X1, 240s rest
Other variables you can play with are: Tempo prescription (E.g. 8 second pause? 10 second eccentric?!), Grip (Clean/Mid/Snatch Grip), Accommodating Resistance (Chains, Bands, etc)