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  1. #1
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Deadlifts: wondering if the slack pull is really advantageous

    I used to do the slack pull with just my upper torso, until I re-watched one of PR's Performance's videos on YT and realized you need to use your legs too. So, after I brace, I use my full body to pull slack, without raising the plates on the very end of the bar from the ground. Then I pause like a tenth of a second, and then do the actual pull.

    But doing the pause is really hard. I don't see any disadvantage the other way of just gripping and ripping from the ground. Yes, you will encounter some sudden resistance when you pull out the slack; but, at the same time, if you pull the slack first and then pause, this is also hard because the resistance lasts longer while you pause (even though the pause is just a tenth of a second or so).

    So, is there any real advantage to pulling out the slack first?
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    There’s an advantage if it works for you, if it doesn’t then don’t do it. Keep in mind you don’t have to do an intense slack pull.

    Some people who DL heavy weights roll the bar first so if something works better for you to lift more weight, and you can do it without injuring yourself, go for it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    There’s an advantage if it works for you, if it doesn’t then don’t do it. Keep in mind you don’t have to do an intense slack pull.

    Some people who DL heavy weights roll the bar first so if something works better for you to lift more weight, and you can do it without injuring yourself, go for it.

    Hey thanks for the reply air2fakie! I think I will try both methods to see which works better then. Als,o lots of experts advise against rolling the bar, but I've seen many lifters do it. I think I might try that as well at a later point.
    Age 52, Female, USA
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  4. #4
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mileena202 View Post
    Hey thanks for the reply air2fakie! I think I will try both methods to see which works better then. Als,o lots of experts advise against rolling the bar, but I've seen many lifters do it. I think I might try that as well at a later point.
    Yeah pulling the slack out of the bar is a good general cue but you’re at the point where you might find you have a way that works best for you. For some, an exaggerated slack pull like you describe may work best. For someone else, simply pulling so the bar touches the top of the plate holes is enough.

    The idea is usually to get tight so you’re in a position to pull the most weight. How you get your body ready to do that may differ from someone else.
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    You don't need to pause. I've never heard that advice, but I don't doubt some people like to pause.

    But you DO need to pull out the slack. It's just physics - the plates aren't coming off the ground till the bar is pulled tight. Use that initial pull to get everything super tight, legs included.
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  6. #6
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    I would vouch for the slack pull, but some of my deadlifting mechanics are somewhat unconventional, as well (high hips and shins not in contact with the bar on the way up, for instance), though I think I know what you're saying with it feeling more difficult in the the setup, since bracing hard and pulling the slack out doesn't feel comfortable or natural, the way that simply bending over and holding the bar does, as though you were picking up a child or something not heavy enough to require that.

    That gets traded for acceleration on the way up, though, and I don't think there's any subjectivity about that, though perhaps I am wrong.
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    It’s good to learn so you can avoid using your abs to stabilize your leg drive when they need to balance the pull from your traps.
    Looks good when flexing Crew
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  8. #8
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    You don't need to pause. I've never heard that advice, but I don't doubt some people like to pause.

    But you DO need to pull out the slack. It's just physics - the plates aren't coming off the ground till the bar is pulled tight. Use that initial pull to get everything super tight, legs included.
    Ok, I'm sorry @jademoneky: I hadn't checked this thread for a few days as I thought it was dead.

    If I don't pause, it is the same as gripping and ripping, AFAIK, at least for my style:

    I generally follow PR's Performance guidelines, with some modifications from other YouTube experts.

    What I do is:

    1. Stand to the right of center of the bar like Amanda Lawrence does (otherwise the center of my body will be a few inches to the left of center barbell when I am all set up), and then slide my legs out to the knurl marks approximately. The right leg can go out less, so that is closer to the center of the bar than my left leg.
    2. Hip hinge to the bar to get my hands as far down as they will go
    3. Adduct my knees a little more to finally be able to reach the bar with my hands
    4. Hook grip
    5. Move my shins to the bar while pulling myself up and getting more vertical, so my mid-scapula is approximately over the barbell. This is hard as I have a long torso, but short arms and legs, so I really have to get low, otherwise my scapula is well in front of the bar. I get tight this way.
    6. Push my knees out a little more like Izzy Narvaez of PowerLiftingToWin recommends
    7. Lift head up so it is somewhat inline with my spine
    8. Brace and hold my breath
    9. Pull the slack from the bar using both legs and upper body
    10. Pause like a tenth of a second
    11. Do the actual pull

    So I am already tight when I begin to slack pull. So after the slack pull, maybe I do not need to minor pause and can just pull. I am not sure if I see a difference with my style. I might as well just grip and rip since the slack pull will come during the rip anyway, right?
    Last edited by mileena202; 06-23-2022 at 08:58 PM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EliKoehn View Post
    I would vouch for the slack pull, but some of my deadlifting mechanics are somewhat unconventional, as well (high hips and shins not in contact with the bar on the way up, for instance), though I think I know what you're saying with it feeling more difficult in the the setup, since bracing hard and pulling the slack out doesn't feel comfortable or natural, the way that simply bending over and holding the bar does, as though you were picking up a child or something not heavy enough to require that.

    That gets traded for acceleration on the way up, though, and I don't think there's any subjectivity about that, though perhaps I am wrong.
    No I think you are right. Maybe with griping and ripping, the resistance you meet on the way up probably slows acceleration. And I think your high hips are good. The more upright you are, the easier the pull, AFAIK. I wish I could be more like that, but I want my mid-scapula over the bar (PowerLiftingoWin says that is the position you must be in), and I have a long toro but short arms and legs, so my anthropometry dictates I get low.
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    Squat: 280 lb. (127 kg)
    Bench: 135 lb. (61 kg)
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  10. #10
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by GeneralSerpant View Post
    It’s good to learn so you can avoid using your abs to stabilize your leg drive when they need to balance the pull from your traps.
    Thanks @GeneralSerpant. Maybe my understanding is not that advanced, but I think I stabilize my abs by bracing before I slack pull (or grip and rip). Or maybe I don't get what you are saying.
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  11. #11
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mileena202 View Post
    I might as well just grip and rip since the slack pull will come during the rip anyway, right?
    AFAIK you're training for competition, so the winner is the method that allows you to pull the most weight within the rules. Try it all & see what works best.
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  12. #12
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    AFAIK you're training for competition, so the winner is the method that allows you to pull the most weight within the rules. Try it all & see what works best.
    Yep! That is the winner! :-)
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    I don't see a point in purposely pausing if you feel tight everywhere. I've never really understood the term "pulling out the slack", because the slack has to get pulled out no matter what you do. I'm guessing it's a cue some people like to use - the first tiny fraction won't be so heavy because the bar is still bending, so perhaps some people aren't tight enough yet. I definitely use the initial pull to get tighter naturally as the weight gets heavier. A short pause may help some people "setup" for when the plates come off the ground. I feel like it always starts slowly and that's enough time for me to get everything tightened up properly. I think there might be a bit of a pause (or slow down) naturally as you have to react to more resistance.

    Have you tried sumo? I think that really helps me with my shorter limbs. I feel like conventional is almost entirely hip hinge and quite unnatural way to lift something for my proportions.

    Edit to summarize my thinking - The slack pull is something that should be expected by the lifter because it WILL happen, so focusing on it as though it's a separate thing may help know what's coming. It's more subtle than walking out a squat, so it could catch you off guard if you aren't ready for it.
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  14. #14
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    I don't see a point in purposely pausing if you feel tight everywhere. I've never really understood the term "pulling out the slack", because the slack has to get pulled out no matter what you do. I'm guessing it's a cue some people like to use - the first tiny fraction won't be so heavy because the bar is still bending, so perhaps some people aren't tight enough yet. I definitely use the initial pull to get tighter naturally as the weight gets heavier. A short pause may help some people "setup" for when the plates come off the ground. I feel like it always starts slowly and that's enough time for me to get everything tightened up properly. I think there might be a bit of a pause (or slow down) naturally as you have to react to more resistance.

    Have you tried sumo? I think that really helps me with my shorter limbs. I feel like conventional is almost entirely hip hinge and quite unnatural way to lift something for my proportions.

    Edit to summarize my thinking - The slack pull is something that should be expected by the lifter because it WILL happen, so focusing on it as though it's a separate thing may help know what's coming. It's more subtle than walking out a squat, so it could catch you off guard if you aren't ready for it.
    Thanks for a good explanation @jademonkey, and your edit too. I appreciate a well-thought-out post. I might try your point of doing more to get tight while pulling out the slack. I am not sure if that will work for me, but it is worth a try. And I do do sumo almost exclusively. I do conventional as a variation. I used to do it as my main deadlift, but I found I could pull more weight with sumo. Plus powerlifters like David Woolson and Izzy Narvaez recommend doing sumo over conventional.
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    Wt. 178 lb. (80.74 kg, 12.71 st.)
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    1-rep maxes:

    Deadlift: 342 lb. (155 kg)
    Squat: 280 lb. (127 kg)
    Bench: 135 lb. (61 kg)
    Total: 757 lb. (343 kg)
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