Should you deadlift quietly? This may actually help you
February 8th 2019
I currently have a home gym and deadlift to my heart’s content. I am curious if lifters should deadlift quietly since this is a common complaint about many gym-goers in the community.
While doing deadlift quietly may not seem like a good idea, it actually not that bad. There are many benefits to doing controlled deadlifts. Doing deadlifts with a controlled descent helps you build more muscle, protects the equipment, and prepares you for future heavy deadlift attempts.
What are the benefits of doing deadlifts quietly? In general, when this question comes up, it is because the weight is being dropped from the apex of the deadlift or some variation of uncontrolled movement. So, one of the most common feedback from other gym-goers and gym staff is that you need to deadlift quietly and stop making so much noise.
Why do I need to deadlift quietly?
There are many reasons why lifters should be aware of their deadlifting habits. Here is why you should consider deadlifting quietly - having a controlled descent.
More muscular growth
This is a no-brainer. You are under a longer time under tension (TuT) and are actively working your posterior chain. Doing more controlled reps will help you strengthen your small muscles as well as the major ones.
Safety of equipment
You hate using damaged equipment. So, why should you ruin your own training experience and others as well. The longevity of a barbell and its metal plates will be determined by the lifter. Excess and repeated dropping on metal plates and barbells will deteriorate their condition. Unless you are using bumper or rubber plates, metal plates can chip when dropped excessively.
Your form, how good is it?
Having a controlled descent means that you are aware of your form at all times. For many lifters who try to do reps on heavy deadlift sets, they may not even know that their form is breaking down. Doing more “quiet” deadlifts forces the lifter to be more conscious about their own form.
If you are even a moderately serious lifter, you will know how important it is to be able to perform a 1 rep max deadlift. By doing deadlifts more “quietly”, you are forced to pay attention to your starting position, a crucial part of the deadlift.
So, what can you really do? Well, you really have a limited number of options. Thankfully, there are very effective ways to solve this issue, which we are about to dive into.
Mats for deadlifting quietly
If you have a home gym, you will need to mats to deadlift on. I have purchased a 4’ by 6’ horse stall mat that is 3/8” thick. It serves as an extra layer of protection for my plates and my equipment. I had the mat for about 2 years now and it is still in very good shape. If you are interested in getting one or a few for yourself, you can get them here.
It does smell like rubber the first couple of days after you remove the packaging. So, if you are planning to install your mat, I would highly recommend you install it earlier or to have excess ventilation to minimize the foul odor.
In terms of deadening the sounds, it does help. However, if you are looking to have a “quiet” deadlift session and you drop weights all the time, you will be in for a rude awakening. While these rubber horse stall mats do help mitigate the sounds and vibrations of a deadlift, they are not a noise-canceling solution. Implementation of several strategies such as using a controlled descent and using mats/platform, can drastically improve your deadlift experience and protect you from complaints.
Quiet deadlift platforms
If you have extra cash laying around and you want to invest more into a gym that can last for decades, another option you can do is to invest into acquiring a deadlift platform. You have two choices here - make your own or buy one.
If you want to purchase one, there are several criteria you should consider.
Nothing is worse than having a deadlift platform that is difficult to assemble. If you decide to purchase a deadlift platform, make sure you understand how to rebuild the platform and to see if the distributor can give you some insight as well.
Rubber or wood?
Some deadlift platforms have wooden components to them where the weight is being dropped. While it probably is cheaper to make a platform that way, wood will dent over time. I have trained at my college gym where deadlift platforms are warped due to the weight being dropped on them constantly. It may last you a couple of years, even decades if you are not that picky about your equipment but having the entire platform made of rubber may be another option to consider.
The equipment today is being modernized and improved. This is a good thing. Another accessory to consider when looking for a new deadlift platform is to have the deadlift pegs. This is another great way to add more deadlift accessories and variety into your training.
While I do not own a deadlift platform, I am always looking for the cheapest deals that can last. As home gym owners may know, equipment can be very expensive. Without a structured plan, the cost can quickly add up over time. One of the most cost-efficient deadlift platforms I saw was the Titan deadlift platform. It fits all these criteria and would be a fine addition to any home gym. If you are interested in picking one up, you can get one here.
Now, what if you want to build one on your own? Don’t worry fam, I got you covered here too. Here is a detailed step-by-step process of how you can build your own deadlift platform from start to finish.
Alan Thrall is concise yet entertaining. I found a lot of value with this video and I am positive you will not be disappointed. All materials and instructions are clearly stated and there are no confused segments in the video.
Multiple mats versus deadlift platform?
One question that will come up is whether or not you should get one horse stall mat, a few horse stall mats or a deadlift platform. How do you know which is the best?
The purpose of having the horse stall mats and deadlift platforms is to protect your floor and equipment. Because if either one or both of these conditions were not there, we would not care about dropping the weight and abusing the equipment.
I was also curious about this topic and decided to do some research about it since I only use one horse stall mat in my garage gym.
I found that it really depends on where you are deadlifting. For example, if you are deadlifting in an outdoor garage with a concrete slab (like me), you can probably get away with deadlifting on one horse stall mat. Will having a deadlift platform protect your floor more? Yes, of course. If your mats are thicker or you have plywood to absorb the shock of the weight dropping, it will indeed protect your floor more.
From personal experience, I have been deadlifting 200-300lbs with my working sets in an outdoor garage gym. The floor is a concrete slab and I only use one horse stall mat. I do not see any damage to the concrete below my horse stall mats. I do control my deadlifts most of the time until I go for rep personal records (PRs) from time to time. I do try to deadlift as “quietly” as possible and it has been a great experience overall.
But what if you are deadlifting inside on wood or tiles? The safest option for you is to probably use a deadlift platform. Not only will you protect your floor, but you will also deaden the sound of weights dropping. This is a specific problem for indoor deadlifting, so it may not apply to everyone.
How to drop the weights quietly
If you do not have the luxury of training in a home gym, you probably work out at a commercial gym. There are two options you have - move to another gym or abide by their rules.
Believe it or not, there are certain facilities that would allow you to drop weights. However, you will need to do your research on these gym facilities. Most commercial gyms, like Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, etc, are frequently observing and even restricting many long-time gym members from deadlifting “too loudly”. It may be time to find another gym that actually supports its lifters in becoming the strongest version of themselves.
If there is no other gym in your town or if you insist that you want to stay at this gym, you will need to deadlift “more quietly” to not get kicked out. So, how do you do this? Unfortunately, there is no other way than to do a controlled descent on your deadlift. You will need to somewhat control your deadlift negative.
If you are unable to do so with your current working set, you will need to make an adjustment. Since you have some sort of training experience, your posterior chain may not be adequately developed in order to have a controlled eccentric descent. You will need to train that.
Now, I am not saying that you should purposely slow down your descent drastically. At the same time, however, do not just drop the weight and lose all tension in your body. A controlled descent is the best of both worlds, where you keep the tension in the body while lowering the weight. There should be no “loud” bang when the weights hit the platform.
Deadlift rubber blocks
For the most part, you should make your own. They are grossly overpriced in the market and you can make your own custom sizes. It is not difficult to do. You can take a couple of horse stall mats and glue them together. Alternatively, you can take some plywood and make your wooden blocks from that. Here is another excellent video on how to make your own deadlift rubber blocks.
Deadlift blocks are great for home gyms and even in commercial gyms. Having the right equipment to train with is vital for efficient progression. One of the most common usages for deadlift rubber blocks is deadlift accessories, like block pulls and deficit deadlifts.