The Doctor and The Deadlifter: Part 2

By Jesse Burdick and Kelly Starrett

In HD Videos, Mobility, Powerlifting

August 16, 2012

Video Article

The language of strength and conditioning is the language of human movement. So says movement and mobility guru Kelly Starrett, who also founded San Francisco CrossFit.

In this video, he and powerlifter Jesse Burdick demonstrate how they’re saying the same things but with different cues in teaching the sumo deadlift.

The first idea they tackle is “get tight.” For beginners, that can be an esoteric concept that’s difficult to grasp, Burdick says.

“If you’re not tight, if you don’t feel what that is, you’re not going to be able to idealize it,” he explains, “because it’s such a thing that floats around the ethos that you just may not be able to understand.”

Get tight by squeezing your butt at the top, screwing your feet into ground and loading the hips back, Starrett says.

The next concept is “chest up.” For an effective sumo deadlift, you must lead with your chest and not your hips; otherwise, you’re creating more distance to the lockout position, Burdick says.

“So when we say ‘chest up,’” he says, “it’s just making sure that we’re almost rounding thoracically as opposed to rounding from our lumbar.”

9min 22sec

HD file size: 209 MB
SD wmv file size: 112 MB
SD mov file size: 60 MB

Please note: These files are larger than normal Journal videos. For smoother viewing, please download the entire file to your hard drive before watching it (right-click and choose Save Link As...).

Additional audio: Additional reading: CrossFit Radio Episode 148 by Justin Judkins, published Dec. 1, 2010.

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5 Comments on “The Doctor and The Deadlifter: Part 2”


wrote …

Somebody correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Olympic lifting use the exact same back and shoulder position in the setup as the deadlift?? Kelly refers to a soft shoulder in deadlifting, yet says the soft shoulder is focused on lat engagement, scapular depression, and thoracic extension. Aren't these the exact same cues for setting at the bottom in a clean or snatch?? Again, someone correct me if I am wrong, but Olympic lifting coaches do not coach pinching the shoulder blades (scapular retraction) when setting at the bottom, correct??

Wouldn't the finish be the only difference, as a clean or snatch would entail a violent shrug (scapular elevation and retraction), where a deadlifter would finish in the same lat active position??

And yes, I agree that extremely heavy singles cause you to lose the extreme thoracic extension that is necessary to Olympic lifting. I am only questioning the starting position setup difference that Kelly referenced.

Thanks for any clarification.

- Cody


wrote …

watch Coach B.'s recent video at the CF Games, the shoulders of the athlete working with Coach B has soft shoulders at the start of the lift, because the focus is more on getting them high and outside. Most oly lifters don't setup at the top either, you'll see them setup while already in the bottom position, because the focus is way more on the legs and power.

for both oly and power lifters the lats will be engaged, but for oly lifters there needs to be relaxed shoulders so that the shrug and high elbows can be achieved to allow the lifter to get under the bar. For power lifters though you need to achieve the setup at the top with a more extended, externally rotated (read stable but further out). I watched this video last night and today was CF Total day at the gym, I PR'd to 20#s to 425# on my Deadlift with this setup!


wrote …

Love the video, but still confused on the difference betweeen the olift and deadlift setup. Not sure what soft shoulders mean.



wrote …

JB is the man!


wrote …

''your lower pec would be JACKED!''
''yeah man''
''that's important huh?''

Just love their sarcasm and profesionalism.

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