What is ‘Touch N Go’ lifting?
Simply said, you touch the weight on the ground and go back to lifting, as opposed to having a pause between repetitions.
Let’s look at the deadlift exercise as an example. The deadlift is an unusual exercise because it begins with the concentric (effortful) portion of the lift, i.e. lifting the bar up and finishes with the eccentric (relaxing) portion, i.e. putting it down. Compare that to the squat, which begins with the eccentric portion, i.e. descending down, and finishing with the concentric, i.e. standing up.
Having that stressful concentric phase first makes the deadlift somewhat harder because there is no assistance from the elasticity (or the “bounce”) of your muscles.
The two most common ways of deadlifting are:
- Putting the bar down and lifting it from a dead stop between reps (dead stop deadlifts)
- Never taking your hands off the bar. Simply putting the bar back on the ground and immediately lifting it again without a pause (Touch N Go deadlifts)
What is the reasoning behind each method?
Advantage: Well, it’s called deadlifting for a reason. You are lifting the weight from a dead stop off the ground. Brute strength is essential to rip the weight up. You will build more strength using this method. You will also have the time to perfect the set up position between reps.
Disadvantage: It makes the exercise much harder. So if you’ve been used to lifting X amount of kg as Touch N Go for 5 reps, be prepared to either a) require a reduction in weight or b) be prepared to get only 1, 2, 3 or 4 reps instead of 5. This might be hard on your ego…
Lifting a very heavy weight off the floor is taxing. Doing it lots of times in a workout is more taxing. Lots of times a week/month is even more taxing. The accumulation of these factors might make recovery between workouts difficult.
Touch N Go
Advantage: The deadlifts are easier. You’ll be able to lift more weight or lift a higher number of reps due to the method utilising the elasticity and rebound effect of the muscles (‘the stretch reflex’). There is also more tension in the muscles, because your hands won’t once leave the bar – the whole body remains tight throughout the duration of the set.
Disadvantage: There’s no time to reset. The first rep is always going to be the hardest one and you are completely dependent on how the first rep goes, for the rest of the set. On a more serious note, your form for each rep might get progressively worse as the body deviates from the correct position at the start of each pull.
What’s the best way to deadlift?
I’ve been doing the Touch N Go method ever since I started deadlifting many years ago. In fact, until quite recently I didn’t really realise that this is what I had been doing and that there was a name for it! So despite all my years of lifting and research, it had never occurred to me to try deadlifting from a dead stop between reps (you learn something new every day lol).
From everything I’ve read and the people I’ve seen in gyms, I believe that the Touch N Go method is most commonly used. But is it the best? Probably not. In fact, since writing this blog post I’ve decided to start executing my deadlifts using both methods because I want to reap the benefits of each.
How to incorporate both Touch N Go and dead stop deadlifts into your routine
You could do as I plan to, and alternate weeks of Touch N Go and dead stop deadlifts.
I imagine that the Touch N Go reps will improve your muscular endurance due to having to maintain constant tension in the body for a high number of seconds (how long does it take you to Touch N Go a set of 5 reps of deadlifts? 10 seconds?). Compare this to a set of deadlifts done from a dead stop – a single rep might take just 1 or 2 seconds before you have to put the bar down again.
Certainly dead stop deadlifts will build strength but you’ll probably be able to train them with a lower volume than had you “Touched N Gone.” Touch N Go might well be easier to recover from, meaning they get a greater volume of training.
So in conclusion, train them BOTH ways… and let me know how you get on.