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