I have always started my dead-lifting by starting with a racked bar (I pick up the bar without the need of bending down), but recently someone told me that a better way to dead-lift is to start by lifting the weight (bar) from the ground. He mentioned that it is better to pick up the bar from the ground for the first rep, because it will increase my strength more, rather than picking it up from the rack.

What I mean by a racked bar is that, when I start to do the dead-lift, for my first rep, I pick the bar up from the rack, and then continue to do the dead-lift as normal, to the ground and back up, My question is, is there is a difference between starting my dead-lift from the ground or from a bar that is racked?

Which is better?

  • What are your criteria for good/better?
    – Raditz_35
    Sep 26, 2018 at 12:53
  • They're not the same thing. Deadlifts start from the ground. Rack pulls start from a rack. Which is better? Highly subjective -- better for what?
    – user6707
    Sep 26, 2018 at 12:55
  • @Raditz_35 i edited my Question Sep 26, 2018 at 14:18
  • Thanks! What exactly is your goal? How advanced are you? You've already gotten feedback that "strength" is not really a valid way to compare two different exercises most of the time. Why do you do rack pulls? Where did you get the idea from? What program do you follow? Perhaps they have a really solid point. Btw, there is no reason not to do both of them if you enjoy either version. Some people (me) have fun varying a bit, while others enjoy doing the same stuff every time
    – Raditz_35
    Sep 26, 2018 at 14:33
  • 2
    If I'm reading the question correctly, Wojtek's usual technique is to approach the rack, grab the loaded bar and ease it off of the rack, lower it down to the ground in a negative, and then proceed to do sets of deadlifting it from the ground, as opposed to loading the bar on the floor and then starting the set.
    – Sean Duggan
    Sep 27, 2018 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


What you seem to essentially be doing right now is starting with a negative for your first movement, which means that technically, your first lift is not a valid dead-lift, but something closer to a Romanian Dead-Lift or stiff-legged dead-lift, starting at the waist and going down, before being pulled up (although those are more straight-legged exercises than the traditional dead-lift).

One way to look at it is that, if you're always lifting the weight back up to waist height at the end to rack it, you're essentially doing the same movement, but in a different order. Instead of lifting up, and then lowering the weight, you're lowering it and then lifting it. It's essentially the same exercise. The only real difference I'd see is a slight one of safety for the first and last step. If you haven't gauged your weight properly, it may be slightly safer to be lifting the weight rather than lowering it, since if it's too heavy, you're more likely to just not get it off the ground versus having to bail or strain to lower the bar to the ground. I think that's a very minor risk, though, since presumably you get a good feel for it as you unrack it to lower it. Secondly, the negative movement of lowering a weight tends to be a bit easier than lifting it, so that last rep is slightly more difficult because you're putting it at the end rather than ending with a negative of lowering the weight. That said, the argument could be made that you're just making things a little bit harder at the end, which may be beneficial by pushing yourself just a bit further.

TL; DR I don't think your variation is going to have a major impact on your exercise. The difference is too minor.

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