The Dynamic Start, an answer, finally and about time, to my favorite lifter who loves Diet Coke

Okay, okay, I am finally going to answer this question for you.  I know you’ve pestered me for months to actually go into details about what a dynamic start is, how to use it, why you should use it, and when to use it. 

There are two basic types of starts in weightlifting, the static and dynamic.  A Static Start is when the lifter begins the separation of the bar from the ground with no assistance from a stretch reflex.  Essentially, the lifter is still, unmoving, as if paused, and then they begin to lift the bar from the platform.  Conversely, a dynamic start is a moving start position, one in which the athlete utilizes the Stretch-Shortening cycle to allow them to pull the bar of the ground with more force, thereby finding it easier to overcome inertia and thereby impart more initial speed to the bar movement.

There are three basic types of dynamic starts with different individual variations within each of the styles.  The first is a top-down start, the second is a bottom-up start, and the third is a dive-bomb start.  In a top down down start, the lifter gets set, lifts their hips sharply up and then down, and as soon as they get back down to the starting position the bar is lifted from the ground.  Mattie Rogers demonstrates this technique in these hookgrip videos:

A bottom up dynamic start is when an athlete brings their hips lower than the hips are at the initial pull from the ground. Sohrad Moradi does this well in this Hookgrip Video:

The third type of dynamic start is the dive-bomb start.  Wes Barnett did it best for America, here he is taking Silver in the Clean and Jerk at the World Championships in 1997:

While these great lifters use Dynamic Starts, we do not want to teach this technique to beginners.  Use advanced techniques and aids to enhance strengths, not to hide weaknesses.  A dynamic start should be utilized only when a lifter is physically and technically capable of starting precisely and with good technique and position from the floor, and when the weight being lifted becomes difficult to accelerate off the floor.  We must not coach the dynamic start to lifters who have weak backs, tight hamstrings, etc. As coaches, we fix those weaknesses first then, after a period of a few years, we’ll utilize the dynamic start if it will enhance a lifters ability.    

When we teach or use the dynamic start, it’s important that the lifter maintain tension on the barbell throughout the lift with good upper back position, that the lifter finds their hip height automatically, and that there is no pause between the end of the dynamic start and starting of the pull off the floor. 

There are many movements lifters would like to think are dynamic starts.  The hip tweaking nervousness and bouncing the hips up and down several times before you lift isn’t a dynamic start, it’s wasted energy and a sign of anxiety.  A dynamic start with the bar rolling toward the lifter isn’t a dynamic start, it’s getting set because we’re too heavy to bend down to the bar properly.  Also, getting set with your hips low, then doing the upward start, and starting with your hips high isn’t a dynamic start.  It’s being weak in the hamstrings and glutes and you as a lifter trying to hide that weakness. 

Michael McKennaComment