How To Measure Strength Deficit Why it's important

Deficit Training for Bigger GainsBefore we dive into how to achieve bigger gains by deficit training it is essential that we first understand the meaning of the term strength deficit.

What is strength deficit and how to conquer it

Strength deficit in relation to weight training is generally observed as the amount of strength an individual can use at any given point in time, or the difference between their maximum and complete strength. Most trainers when determining the strength deficit of an individual will often select a particular weight lifting exercise such as a bench press.

During the exercise the barbell is loaded with the maximum weight possible allowing the individual to lower the bar under control negatively for a period no longer than six seconds (ensuring a spotter is present this is critical). To achieve this value continue to load the barbell until you find the ideal weight allowing you to lower the barbell in the six second time frame. Now you have established the eccentric maximum load. Next you're now going to compare this weight to the load you are able to lift concentrically on the same movement using a 3 second eccentric motion, pausing for sixty seconds followed by a dynamic concentric movement. Your strength deficit is the difference in percentage value between the two movements.

Why it's important to know your strength deficit

The main reason for knowing your strength deficit is based on the fact that while eccentric and absolute strength are both dependent on the muscle build of the individual, maximum strength is relative to the the potential of the person training to utilize the muscle build. Most fitness programs designed for bodybuilders are often aimed at increasing muscular hypertrophy build rather than targeting maximum strength. Thus a bodybuilder using one of these programs will often be able to increase his muscular capacity up to 10% without observing any significant increase in maximum strength. Given this fact the bodybuilder would have increased his absolute strength potential however his maximum strength would remain the same. Simply putting it he would have increased his strength deficit.

Ok so now you should have a basic understanding of strength deficit lets look at a couple of popular exercises utilizing the deficit training principle.

Deficit Push-ups

  1. Deficit push-ups By placing your hands on a pair of dumbbells when performing the traditional push-up allows your chest several inches allowing extra range of motion which is critical when doing weighted or basic push-ups.
  2. Provided you do not have a history of previous shoulder injury this exercise can potentially be the key to unlocking your pectoral muscle development.
  3. When performing the exercise you'll want to recruit the maximum muscles by lowering your chest below your hands past the dumbbells as close to the ground as possible without touching it ensuring the stomach and hips are not allowed to dip towards the floor.
  4. For a continuous tension on your pectoral muscles perform the exercise using partial reps increasing the number of reps in the final set to absolute failure.

Including the deficit push-up as a supplementary exercise to the incline press or flat bench is considered as an effective training method for achieving bigger gains.

Deficit Deadlifts

Deficit Deadlifts For men who are aiming to increase their flexibility, grip strength and provide a boost to their posterior growth, including a deadlift deficit to your deadlift exercise is a vital ingredient to achieving your goal.

How to setup a deficit deadlift:

  1. Begin the exercise by standing feet hip-width apart on a platform or a set of weighted plated three to six inches in height with the barbell centered over your feet.
  2. Bending your body at your hips firmly grip the weighted barbell using a shoulder-width grip. Your shoulder blades at this point should be somewhat extended.
  3. Inhale deeply, lower your hips and bend the knees until your shin begins to tough the bar.
  4. Keeping your head faced forward, back arched and chest up begin lifting the weight by driving through your heels.
  5. As soon as the bar passes your knees forcefully pull the barbell back, contracting your shoulder blades together as you push your hips forward towards the bar completing the lift.
  6. Complete the exercise by lower the barbell by bending at your hips directing it towards the floor.
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