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UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND
ITS VARIATIONS
by Clifton J.AQ1 Holmes, M.S., CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Apply It!
From this article, the reader should
Understand what the deadlift
exercise is and how it can be
beneficial for anyone going
through a resistance training
program,
Gain foundational knowledge
about the similarities and dif-
ferences between deadlift ex-
ercise variations,
Be able to avoid the common
errors associated with the
deadlift exercises in order to
stay safe and injury-free, and
Know how to determine which
deadlift exercise variation is
best for a particular individual.
Key words: Compound Movement,
Free Weight, Low Back Pain,
Resistance Training
INTRODUCTION
The deadlift is a compound, multiple-joint lower body exercise (1). Because
the lift can be performed with heavy loads, a large mechanical stimulus is
placed on the body, lending itself well to strength and power adaptations.
The deadlift is a premier exercise for enhancing the muscles of the poste-
rior chain (e.g., back, hips, and hamstrings) because of its setup (i.e.,starting
position). Because the weighted barbell remains anterior to the lifters center of mass, there
is greater demand for the erector spinae muscles to stabilize the spine when compared
with other compound free-weight exercises (e.g., the back squat) (2). The deadlift is one
of three events seen in the sport of powerlifting (3) and is incorporated into weightlifting
programs as a supplemental movement (4). The exercise can be relatively simple if prop-
erly taught and supervised. However, its simplicity does not diminish effectiveness of the
exercise, making it an ideal movement to include in strength and conditioning programs
and personal training sessions for lifters at all experience levels (1,4). In addition to its use
in competitive athletics and recreational training, the deadlift is a valuable tool used in
postoperative and nonsurgical rehabilitation protocols (1). The exercise has been shown
to be beneficial for reducing the risk of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reduc-
ing low back pain (5).
The deadlift is a compound, multiple-joint lower body exercise (1).
Because the lift can be performed with heavy loads, a large
mechanical stimulus is placed on the body, lending itself well to
strength and power adaptations. The deadlift is a premier exercise
for enhancing the muscles of the posterior chain (e.g., back, hips,
and posterior thighs) because of its setup (i.e., starting position).
When speaking about the deadlift, many usually think of the conventional or sumo
style. The conventional deadlift is characterized by a shoulder-width stance of the feet
and the arms outside of the knees. The sumo deadlift distinguishes itself by requiring a
wide stance and a handgrip that is between the knees. The conventional deadlift requires
the trunk to be more flexed forward than the sumo style of deadlifting, which uses a more
erect back position. The forward lean of the conventional deadlift recruits more of the
lower back musculature around the lumbar spine, whereas the sumo deadlift increases
the involvement of the hip musculature to perform the movement (6,7). Two additional
variations of the exercise are the stiff-leg deadlift (SLDL) and the Romanian deadlift
(RDL). These exercises are unique in the fact that the starting position is standing, similar
to the starting position of a hang power clean. Both exercises are initiated by lowering the
bar through hip flexion, moving through a full range of motion (ROM), before ending
back in the standing position. The primary differences between the two are the degree
of knee flexion at the start of the movement and the proximity of the bar to the body as
a lifter progresses through the concentric and eccentric phases (6,7).
Volume 24 | Number 3 www.acsm-healthfitness.org 1
Copyedited by: Mary Grace Trillana
Although all the aforementioned variations are under the
umbrella term of the deadlift, there are many key differences be-
tween them. This article will break down the correct procedures
necessary to perform each deadlift variation and recommenda-
tions on how to choose which to use in a resistance exercise
program.
PROCEDURES
Proper biomechanics in the starting position is essential to exe-
cute the lifting tasks for the deadlift safely and efficiently. All
deadlift variations should be conducted in a slow, controlled
manner. To enhance safety, and effective learning, lifters unfa-
miliar with performing the deadlift should use either unloaded
or lightly loaded bars to learn the right position and develop
proper exercise technique. The deadlift and its variations are
taught and coached with close supervision but generally not di-
rectly spotted like the back squat or bench press exercises.
Proper technique and control should be demonstrated before
increasing the weight being lifted. Coaches and trainers should
formulate quick and simplistic technique cues to implement dur-
ing the teaching of the following exercises.
Proper biomechanics in the starting position
is essential to execute the lifting tasks for the
deadlift safely and efficiently. All deadlift
variations should be conducted in a slow,
controlled manner. To enhance safety, and
effective learning, lifters unfamiliar with
performing the deadlift should use either
unloaded or lightly loaded bars to learn the
right position and to develop proper exercise
technique.
Conventional Deadlift
Setup
1. The bar should be positioned on the floor, directly over
the distal end of the metatarsals (i.e., balls of the feet), ap-
proximately 1 to 2 inches from the vertical shin.
2. Stand with the feet flat and placed between hip- and
shoulder-width apart. The toes should be pointed for-
ward or slightly outward.
3. With a slight flexion in the knees, bend down toward the bar,
letting the hips move directly backward in a hingingmo-
tion. While bending over to the bar, the knees should remain
stationery and shins should remain in a vertical position.
4. Grasp the bar with a double overhand grip, placing the
hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, outside
of the knees. Keep elbows fully extended.
5. From here, lower the hips into the final starting position
by allowing the knees to move forward until the shins
touch the bar. The head and the neck are aligned with
the trunk by focusing the eyes slightly downward. The
back should be flat to maintain a neutral spine.
6. The chest should be held up and out, creating slight ten-
sion in the upper back to prevent rounding.
Action
Concentric/Upward Phase
1. While keeping the head neutral, the torso rigid, and the
arms fully extended, lift the bar off the floor by extending
the hips and knees.
2. Keep tension in the hips, driving the feet into the floor to
move the bar upward.
3. Once the bar reaches the knees, extend the hips forward to
move the thighs forward to meet the bar. Continue to extend
the hips and knees until the body reaches a standing position.
Eccentric/Lowering Phase
4. From the standing position, allow the hips and knees to
flex, lowering the bar to the floor. Maintain a neutral head
and flat back position until the bar is back to the floor.
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND ITS VARIATIONS
2ACSMsHealth & Fitness Journal
®
May/June 2020
Tips
1. When getting into the starting position, do not lean too
far over the bar. Shoulders should be directly in line with
the bar or slightly ahead.
2. Do not let your knees extend prematurely. Extend the
knees in a slow and controlled manner, so the hips rise
simultaneously with the chest at a similar pace.
3. Do not jerk the bar or hyperextend the back at the top
position of the lift (see Video 1, Supplemental Digital
Content 1, http://links.lww.com/FIT/A142).
Sumo Deadlift
Setup
1. The bar should start on the floor. The feet should be
placed outside of shoulder width, with the midfoot being
directly under the bar. Angle the toes outward approx-
imately 40° to 45° with the shins in a near-vertical
position.
2. Squat down and grip the bar with the hands betweenthe
knees and the arms fully extended.
3. Set the hips back and position them slightly higher than
the knees while still maintaining a relatively upright trunk
position.
4. The shoulders should be in line with the bar. The head
and the neck are aligned with the trunk by focusing the
eyes slightly downward. The back should be flat, main-
taining a neutral spine.
5. The chest should be held up and out, creating slight ten-
sion in the upper back to prevent rounding.
Action
Concentric/Upward Phase
1. Initiate the exercise by simultaneously extending the
knees, hips, and back. Drive the feet into the ground
and force the knees outward to maintain externally ro-
tated position of femur head.
2. During the upward phase of the lift, keep the bar close to
the body, almost dragging it along the shins.
3. Once the bar reaches the knees, extend the hips forward
by contracting the gluteus muscles to move the thighs
forward to meet the bar while simultaneously extending
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Volume 24 | Number 3 www.acsm-healthfitness.org 3
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND ITS VARIATIONS
4ACSMsHealth & Fitness Journal
®
May/June 2020
the knees. The top position will have the knees, hips, and
back fully extended.
Eccentric/Lowering Phase
4. From the top position, allow the hips and knees to flex,
lowering the bar to the floor. Maintain a neutral head and flat
back position.
Tips
1. Keep an upright posture in comparison with the conven-
tional style. The back can be flat or slightly concave, just
as long as there is tension in the musculature for proper
stability of the spine.
2. Avoid excessive hyperextending of the back at the top
position of the lift; use forceful glute contraction so that
the hips meet the bar (see Video 2, Supplemental Digital
Content 2, http://links.lww.com/FIT/A143).
Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Setup
1. Unrack the bar or perform a proper conventional dead-
lift to get into a standing position with the bar in hand.
2. Stand with the feet flat and placed between hip- and
shoulder-width apart with toes pointed forward. Hands
should be approximately shoulder-width apart, slightly
on the outside of the thighs.
3. The head position should be in a neutral position. The
chest should be up and out with the scapula retracted
to create tension in the upper back musculature.
4. The knees should remain relatively straight through the
full ROM of the exercise.
Action
Eccentric/Lowering Phase
1. Begin the exercise by flexing the trunk forward at the
hips while keeping a fixed knee position and a neutral
spine and head position.
2. Drive the hips back through flexion while maintaining
distance between the barbell and the lower extremities
with the weight in line with the shoulders.
3. During the lowering phase, the bar will remain out in
front of the body, directly beneath the shoulders, creat-
ing space between the legs and the bar. Lower the weight
until the plates touch the floor or as far as the proper
technique can be maintained without rounding of
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Photo courtesy of Clifton J. Holmes, MS.
Volume 24 | Number 3 www.acsm-healthfitness.org 5
the back, locking of the knees, or heels rising off the
ground.
Concentric/Upward Phase
4. For the upward phase of the lift, extend the hips back to
the starting standing position. Maintain a fixed knee and flat
back position. Refrain from hyperextending or jerking the torso
backward.
Tips
1. Because of the increased shear stress placed on the lower
back, it is important that neutrality or slight lordosis (i.e.,
normal inward curvature) of the thoracic and lumbar
sections of the spine be emphasized to prevent rounding
of the back to reduce risk of injury.
2. Although the knees are relatively straight and stay in a
fixed position during the lift, do not lock them out or hy-
perextend them.
3. Because of the positioning of the bar directly under the
shoulder, more care should be taken to pinch the scapula
together to keep the upper back tight (see Video 3, Sup-
plemental Digital Content 3, http://links.lww.com/
FIT/A144).
Romanian Deadlift
Setup
1. Unrack the bar or perform a proper conventional dead-
lift to get into a standing position with the bar in hand.
2. Stand with the feet flat and placed between hip- and
shoulder-width apart with toes pointed forward. Hands
should be approximately shoulder-width apart, slightly
on the outside of the thighs.
3. The head should be in a neutral position. The chest
should be up and out with the scapula retracted to create
tension in the upper back musculature.
4. Unlike the SLDL, the knees will have a greater degree of
flexion, approximately 15
°
.
Action
Eccentric/Lowering Phase
1. The movement is initiated with flexion at the hips, creat-
ing rotation around the joint in a hinging manner.
2. While the hips move backward, the bar is slowly lowered
keeping the weight close to the thighs instead of under-
neath the shoulders, unlike the SLDL.
3. Continue to lower the bar until it is in line with the pa-
tella tendon or is slightly below the knee.
Concentric/Upward Phase
4. For the upward phase of the lift, extend the hips back to the
starting standing position. Maintain a fixed knee and flat back po-
sition. Refrain from hyperextending or jerking the torso backward.
Tips
1. Although there is greater flexion in the knee in compar-
ison with the SLDL, do not overly bend at the knees.
There should still be a large degree of stretch under load
on the gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
2. Because of the positioning of the bar directly under the
shoulder, more care should be taken to pinch the scapula
together to keep the upper back tight and prevent subse-
quent rounding (see Video 4, Supplemental Digital Con-
tent 4, http://links.lww.com/FIT/A145).
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
The technique differences in position and execution between
the deadlift and its variations are well understood in the field
of exercise science. However, the efficacy of one variation over
the other is not quite as clear. Choosing which specific exercise
to use will depend on several factors, including muscle involve-
ment, anthropometrics, and comfort. Muscle recruitment and
development is essential for determining which exercise to
choose (5). All variations of the deadlift recruit the following pri-
mary muscle groups to varying degrees:
Gluteus maximus
Semimembranosus
Semitendinosus
Biceps femoris
Erector spinae
The technique differences in position and
execution between the deadlift variations are
well understood in the field of exercise science.
However, the efficacy of one variation over the
other is not quite as clear. Choosing which
variation of the deadlift to use will depend on
several factors including muscle involvement,
anthropometrics, and comfort.
However, the conventional and sumo deadlift exercises addi-
tionally recruit the quadriceps musculature (i.e., rectus femoris,
vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius) (8). Elec-
tromyographic data have shown that there is greater quadriceps
activity via the vasti muscles during the sumo deadlift compared
with the conventional (5). Closed chain exercises (e.g.,thedead-
lift and back squat) elicit moderate to high co-contraction from
knee musculature and have been shown to minimize ACL strain
(5). Because EMG data have supported greater vasti activity with
the sumo deadlift, it may be useful to select it over the conven-
tional style during ACL rehabilitation (5). However, a physician
UNDERSTANDING THE DEADLIFT AND ITS VARIATIONS
6ACSMsHealth & Fitness Journal
®
May/June 2020
or therapist should be consulted before implementing deadlift
variations into a rehabilitation program. When it comes to ham-
string and gluteus maximus activation, no significant differences
canbeseenintheactivitygeneratedbetweenconventional
and sumo deadlift (2,5). Regarding the recruitment of the back
extensor muscles (e.g., erector spinae), some research has re-
ported greater activity when performing the conventional dead-
lift (2), whereas other literature has found no significant difference
(5). Finally, in regard to the muscles of the lower leg, the sumo
style generates greater stimulus of the tibialis anterior, whereas
the conventional style produces greater activity in the
medial gastrocnemius.
SLDL and RDL are known for specifically targeting the glu-
teus musculature and hamstrings (9,10). When compared with
three other exercises (i.e., leg curl, glute ham raise, and good
morning), EMG research shows that RDL produces greater ac-
tivity in the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus,
and medial gastrocnemius (10). Additional research has shown
that SLDL produces similar mean activation of the upper me-
dial and lateral hamstrings as the lying leg curl (9). Although it
is commonly believed the SLDL and RDL are superior exercises
for training the hamstrings compared with the conventional
deadlift, research has shown that there are no significant differ-
ences in muscle activity produced in the biceps femoris between
them (7,11). In addition, greater activity in the gluteus maximus
has been observed with the conventional deadlift over the RDL
(7). It is also important to note that if chronic, excessive low back
pain is being experienced, the SLDL may exasperate the prob-
lem because of the distance between the load and the body.
Limb lengths can be a contributing factor in how well an in-
dividual performs a deadlift exercise. When it comes to conven-
tional versus sumo deadlifting, shorter arms lend themselves
better to sumo style, whereas elongated arms are typically well
suited for conventional. In regard to SLDL and RDL, because
of the distance between the bar and the body during the execu-
tion of the SLDL, those with longer torso may wish to perform
the RDL exercise instead to reduce low back stress and the risk
of rounding during the lift (12).
When choosing a deadlift exercise variation, comfort is crit-
ical. Individuals should implement exercises they can perform
repeatedly without pain or discomfort. High compressive and
shear forces have been reported in the spinal column with
deadlifting (5). The best way to manage these forces and prevent
injury is to practice proper technique and avoid overloading the
weight too quickly. With the SLDL specifically, the distance be-
tween the bar and the body produces greater torque on the hips
and lumbar areas. The RDL allows for reduced stress on the
lower back relative to the SLDL (6). It may be beneficial to in-
corporate the SLDL during muscular endurance training (e.g.,
15 repetitions), the RDL for hypertrophy training (e.g.,612
repetitions), and the conventional and sumo deadlift styles dur-
ing muscular strength phases (6 repetitions) (8). Finally,
weight-training belts can reduce the risk of injury and enhance
an individuals ability to lift heavier loads. When used correctly,
increased abdominal cavity pressure from the belt transfers load
off the spinalcolumn during the movement. Belts should only be
used for exercises that stress the lower back and are near maxi-
mal loads; avoid belt usage for light loads (5,8).
1. Hammer ME, Meir RA, Whitting JW, Crowley-McHattan ZJ. Shod vs. barefoot
effects on force and power developmentduring a conventional deadlift.J Strength
Cond Res. 2018;32(6):152530.
2. Cholewicki J, McGill SM, Norman RW. Lumbar spine loads during the lifting of
extremely heavy weights. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23(10):117986.
3. Beckham GK, Lamont HS, Sato K, Ramsey MW, Haff GG, Stone MH. Isometric
strength of powerlifters in key positions of the conventional deadlift. Journal of
Tra in o lo gy. 2012;1(2):325.
4. Farley K. Analysis of the conventional deadlift.Strength Cond J. 1995;17(6):557.
5. Escamilla RF, Francisco AC, Kayes AV, Speer KP, Moorman CT 3rd. An electromyo-
graphic analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts. Med Sci Sports Exerc.
2002;34(4):6828.
6. Piper TJ, Waller MA. Variations of the deadlift. Strength Cond J. 2001;23(3):66.
7. Lee S, Schultz J, Timgren J, Staelgraeve K, Miller M, Liu Y. An electromyographic
and kinetic comparison of conventional and Romanian deadlifts. JExercSciFit.
2018;16(3):8793.
8. Haff GG, Triplett NT. Human kinetics. In: Essentials of Strength Training and
Conditioning. 4th ed. 2015.
9. Schoenfeld BJ, Contreras B, Tiryaki-Sonmez G, Wilson JM, Kolber MJ, Peterson
MD. Regional differences in muscle activation during hamstrings exercise.
J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(1):15964.
10. McAllister MJ, HammondKG, Schilling BK, Ferreria LC, ReedJP, Weiss LW. Muscle
activation during various hamstring exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(6):
157380.
11. Bezerra ES, SimãR Fleck SJ, et al. Electromyographic activity of lower body
muscles during the deadlift and stiff-legged deadlift. J Exerc Physiol Online.2013;
16(10979751):309.
12. Hales M. Improving the deadlift: understanding biomechanical constraints and
physiological adaptations to resistance exercise. Strength Cond J. 2010;32(4):4451.
Disclosure: The author declares no conflicts of interest and
does not have any financial disclosures.
Clifton J. Holmes, M.S., CSCS, is a Ph.D.
student and graduate assistant majoring in ex-
ercise science at the University of Alabama
where his research focuses on strength training,
cardiovascularautonomic modulation via non-
invasive measures, performance testing, body
composition assessment, and sport monitoring
through measurements of fatigue and recovery.
BRIDGING THE GAP
The deadlift is an extremely effective compound,
multiple-joint movement for increasing total-body
strength and power. All deadlift variations can be useful in
training the posterior chain muscles, rehabilitating knee
injuries, and reducing the risk of low back pain.
Determining which deadlift variation to incorporate into a
fitness program will depend on the goals, body type, and
personal preference of the individual.
Volume 24 | Number 3 www.acsm-healthfitness.org 7
AUTHOR QUERY
AUTHOR PLEASE ANSWER QUERY
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names (in blue) for indexing after publication.
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Article
Both weightlifting belts and wrist straps are commonly used weightlifting training aids but their effects on deadlift kinematics and performance were still not known. This study examined the effects of weightlifting belts and wrist straps on the kinematics of the deadlift exercise, time to complete a deadlift and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in male recreational weightlifters. This study used a repeated-measures, within-subjects design. Twenty male healthy recreational weightlifters (mean age ± standard deviation = 23.1 ± 2.5 years) were recruited from 2 local gyms and the Education University of Hong Kong between January and April 2021. All participants used various combinations of belt and straps during a conventional deadlift. The hip and knee flexion, cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis angles and time to complete a deadlift were measured using video analysis software. RPE was also recorded. Wearing both a belt and wrist straps was found to reduce knee flexion angle (P < .001), but not hip flexion angle (P > .05), during the setup phase of the deadlift compared to wearing no aid. Wearing straps alone exaggerated thoracic kyphosis in the lockout phase of the deadlift compared to wearing a belt alone (P < .001). No changes were seen in cervical and lumbar lordosis angles when using any or both of the weightlifting aids. Additionally, the participants completed deadlifts faster when wearing both a belt and straps (P = .008) and perceived less exertion when wearing a belt and/or straps (P < .001). Weightlifting belts and wrist straps, when using together, have positive effects on the kinematics of deadlift, time to complete a deadlift and RPE in male recreational weightlifters. Trainers should recommend the use of a belt and straps together, but not straps alone, to recreational weightlifters when performing deadlift training.
Article
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Background/objective Significant biomechanical differences were found among deadlift variations. However, little is known about the differences between the conventional and the Romanian deadlifts. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine which deadlift technique is a better training protocol between the conventional and the Romanian deadlifts as indicated by the greater demand in muscle activities and joint kinetics. Methods 21 males performed each deadlift with 70% of the Romanian deadlift one repetition maximum (1RM) determined using a 1RM testing. Myoelectric activities of the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, and gluteus maximus and lower extremity net joint torque (NJT) were compared. The variables were extracted through an electromyography system (EMG) and a three-dimensional motion analysis. The EMG values were normalized to the peak EMG activation from a submaximal non-isometric voluntary contraction. A two-way repeated measures analysis of variance was conducted for statistical analysis. The level of significance was set at 0.05. Results Significantly greater normalized EMG values were found from the rectus femoris and gluteus maximus (58.57 ± 13.73 and 51.52 ± 6.08 %peak) of the conventional deadlift than those of the Romanian deadlift (25.26 ± 14.21 and 46.88 ± 7.39 %peak). The conventional deadlift indicated significantly greater knee and ankle NJTs (0.21 ± 0.13 and −0.33 ± 0.08 Nm/kg cm) than those of the Romanian deadlift (−0.28 ± 0.1 and −0.29 ± 0.06 Nm/kg cm). Conclusion The conventional deadlift would be a better technique for training the rectus femoris and gluteus maximus than the Romanian deadlift as indicated by the greater EMG and NJT values.
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The kinetics of a conventional deadlift in shod (S) versus unshod (US) footwear conditions in 10 male participants (mean ± SD, age = 27.0 ± 5.8 years; weight = 78.7 ± 11.5 kg; height = 175.8 ± 8.2 cm; 1RM deadlift = 155.8 ± 25.8 kg) was assessed in two testing sessions. A counterbalanced, crossover experimental design was used with different loads (60% and 80% 1RM). Four sets of four repetitions were prescribed per session with two sets per shoe and with each shoe condition involving one set per load. Peak vertical force (PF), rate of force development (RFD), time to peak force (TPF), anterior-posterior (COP-AP) and medio-lateral (COP-ML) center of pressure excursion, and barbell peak power (PP) data were recorded during all repetitions. Except for RFD (F = 6.389; p = 0.045; ηp = 0.516) and ML-COP (F = 6.696; p = 0.041; ηp = 0.527), there were no other significant main effects of shoe. There were significant main effects of load for PF (p < 0.05), COP-AP (p = 0.011), TPF (p = 0.018) and COP-AP (p = 0.011). There were no significant interactions found between session, shoe and load (p range from 0.944 to 0.086). While the unshod condition may have produced changes in RFD and ML-COP compared with the shod condition, there is only limited evidence in the current study to support this lifting technique for the conventional deadlift. Further investigation is required to clarify any possible implications of this result and its benefit to lifters.
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It is believed that regional activation within a muscle may lead to greater site-specific muscular adaptations in the activated portion of the muscle. Because the hamstrings are a biarticular muscle, it can be theorized that single-joint exercises where movement originates at the hip versus the knee will result in differential activation of the muscle complex. The purpose of the present study was to assess EMG activity in the proximal and distal aspects of the medial and lateral hamstrings during performance of the stiff- legged deadlift (SLDL), a hip-dominant exercise, and the lying leg curl (LLC), a knee- dominant exercise. Ten young, resistance-trained men were recruited from a university population to participate in the study. Employing a within-subject design, participants performed the SLDL and LLC to muscular failure using a load equating to their 8 repetition maximum for each exercise. The order of performance of exercises was counterbalanced between participants so that approximately half of the subjects performed SLDL first and the other half performed LLC first. Surface electromyography was used to record mean normalized muscle activity of the upper lateral hamstrings, lower lateral hamstrings, upper medial hamstrings, and lower medial hamstrings. Results showed that the LLC elicited significantly greater normalized mean activation of the lower lateral and lower medial hamstrings compared to the SLDL (p < 0.05). These findings support the notion that the hamstrings can be regionally targeted through exercise selection. Further investigations is required to determine whether differences in activation lead to greater muscular adaptations in the muscle complex.
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The purpose of this study was to analyze eletromyographic (EMG) signal of biceps femoris (BF), vastus lateralis (VL), lumbar multifidus (LM), anterior tibialis (AT), and medial gastrocnemius (MG) during the deadlift (DL) and stiff-legged deadlift (SLDL). Fourteen men (26.71 ± 4.99 yrs; body mass 88.42 ± 12.39 kg; 177.71 ± 8.86 cm) voluntarily participated in this study. The data were obtained on three non-consecutive days separated by 48 hrs. In the first day, anthropometric measures and the repetition maximum testing (1 RM) for both exercises were applied in a counter-balanced cross-over design. On the second day, the 1 RM was re-tested. On the third day, both exercises were performed at 70% of 1 RM and the EMG data were collected. Parameters related to the RMS during the movement, temporal activation patterns, and relative times of activation were analyzed for each muscle. The maximum activation level for VL during the DL (128.3 ± 33.9% of the EMG peak average) was significantly different (P = 0.027) from the SLDL (101.1 ± 14% of the EMG peak average). These findings should be useful when emphasizing different muscle groups in a resistance training program.
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Objectives: To determine if force differences exist between isometric pulling positions corresponding to key positions of the deadlift. Design: Cross-sectional evaluation of isometric strength Methods: 14 powerlifters performed isometric pulls on a force plate at 3 key positions related to the deadlift (at the floor, just above the patella, and 5-6 cm short of lockout) and in the mid thigh pull position (MTP). A 1x4 repeated measures ANOVA was used to ascertain differences between the various pulling positions tested. Bonferroni-adjusted paired samples t-tests were used post-hoc. Results: Forces generated at each bar height were significantly different (F(3,39) = 51.058, p<0.05, η2=0.80). Paired samples t-tests showed significant differences between positions, revealing a trend of greater force generation at increasing heights for positions corresponding to the deadlift. Force generated in the mid thigh pull position was significantly higher than any other position. Conclusion: In positions corresponding to the deadlift, force generation increases at higher bar heights.
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The dorsal muscles of the lower torso and extremities have often been denoted the 'posterior chain.' These muscles are used to support the thoracic and lumbar spine as well as peripheral joints including the hip, knee, and ankle on the dorsal aspect of the body. This study investigated relative muscle activity of the hamstring group and selected surrounding musculature during the leg curl, good morning, glute-ham raise, and Romanian deadlift (RDL). Twelve healthy, weight trained men performed duplicate trials of single repetitions at 85% 1RM for each lift in random order, during which surface electromyography and joint angle data were obtained. Repeated measures analysis of variance (RMANOVA) across the four exercises was performed to compare activity from the erector spinae (ES), gluteus medius (GMed), semitendinosus (ST), biceps femoris (BF), and medial gastrocnemius (MGas). Significant differences (p<0.05) were noted in eccentric muscle activity between exercise for the MGas (p<0.027), ST (p<0.001), BF (p<0.001), and ES (p=0.032), and in concentric muscle activity for the ES (p<0.001), BF (p=0.010), ST (p=0.009), MGas (p<0.001), and the GMed (p=0.018). Bonferroni post hoc analysis revealed significant pairwise differences during eccentric actions for the BF, ST, and MGas. Post hoc analysis also revealed significant pairwise differences during concentric actions for the ES, BF, ST, MGas, and GMed. Each of these showed effect sizes that are large or greater. The main findings of this investigation are that the ST is substantially more active than the BF among all exercises, and hamstring activity was maximized in the RDL and glute-ham raise. Therefore, athletes and coaches who seek to maximize involvement of the hamstring musculature should consider focusing on the glute-ham raise and RDL.
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IN THE SPORT OF POWERLIFTING, INCORRECT INFORMATION REGARDING MUSCULAR STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT MAY BE PERPETUATED BY VARIOUS SOURCES. ONE WAY TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM IS TO PROVIDE CORRECT BIOMECHANICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL INFORMATION REGARDING LIFTS SUCH AS THE DEADLIFT TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE IN THE SPORT. THERE ARE 3 SPECIFIC AREAS THAT CAN BE ADDRESSED TO IMPROVE DEADLIFT PERFORMANCE: SUPPORTIVE GEAR, LIFTING MECHANICS, AND TRAINING PRINCIPLES. THIS ARTICLE OFFERS SUGGESTIONS TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE IN THE DEADLIFT BY PROVIDING INSIGHT INTO PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTATIONS AND BIOMECHANICAL CONSTRAINTS ASSOCIATED WITH STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT.