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The Deadlift Set-Up by Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli - CrossFit Journal

The Deadlift Set-Up

By Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli

In CrossFit, Mobility, Videos

March 29, 2012

Video Article

The deadlift set-up is easy, says Kelly Starrett: get stiff, load the hips, send the knees forward, pull back, stand up. It’s a strategy athletes should use every time they approach the barbell, and it becomes increasingly important when they’re tired, he says.

“We want to do the same thing every time, particularly when it becomes a complex motor skill and all of a sudden there’s a lot of things going on—I’m breathing hard, I’m almost in the pain cave, I really can’t see anything, but there’s 150,000 people cheering for me and everything’s getting small,” Starrett says.

He adds: “I need to be able to walk up to the bar and get stiff and pull without having to make this a very conscious move. And so I want my default patterning to be safe and effective and efficient and the same every time.”

In his Movement and Mobility Trainer Course, Starrett advises the class to tighten up the belly and squeeze the butt. The priority should be on spinal mechanics first, then loading from the hip and hamstring down.

13min 18sec

Additional reading: The Forgotten Part of the Deadlift by John Zimmer, published Dec. 7, 2011.

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16 Comments on “The Deadlift Set-Up”


wrote …

Best deadlift in the world: Correction


wrote …

Finally! Kelly covered this during lunch at the Mob cert in Chicago and we, well, went to lunch. When we got back they were just finishing this and I was bummed we missed it. Fantastic stuff. DL tomorrow! Bam.


wrote …

Great stuff Chupacabra!!!


Chris Sinagoga wrote …

Best part of this video: it ends on a cliffhanger! Can't wait for the next part. Thanks again Kelly for sharing this knowledge with everyone.


wrote …

Said it before, and I will say it again: Kelly is the best resource CrossFit has. He is an amazing well spring of knowledge. I feel that he has lived more than one life already...


wrote …

Looks like you've created a word, pervation, and repurposed 2 (bias, triage) in one video. Well done


wrote …

Wow! A Bill Starr article and a K-Starr video in the same week? Awesome! More of this, less of the feel good stuff please.


wrote …

Great video as always, Kelly! I was wondering if we could make a clarification though. He mentioned that instantaneous overextension that occurs in the back when we initiate the squat. Is this something that is supposed to occur to ensure that the athlete maintains an upright torso for the squat? Or do we keep the back neutral (while 'closing the car door' with our hips) during the squat? Any clarification here would be super--thanks!


wrote …

Ok this might be a little off the subject but I'm new to CrossFit, I've been abosrbing myself with everything CF for the last two months. Will somebody plese tell me what a Met Con is?


replied to comment from Jose Quintana

MetCon is short for Metabolic Conditioning. I don't have the scientific explanation for it, but you can think of it as CrossFit's version of "cardio" exercise. For example, the Fran WOD is a MetCon.


replied to comment from Talon Bradford

Thanks for the information Talon!


wrote …

Oh Man! Do I wish I had watched this before this morning's mysterious deadlift debacle... Mystery solved.


wrote …

Man is a genius, a genius I tell you!


replied to comment from Ryan Tyler

Ryan. He said perturbations, not pervation. And he used triage correctly... when you're in a bad situation and you have to decide what (or who) to sacrifice in order to save something or someone else. In his example: you're in a lousy deadlift position, you have to sacrifice one thing (hamstring tension?) to save something else (lumbar curve?)


wrote …

Awesome content! Where can we view the rest of this clinic? Is there a part 2 somewhere?


replied to comment from Arnar Freyr Magnússon

I'm glad you said that. I was going to do the same thing.

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