Why We Love Deadlifts – and the common form mistakes we correct!

Let’s talk about deadlifting form.

Deadlifting has ton of benefits, but we also know they can be a little complex and are (sometimes) intimidating to get started with. Even more-so than some exercises, getting the form right is really key to avoiding injury and maximizing benefit. 

We also coach quite a few different variations of deadlifts at SSP – kettlebell, double kettlebell, barbell conventional, barbell sumo, trap bar, and more. Regardless of the variation, the common corrections we make hold true. For a visual of this, check out this Instagram post!

Deadlift Form Mistakes & How to Correct Them

Mistake #1: Yanking the bar off the ground.
When nervous about a new weight, we often lose patience and try to yank the bar up quickly. This can cause us to lose upper body positioning and core tightness, which are crucial for preventing injury.

How to fix it: Brace hard, tighten up, and be patient. You’ve got this!

Mistake #2: The bar is too far out in front of you.

How to fix it: Set up with the bar over your shoelaces and keep it in contact with your legs on the way up. This keeps your weight centered on your midfoot for a stronger lift!

Mistake #3: Squatting your deadlift.
Starting with your hips too low means the bar has to swerve around your knees, creating an inefficient bar path.

How to fix it: The position of your hips should be slightly above your knees and below your shoulders in the set up. If your hips are parallel with your knees, you are in more of a squat pattern versus a deadlift (or hinge) pattern.

Mistake #4: Losing tension through the lats and shoulders.
Tension in your lats and shoulders helps maintain a neutral spine during the deadlift.

How to fix it: Keep your shoulders down and back, or think of squeezing your armpits to engage your lats. Another tip is to imagine reaching your lats towards your back pockets.

Keep Working at Your Deadlift Form!

Remember, if you are working up to a heavier weight, don’t skip the warm up! Your body needs time to warm up the pattern and adapt to heavier loads. Please don’t go straight to your working weight. 1 or 2 warm up sets (sometimes more) are usually appropriate depending on how heavy you are lifting on any given day. Your SSP coaches are here to help you 🙂

Like I said at the beginning, we love deadlifts and think they are fantastic. They are a true full-body exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including your hamstrings, glutes, back, core, and also builds your grip strength. The movement itself trains an important pattern (the hinge) which mimics real-life lifting scenarios when you are picking things up off the ground, and the stronger you are in that pattern, the stronger you are in everyday life! 

Happy training!

Want to learn how to deadlift with great form (or maybe get stronger with your current deadlift)? Click here to join us!

Our view on Yoga

We often get the question: should we do Yoga? Does it mix well with Strength Training? 

We know how popular the practice of yoga has become and we can understand why! We should say, we think Yoga is great! If you enjoy it, you should 100% do it and there are zero downsides to mixing Yoga with Strength Training. We don’t, however, believe Yoga can replace Strength Training, especially as we think about the benefits of strength for longevity as it pertains to increased muscle mass and bone density. While yoga has its benefits, it does not proactively increase muscle mass like strength training does. Let’s break it down:  

The Benefits of Strength Training

Strength training provides vital benefits for long-term health, and at SSP, that’s our primary focus. We want to help you live a stronger, longer, and healthier life. Our programming specifically targets changes through progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing resistance and driving new adaptations for muscle growth. This method is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Additionally, strength training reduces the risk of osteoporosis by putting healthy stress on bones, stimulating bone formation and increasing bone density. Furthermore, research shows that strength training is crucial for long-term health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and total mortality (Srikanthan, Horwhich & Tseng, 2016). Consistent strength training will overall improve metabolic health, enhance functional mobility, and contribute to overall quality of life by ensuring better physical performance and reducing the risk of injuries.

How to Supplement Strength Training with Yoga

Yoga can be a valuable supplement to your strength training program. Here’s how:

  • Flexibility: Yoga can have a marked impact and improvement in your overall flexibility. This can have positive effects on your range of motion and mobility during strength training.  
  • Stress Reduction and Mental Well-being: Yoga incorporates mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing techniques that help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In overly stressful periods, strength training can sometimes be counterproductive by adding more stress to your body.
  • Balance and Stability: Yoga improves balance and stability through various poses and holds. This can enhance proprioception and coordination, beneficial for performing strength training exercises safely and effectively.
  • Complementary to Strength Training: It can serve as a low-intensity exercise on rest days, keeping you active without overloading or overtraining your muscles.

Ready to add some strength training to your routine? Sign up for a no-cost assessment with us!


Srikanthan P, Horwich TB, Tseng CH. Relation of Muscle Mass and Fat Mass to Cardiovascular Disease Mortality. Am J Cardiol. 2016 Apr 15;117(8):1355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.01.033. Epub 2016 Feb 2. PMID: 26949037.

SSP Featured in Well + Good

Thanks to Well + Good for featuring SSP! Read it here. Excerpt below!

Is It Really *That* Bad to Never Strength Train? Fitness Pros Weigh In

Here’s why strength training is, frankly, worth everyone’s time, and how to get it done.

“Strength training is when we train our muscles to produce force against resistance,” explains certified personal trainer and functional strength coach Chris Travis, CPT, CFSC, owner of Seattle Strength & Performance. “That resistance can come from bodyweight, resistance bands, weights, or machines.”

That means even bodyweight activities like Pilates are considered strength training because they focus on not just stretching but also strengthening muscles, adds Gregory Rubin, DO, primary sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery at Naples Comprehensive Health.

Seattle Refined Feature on SSP!

Thanks so much to Seattle Refined for writing this feature on SSP. You can read it here.

This article does a great job of talking about the culture and inclusivity we want to create within our gyms as well as the effectiveness of our coaching and programming!

SSP on FOX13 Seattle!

We were excited to be invited as a guest on FOX13 Seattle’s Good Day Seattle program to talk about the benefits and importance of strength training as you age. You can check out the segment with Coach Chris and Coach Natalie here!

What makes SSP so different?

“I could go on about how I’ve nearly doubled in weights for every lift or how much better of a runner I am now, but most importantly, my time at SSP has taught me that I am capable of so much more!” 

This is one of my favorite reviews from our member, Madi. She gave this review over a year ago and she’s still with us today! 

I remember when Madi first came in, she had been working out at a group fitness gym and was looking for something different to help her continue to make progress towards her goals. 

We talk about our community a lot (which we love and we know our members love!) but we also get questions about why SSP is different than, say, an Orange Theory or an F45 or a big box gym. So, we thought we’d dedicate an email to talk about what we do in the gym and how our service and offering is different… particularly the exercise stuff. 🙂 

In terms of gyms, we know there are lots of options out there. Trying to choose the right one for you can feel overwhelming. There’s big box gyms, like LA Fitness or Anytime Fitness, where the model is to have an accessible open gym for you to program and workout largely on your own. There are CrossFit gyms which (typically) have a high intensity group class focus with CrossFit specific programming. There are group training circuit style gyms like an F45 or Orange Theory which specialize in larger group workouts where you are moving quickly between stations. Or, you can also hire a personal trainer for 1:1 training. Then there’s us. 🙂 Where does SSP sit amid all of this? 

Well, we are unique, and I’m not just saying that. I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying the market and different offerings out there as well as consulting and coaching gyms all across the world and country on a regular basis. I can say, in Seattle, I don’t know of any other gym that does it quite like us. 

Here’s why…

We are incredibly intentional about getting to know and learn about our members. This includes your injuries and other considerations for programming. This is why every single person that comes into SSP starts with a 1:1 assessment so we can spend time with you to inform your personal training programming and class experience. This creates a higher barrier to entry to SSP than most other gyms who might offer a free class or session as a low barrier offer, but we maintain this because we believe it provides the best experience for members as they come into the gym. 

Our personal training program is built off of the principles of progressive overload. Meaning, you will see and make strength gains over time because we are intentionally manipulating your weights, repetitions, sets, tempo, and exercise variation to create adaptations over time (Plotkin et al.). Our team keeps a careful record of the weights, reps, and sets you did in each personal training session, and aims to increase at least one of these factors the next time you train. In other group fitness class environments, the coach is not responsible for ensuring you are adjusting these variables over time, which is often why people feel like they “plateau” in group fitness because your body becomes really good at adapting and becoming efficient at processing the stimulus you are providing it. 

The reverse of #2 is, while we know when and how to push you to drive strength gains, our coaches also know how and when to scale back. We understand other variables affect your ability to perform in the gym. Some days you may need to do some light movement or mobility instead of pushing hard. In fact, scientifically, we know it’s much better for you to scale back on days where your stress level is higher overall because exercise IS stress. The more stress we place on top of stress, the longer (and harder) your recovery period is. 

We focus on improving your strength and abilities in everyday activities. You train your full body every time you come in, meaning you’ll push, pull, squat, and hinge every time, and in doing so, we’re also challenging your core and your ability to move through different planes of motion (e.g. side to side and rotationally). In addition, we train for power using lightweight and quick movements while also training for maximum strength through heavy weights. All of this translates to real life – moving faster to pick up your kids because you can change direction and pivot better, carrying your heavy suitcases up stairs to your AirBnBs on trips, tackling those big hikes easier because of greater glute and hamstring strength, and being faster than all your friends playing recreational sports on the weekends. 😉 

We’re not saying group training, big box, etc. are bad. There is always a positive physiological and community benefit to having movement in your life consistently, regardless of what that may be. We also do small group classes at SSP, and we know working out with your peers has been shown to encourage consistency, decrease stress, and foster a sense of community, which you know we’re all about here at SSP (Yorks et al.). 

That said, we know that the way we train at SSP leads to faster gains in general stability, mobility, and definitely strength than most other group classes environments just by the nature of how we program, track progress for each individual, and coach. 

Happy training! 

Coach Chris & Team SSP

P.S. Sign up for your 1:1 assessment to get started!


Plotkin D, Coleman M, Van Every D, Maldonado J, Oberlin D, Israetel M, Feather J, Alto A, Vigotsky AD, Schoenfeld BJ. 2022. Progressive overload without progressing load? The effects of load or repetition progression on muscular adaptations. PeerJ 10:e14142 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.14142

Yorks, Dayna M., Frothingham, Christopher A. and Schuenke, Mark D.. “Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students” Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, vol. 117, no. 11, 2017, pp. e17-e25. https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2017.140


Our First Special Guest!

Hello friends,

We had a special guest on the podcast for Episode 12! Listen in as Coach Natalie and Coach Chris chat with Alper, a beloved member, about his journey to SSP, his initial skepticism about SSP, and what he really enjoys about his experience and training now. We also talk about his past experience with different trainers (many of them!).

We know all of our members have a story about they came to SSP, and it was very cool for us to hear Alper tell his. We’re biased but we think this podcast is a good listen! 🙂 If you’re a member, you can probably relate. If you’re not a member, you get a fresh perspective from someone who’s been with us over a year now!  

As always, you can listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts!

Let us know what you think? And we’re always looking for topics for future episodes! Drop us a note if you have any specific asks or questions from the episode. 

Happy Listening! 


Coach Chris & Team SSP

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Here’s one we just sent out!

Our View on Fitness & Diet Culture

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a big fan of traditional fitness and diet culture. I see a lot of it  advertised right now because of the sunny weather with messages like “get your summer body!”  

I don’t take any issue with anyone wanting to improve their body composition, get stronger, feel better and more confident. What I do take issue with is how certain segments of the industry prey on people’s insecurities to drive them into fitness spaces or to participate in wholly unhealthy fad diets. As a fitness professional, I have to believe we’re all in this to help as many people as we can improve their health and their life, and if that’s the case, we should do better. 

As a professional and as a person who has been consistent with my fitness for the last 10 years, I can say with confidence that fitness and nutrition is a lifelong endeavor, something that you do consistently over time with the key benefits being an increased lifespan (and independence in that life), decreased risk of diseases, and greater mobility and strength to do more of the things you love for longer (and hey, you’ll probably build some muscle and your clothes will fit differently in the process). 

But, when I see messages like “6 week shred” and “cleanse to get your summer body” and “4 weeks to your six pack” it always rubs me the wrong way. The messages are toxic, and it’s a marketing ploy specifically targeted to get people to take action because they feel insecure about their bodies. 

Look, business is business, and the business of fitness is not easy. I understand professionals need to make money, but I believe you can still do that and stand for something else. 

You’ll notice at SSP we don’t talk about “shreds.” We won’t participate in perpetuating what has historically been what the fitness industry has said “fitness” or “strength” looks like. We won’t tell you to stop eating certain foods or to aggressively cut your caloric intake. We are about creating community. We are about quality coaching. We are about teaching exercise and nutrition as lifelong habits. We are about encouraging people to take up space, and to create an environment where they feel seen, heard, and respected. 

We’re always here to support you on your journey because we believe strength training is for everybody, and we believe in doing our part to change the toxic messaging in the industry. 


Chris & Team SSP 

P.S. Sign up here for an assessment to start your 30-day trial membership. You’ll get 2 personal training sessions and unlimited access to our classes for $99! 

National Exposure: Articles featuring our gym and our coaches!

SSP coaches have been consulted with and featured in multiple publications and articles. We love spreading our philosophies and coaching to more people. Check these out! 

Everything You Need To Know About Compound Exercises (Nike)

Don’t Skip Strength Training if you want to Get Better at Running (Insider) https://www.insider.com/runners-should-strength-train-for-better-speed-and-endurance-coach-2022-5

Locals to Know: Chris Travis (The Evergrey)

The expert guide to the ultimate glute workout for men (The Manual)

Why Grip is Essential (Shape) 

4 Low Impact Exercises that target the core and help you build muscle and master form (Insider)

How to Do a Lateral Squat and Why It’s a Great Exercise for Runners (Runner’s World)

Fire Up the Entire Back of Your Body with the Superman Exercise (Runner’s World)

3 Common Strength Training Myths Debunked (Eat This Not That)

The 8 Best Kettlebells to Buy for Your Home Workouts (Livestrong)

All the Muscles That Fire Up In a Plank (Nike)

How to Create a Workout Routine You’ll Actually Stick To (Paceline)

11 Benefits of Training With Dumbbells (Livestrong)

9 Strategies for Gaining Muscle While Losing Weight (US News & World Report)

Business Spotlight (Phinney Neighborhood Association)