Hello, everyone! I’m Mai-linh Dovan, a certified athletic therapist and the proud founder of Rehab-U Movement and Performance Therapy. Today, I’m thrilled to welcome you back to our YouTube channel, where we’re about to unravel the transformative potential of a technique often underestimated in rehabilitation – the deadstart.


In my global interactions with trainers and therapists, a common thread emerges – a gap in understanding training methods within the realm of rehab periodization. The default prescription of 3 x 10 seems ingrained, stemming from research and literature. However, it’s high time we break free from this conventional mold and explore the broader spectrum of possibilities within our rehab routines.

A crucial aspect that tends to be overlooked is the significance of intensity in rehabilitation. While volume plays its part, intensity stands out as the often-underappreciated missing piece. We frequently find ourselves navigating through rehab exercises that, because they lack in intensity, lack the necessary overload to truly stimulate progress.

So, let’s recalibrate our approach to rehab and embrace a deeper understanding of intensity. Rather than settling for a linear progression like increasing the load and decreasing repetitions, let’s explore how we can stress the tissues strategically. This involves identifying vulnerable positions within the range of motion that were initially protected during the early stages of rehabilitation and are now ready to be exposed to controlled mechanical stress.

Enter the deadstart technique – a methodology well-established in the world of training but deserving of greater attention within the realm of rehabilitation. The core principle of the deadstart involves initiating a repetition from a state of inertia, distinctly different from the typical eccentric-concentric flow. By eliminating the storage of potential energy, the deadstart intensifies the concentric phase of the movement.

Now, let’s delve into practical applications with a few deadstart exercises:

Box Squat: Starting with the box squat, we emphasize the importance of maintaining tension throughout the movement. A common pitfall to avoid is leaning back on the box. Instead, we advocate for a deadstart on the box while maintaining tension and a deliberate two to three-second stop. This exercise can be particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from low back pain or injury.

Anderson Squat: The Anderson squat introduces a unique perspective by starting the squat from the bottom rather than the top. This exercise is ideal for individuals recovering from hip impingement. The controlled pause at the bottom ensures a true deadstart, progressively exposing the hip to deep flexion.

Trap Bar Deadstart: Focusing on squats, we explore the trap bar deadstart. This involves coming to a full and complete stop on the floor, with an added challenge of an uneven loaded trap bar squat. This exercise is valuable for addressing ankle, knee, hip, or low back injuries, forcing individuals to shift weight from one side to the other.

As we conclude our exploration of the deadstart technique, it’s essential to recognize that intensity encompasses more than just load. Variables like force vectors, speed of contraction, and targeted application within the range of motion play pivotal roles.