What Is Your Initiating Cue?

When you deadlift do you think pull or push?  I guess it doesn't matter what you say, it's the meaning you put behind the word.  If you're thinking "pull" as the word is usually applied, your attention is probably more in your upper body.   This doesn't mean you are bending your arms, but it can give the internal image of opening the hips from the start, moving the weight with your back and/or yanking the bar off the ground (as apposed to squeezing which I'll mention in a second).  If this resonates with you as your "pull" cue, you may want to consider "push" instead.  The reason we prefer push as the cue is because what's happening when you lift any bar off the ground is that you are pushing the ground away with your feet, i.e. extending your knees.  Once you get that nice tight set up position (as Megan shows below), making sure to take the slack out of the bar by squeezing or slightly pulling with your upper body (not yanking), all you do after that is push the ground away with your feet.  Of course you must make sure your chest rises at the same rate to keep your back angle, but that is not really an active "pull," it's really more of an isometric (contraction without muscular lengthen or shorten) activation.  
This is definitely a subjective topic, what do you tell yourself before you lift the bar, what thought initiates the lift?


3 x 6 Deadlift

200m run and 30 burpees together (15 each)
30 power cleans (65/95lb) (one person working at a time, split up however desired)
30 thrusters
30 ground to overhead
30 (full) cleans
30 shoulder to overhead
30 hang power clean
30 burpees (15 each) and 200 meter run toghether