To Deadlift From the Floor or Not To

To Deadlift From the Floor or Not To?

The question of whether to start your deadlifts from the floor or not is one that many lifters have asked themselves. Some believe that it’s better to start with a lighter weight and work up, while others feel like they need to get stronger before attempting such a move. There are some benefits and drawbacks associated with both approaches.

For starters, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of starting your deadlifts from the floor versus not.

Pros: You’ll be able to lift heavier weights, which will lead to greater strength gains. If you’re new to lifting weights, then it may seem counterintuitive that starting with a lighter weight would benefit you so much more than going all out and trying to go heavy right off the bat. However, if you’ve been lifting weights for awhile, then it makes sense that starting light could actually be detrimental to your progress.

So why do it?

Well, there are several reasons. First of all, if you’re already strong enough to perform a few sets of 5 reps with dumbbell curls (or whatever other compound exercise you might choose), then doing them with a barbell set on the ground isn’t going to make you any stronger. In fact, it’s probably going to lead to overtraining.

Adding weight in small increments is the best way to go when first starting out. Not only does it give your body time to get used to the movement and prevent injury, but it also helps prevent burnout. You don’t want to be in the position where you’re killing yourself in the gym every day only to become demotivated and quit because you don’t see any gains.

Starting light will help you get the form and feel of the movement down first. Once you’re comfortable with that, then you can increase your weights in small increments until you can eventually lift as much or more than when you were using a machine.

If you’ve ever heard that “your form is worse than monkeys f*#king” then you’ll know that having a trainer watch every single one of your sets can be annoying at first. However, this is beneficial because not only will you get one of the most experienced people in the gym to help guide you through proper lifting techniques and to ensure that you aren’t hurting yourself, but he or she can also help encourage you when you’re starting out with a lower weight.

Finally, you’ll be training with other people. Even if it’s just one other person, there’s nothing more motivating than working out with someone else (so long as they aren’t *#@!s).

Cons: The drawbacks of starting with an empty bar are few, but they’re still worth considering. First of all, if you’re a beginner then there’s a pretty good chance you aren’t going to be able to lift the bar off the floor without it rolling out of your hands. In fact, you’ll probably end up dropping it on your feet. This could cause more than a few nasty bruises. If you go this route, then you may want to invest in a lifting belt and wait until you’re more comfortable with the movement before attempting it without spotters.

Another drawback to this approach is that it requires patience. It means you won’t be able to see as quick progress and this can sometimes be discouraging.

After both of these cons are out of the way, there’s really not much else to discuss in terms of drawbacks. At least not any that are especially worth mentioning.

Sources & references used in this article:

Isometric strength of powerlifters in key positions of the conventional deadlift by GK Beckham, HS Lamont, K Sato, MW Ramsey… – Journal of …, 2012 –


A biomechanical analysis of the effects of bouncing the barbell in the conventional deadlift by KT Krajewski, RG LeFavi… – The Journal of Strength …, 2019 –

Variations of the deadlift by TJ Piper, MA Waller – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2001 –

Which Deadlift is Right for Your Body Type? by M Gedge –

Analysis of the Load-Velocity Relationship in Deadlift Exercise by A Benavides-Ubric, DM Díez-Fernández… – Journal of Sports …, 2020 –