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Deadlifting is king when it comes to strengthening your posterior chain—some people even like to call the exercise the king of all lifts. But before you can master your deadlift form, you should properly warm up your body. Enter Dr. Aaron Horschig, DPT, known for his Squat University series. In a recent YouTube video, the good doctor details exactly how he advocates you should be warming up before jumping right into your deadlift routine.

1. A deep goblet squat for hip mobility

2. Hip airplane for hip coordination and rotation stability

3. Bridges for priming glute strength/activation

4. Bird dog for core stability

“If you do these 4 things, I promise you you’re going to be feeling that much more warmed up and that much more ready to lift big weights with great technique,” he says.

Here are his instructions to help prime you to set your goal deadlift PR.

Deep Goblet Squat
10 Reps

Grab a weight plate (he uses 25 pounds, but you can also start using only your bodyweight if need be), jamming your knees out to create an external rotation and keeping your big toes dug into the ground. From there, squat down as deep as you can and hold for a few seconds. Come up a couple inches, squeezing your glutes, descend back down and stand back up. Then, spread your feet a bit further apart, and repeat the squat. Finally, move your feet even wider, and repeat the squat, creating torque in the lateral hip muscles.

Hip Airplane
10 reps on each side

Stand on one foot and keep your back leg completely straight (if that helps, think of this like you would a single-leg Romanian Deadlift). Hinge forward completely, arms out to the side for balance. Hold the position for a few seconds, keeping your back toe pointing straight down and your hips neutral. Internally rotate your core to the left, back to center, then right.

10 to 15 reps; 10 second hold
Loop a hip circle band around your knees and get down on the ground on your back. Brace your core and drive your feet into the ground, lifting your hips and squeezing your glutes hard. Hold it for 10 seconds. If your hamstrings start to cramp, bring your heels closer to your glutes. This will shorten the hamstring muscle and decrease its ability to decrease to the motion to your hip extension. Another variation: While up in the bridge, push your toes downward, which will fire up your quads and glutes more.

Bird Dog
6 reps; 10 second hold on each side

The reason Horschig likes activating core stability to prime your body to eliminate any excessive back rounding while also activating the hip. Get on all fours, and kick out your opposite leg and arm, squeezing and holding for 10 seconds. Check out this guide for more form cues.

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