Deadlift

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KEY POINTS

The deadlift is a key exercise in strength and conditioning programs. There are several deadlift variations, classifiable by the type of barbell used, and the technique used (sumo, conventional, stiff-legged, Romanian).

Training status may affect quadriceps muscle activity during deadlifts, with greater muscle activity being observed in more advanced lifters. Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) does not affect gluteus maximus, hamstrings, or adductor muscle activity. Quadriceps muscle activity is greatest in the order sumo > conventional > stiff-legged. Gastrocnemius muscle activity is greater in the conventional than in the sumo deadlift. 

The deadlift involves greater upper lumbar erector spinae muscle activity but less lower lumbar erector spinae muscle activity than the back squat. It involves similar abdominal muscle activity to the back squat, side plank and superman exercises. Using a weightlifting belt in the deadlift may lead to more rectus abdominis muscle activity and less external obliques muscle activity. 

Greater training status, using lifting straps and using a hexagonal barbell instead of a straight barbell are all associated with greater 1RM deadlifts. However, eccentric 1RM deadlifts are not greater than concentric 1RM deadlifts and there are no differences between sumo, conventional or stiff-legged deadlift styles.

Using a hexagonal barbell is associated with greater power outputs than a straight barbell. Peak power in deadlifts appears to occur between 30 – 50% of 1RM. The effect of relative load on rate of force development is unclear but faster bar speeds are associated with greater rate of force development.

Peak trunk angles are more horizontal in conventional deadlifts compared to sumo deadlifts and in straight bar deadlifts compared to farmers’ walk bar deadlifts but there is no difference in peak trunk angles between straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts.

In contrast, peak knee and ankle angles do not differ between straight barbell and farmers’ walk bar deadlifts or between conventional and sumo deadlift styles, while peak knee angles are more acute in hexagonal barbell deadlifts compared to straight barbell deadlifts. 

Training status affects peak hip, knee and shank angles. Peak hip and knee angles are more acute in unskilled lifters than in skilled lifters. Shank angles are less vertical in unskilled lifters compared to skilled lifters. 

Lumbar spine net joint moments increase with increasing load, are greater in conventional style deadlifts compared to sumo style deadlifts, and are greater in straight barbell deadlifts compared to hexagonal barbell deadlifts. Similarly, hip net joint moments increase with increasing relative load and are greater in straight barbell deadlifts compared to hexagonal barbell deadlifts.

Knee net joint moments do not increase with increasing relative load, are greater in sumo style deadlifts compared to conventional style deadlifts, and are greater in hexagonal barbell deadlifts compared to straight barbell deadlifts. This is because of differences in external moment arm lengths, which can be either knee flexor or knee extensor between different individuals and when using different barbell types.

Ankle net joint moments increase with increasing load and differ between deadlift styles, being plantar flexor in the conventional style but dorsiflexor in the sumo style. This is because of differences in external moment arm lengths, which can be either ankle plantar flexor or dorsiflexor between different deadlift variations.

 

PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE

The deadlift is commonly-used in strength and conditioning programs for developing the low back, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. Many variations are possible, by changing barbell type (straight bar, hex bar, farmers’ bars), by adding bands or chains, or by altering the technique (conventional vs. sumo). 


CONTENTS

Full table of contents

  1. Background
  2. Electromyography (EMG)
  3. Kinetics
  4. Kinematics
  5. Net joint moments
  6. External moment arms
  7. Reliability of 1RM testing
  8. References
  9. Contributors
  10. Provide feedback


BACKGROUND

PURPOSE

This section provides some background to the deadlift exercise, its variations and how they are used, and suggests some reasons for its prominent position in strength and conditioning programs.

BACKGROUND

Introduction

The deadlift is a key exercise in strength and conditioning programs. There are several deadlift variations, which can be classified in two main ways. Firstly, the deadlift can be classified according to the type of barbell used (straight bar, farmers’ bars, or hexagonal bar). Secondly, the deadlift can be classified according to the technique (conventional, sumo, stiff-legged or Romanian styles). The deadlift and its variations have been reviewed many times (Farley, 1995; Gardner & Cole, 1999; Frounfelter, 2000; Graham, 2000; Piper, & Waller, 2001; Graham, 2001; Hales, 2010; Bird & Barrington-Higgs, 2010), leading to a range of suggestions regarding performance. The two main styles of barbell deadlift that have been explored in the research and which are contested in the sport of powerlifting both use the straight bar and are the conventional and sumo styles. The conventional deadlift style uses a narrower stance of around 32 – 33cm compared to around 65 – 70cm in the sumo style (Escamilla et al. 2000; Escamilla et al. 2002) and involves a placement of the hands on the barbell inside the stance feet. The conventional style is used more often than the sumo style by powerlifters in heavier weight classes (>90kg) while lifters in lighter weight classes seem to display a relatively equal tendency to use both styles (Escamilla et al. 2000).

Conventional deadlift

THE REVIEW

Inclusion criteria

The main part of this page covers research into the biomechanics of the loaded barbell deadlift using the following inclusion criteria:

  • Study design = acute
  • Population = healthy adults
  • Intervention = loaded deadlift
  • Comparator = deadlift variation or other exercise
  • Outcome = biomechanical measure (muscle activity, kinetics, or kinematics)

Deadlift variations could include either straight bar, farmers’ bars or hexagonal bar deadlifts, and either conventional, sumo, stiff-legged or Romanian styles. Other exercises could include any instance where the deadlift has been compared to another lower-body exercise, such as a leg press, lunge, or squat. Muscle activity studies were included where they used surface or fine wire electrodes to record electromyography (EMG). Outcomes recorded in studies of kinetics were reported for external load, ground reaction forces, power outputs, rate of force development, and net joint moments. Outcomes recorded in studies of kinematics were reported for peak trunk angles, and peak angles at the hip, knee and ankle.

Exclusion criteria

The main part of this page covers research into the biomechanics of the loaded barbell deadlift and excluded studies using the following exclusion criteria:

  • Study design= any non-acute study design
  • Population= any study not in healthy adults
  • Intervention= any study not using a loaded barbell deadlift
  • Comparator= any study not providing a comparator for the loaded barbell deadlift
  • Outcome= any non-biomechanical measure

As a result of these exclusion criteria, this page does not cover the long-term effects of training using deadlifts, either in relation to muscular adaptations (strength, hypertrophy, power and rate of force development) or in relation to the longitudinal transfer to sporting qualities (sprinting, jumping, throwing). It does not include research exploring deadlifts of any kind in unhealthy or clinical populations. It does not cover research involving loaded deadlifts performed without a barbell, either because they are loaded with dumbbells, elastic resistance, or boxes placed in the hands (also called “lifting and lowering”). It does not include any study where an aspect of the deadlift exercise was not explored in relation to another deadlift variation or another exercise.

Reporting of findings

Findings reported on this page are with very few exceptions provided only if the comparison met statistical significance (p < 0.05). Therefore, where it is noted that a study reported a finding, it is assumed that the finding was statistically significant. Where this is not the case, a note is always provided to clarify that the finding was only a trend and did not meet with the requirements of the tests used by the researchers to establish whether a finding was likely to be real or whether there was a risk of being fooled by randomness in the observation.

SECTION CONCLUSIONS

The deadlift is a key exercise in strength and conditioning programs. There are several deadlift variations, which can be grouped into two key categories: (1) the type of barbell used, and (2) the technique used.

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ELECTROMYOGRAPHY (EMG)

[Read more: electromyography (EMG)]

PURPOSE

This section sets out a summary of the research that has explored the muscle activity of each of the main trunk and lower body muscles during the deadlift exercise, using electromyography (EMG).

GLUTEUS MAXIMUS

[Read more: gluteus maximus]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the gluteus maximus during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Noe (1992); Escamilla (2002).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing Olympic weightlifters and untrained control subjects during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in gluteus maximus muscle activity between the two groups. They noted that the peak in gluteus maximus muscle activity during the isokinetic lift occurred at 83% of lift height, which was after the point at which peak force was produced at 67% of lift height.

EFFECT OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing two different velocities during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in gluteus maximus muscle activity between the two speeds used (45.7 vs. 30.5cm/s).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in gluteus maximus muscle activity between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

Summary

When controlling for relative load, bar speed does not affect gluteus maximus muscle activity during deadlifts. Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) and the use of a weightlifting belt do not affect gluteus maximus muscle activity.

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QUADRICEPS

[Read more: quadriceps]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the quadriceps during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Noe (1992); Escamilla (2002); Ebben (2009); Bezerra (2013).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing Olympic weightlifters and untrained control subjects during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found some differences in quadriceps muscle activity between the two groups. They noted that the peak in quadriceps muscle activity during the isokinetic lift in the untrained control subjects occurred at the start of the lift (measured at 16% of lift height) but peak in quadriceps muscle activity in the untrained Olympic weightlifters occurred at 83 – 100% of lift height, directly after the point of peak force (67% of lift height) during the isokinetic test.

EFFECT OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing two different velocities during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in quadriceps muscle activity between the two speeds used (45.7 vs. 30.5cm/s).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found that the sumo deadlift style displayed greater quadriceps muscle activity than the conventional deadlift style. Bezerra et al. (2013) found that the conventional deadlift displayed greater quadriceps muscle activity than the stiff-legged deadlift style.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with a range of other lower body exercises, Ebben et al. (2009) found that the deadlift displayed lower quadriceps muscle activity than the machine knee extension, barbell squat, dumbbell lunge, and dumbbell step up to a 46cm box.

Summary

Training status may affect quadriceps muscle activity during deadlifts, with greater activity being observed in more advanced lifters. Quadriceps muscle activity seems greatest in the order sumo > conventional > stiff-legged but is not affected by the use of a weightlifting belt. Quadriceps muscle activity is lower in the deadlift than in the back squat.

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HAMSTRINGS

[Read more: hamstrings]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the hamstrings during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Nemeth (1984); Wright (1999); Escamilla (2002); Ebben (2009); Ono (2010); Bezerra (2013); Zebis (2013); McAllister (2014); Schoenfeld (2015).

Findings

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in hamstrings muscle activity between sumo and conventional deadlift styles. Similarly, Bezerra et al. (2013) found no differences in hamstrings muscle activity between conventional and stiff-legged deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in hamstrings muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the stiff-legged deadlift with the leg curl and back squat, Wright et al. (1999) found that there was little difference between the stiff-legged deadlift and the leg curl but both the stiff-legged deadlift and leg curl produced greater hamstrings muscle activity than the back squat. Comparing the deadlift with a range of other lower body exercises, Ebben et al. (2009) found that the deadlift displayed greater hamstrings muscle activity than the machine knee extension, barbell squat, dumbbell lunge, and dumbbell step up to a 46cm box. Zebis et al. (2013) compared the Romanian deadlift with the kettlebell swing, barbell horizontal back extension, Nordic hamstring curl, lying machine leg curl, seated machine leg curl, slideboard curl, and single-leg glute bridge, although different absolute and relative loads were used in each exercise. The Romanian deadlift appeared to be inferior to all other exercises for both medial and lateral hamstrings. McAllister et al. (2014) compared the leg curl, good morning, glute-ham raise, and Romanian deadlift and reported that the Romanian deadlift displayed similar medial and lateral hamstrings muscle activity to the other exercises. Schoenfeld et al. (2015) compared the proximal and distal regions of the medial and lateral hamstrings between the stiff-legged deadlift and the lying leg curl. The lying leg curl produced greater medial and lateral muscle activity in the lower region but there was no difference between exercises in the upper region.

Summary

Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional vs. stiff-legged) and the use of a weightlifting belt do not affect hamstrings muscle activity. The deadlift appears to be a better hamstrings exercise than the back squat but the Romanian deadlift is similar to other commonly-performed hamstrings exercises (Nordic curl, glute-ham raise, machine leg curl).

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ADDUCTORS

[Read more: adductors]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the adductors during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Escamilla (2002).

Findings

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

Summary

Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) and the use of a weightlifting belt do not affect adductor muscle activity.

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GASTROCNEMIUS AND SOLEUS

[Read more: calves]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the gastrocnemius or soleus muscles during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Escamilla (2002); Bezerra (2013); McAllister (2014).

Findings

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found that the conventional deadlift style displayed greater gastrocnemius muscle activity than the sumo deadlift style. Bezerra et al. (2013) found that the stiff-legged deadlift displayed greater gastrocnemius muscle activity than the conventional deadlift style.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the Romanian deadlift with various other exercises, McAllister et al. (2014) reported that gastrocnemius muscle activity was higher in the Romanian deadlift than in the prone leg curl but similar in the Romanian deadlift and both glute-ham and good morning exercises.

Summary

The use of a weightlifting belt does not affect gastrocnemius muscle activity. However, gastrocnemius muscle activity is greater in the conventional style deadlift than in the sumo style deadlift.

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ERECTOR SPINAE

[Read more: erector spinae]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the erector spinae during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Noe (1992); Escamilla (2002); Hamlyn (2007); McAllister (2014).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing Olympic weightlifters and untrained control subjects during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in erector spinae muscle activity between the two groups. They noted that the peak in erector spinae muscle activity during the isokinetic lift occurred at 83% of lift height, which was after the point at which peak force was produced at 67% of lift height.

EFFECT OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing two different velocities during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in erector spinae muscle activity between the two speeds used (45.7 vs. 30.5cm/s).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity for either the lumbar or thoracic erector spinae musculature between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity for either the lumbar or thoracic erector spinae musculature when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat and two core exercises, Hamlyn et al. (2007) reported that the deadlift with 80% of 1RM displayed less lower lumbar erector spinae muscle activity than the back squat with 80% of 1RM. There was no difference in lower lumbar erector spinae muscle activity between the deadlift and the two core exercises (side plank and superman). However, Hamlyn et al. (2007) also reported that the deadlift with 80% of 1RM displayed greater upper lumbar erector spinae muscle activity than the back squat with 80% of 1RM, the side plank and the superman exercises. Finally, comparing the Romanian deadlift with various other exercises, McAllister et al. (2014) reported that erector spinae muscle activity was lower in the Romanian deadlift than in the glute-ham raise but similar in the Romanian deadlift and good morning exercises.

Summary

When controlling for relative load, bar speed does not affect erector spinae muscle activity during deadlifts. Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) and the use of a weightlifting belt do not affect erector spinae muscle activity.

The deadlift appears to involve greater upper lumbar erector spinae muscle activity but less lower lumbar erector spinae muscle activity than the back squat.

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ABDOMINALS

[Read more: abdominals]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the abdominal muscles during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Escamilla (2002); Hamlyn (2007).

Findings

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in rectus abdominis or external obliques muscle activity between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found differences in both rectus abdominis and external obliques muscle activity between using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles. They noted that using a belt led to more rectus abdominis muscle activity but less external obliques muscle activity.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat and two core exercises, Hamlyn et al. (2007) reported that the deadlift with 80% of 1RM displayed similar lower abdominal and external obliques muscle activity to the back squat with 80% of 1RM, the side plank and the superman exercises.

Summary

Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) does not affect abdominal muscle activity. However, using a weightlifting belt leads to more rectus abdominis muscle activity and less external obliques muscle activity.

The deadlift seems to involve similar abdominal muscle activity to the back squat, side plank and superman exercises.

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TRAPEZIUS

[Read more: trapezius]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the trapezius during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Escamilla (2002).

Findings

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Comparing the effects of a weightlifting belt, Escamilla et al. (2002) found no differences in muscle activity when using a belt and when not using a belt, during both sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

Summary

Deadlift technique (sumo vs. conventional) and the use of a weightlifting belt do not affect trapezius muscle activity.

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LATISSIMUS DORSI

[Read more: latissimus dorsi]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the muscle activity of the latissimus dorsi during the deadlift exercise

Comparison – either normalized values relative to a maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) value or a dynamic reference contraction, or absolute values of voltage where such comparisons are appropriate

Outcome – percentage of MVIC or absolute voltage

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Noe (1992).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing Olympic weightlifters and untrained control subjects during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in latissimus dorsi muscle activity between the two groups. They noted that the peak in latissimus dorsi muscle activity occurred at around 67% of lift height.

EFFECT OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing two different velocities during an isokinetic machine deadlift test, Noe et al. (1992) found no differences in latissimus dorsi muscle activity between the two speeds used (45.7 vs. 30.5cm/s).

Summary

When controlling for relative load, bar speed and training status do not affect latissimus dorsi muscle activity.

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KINETICS (FORCES)

[Read more: force]

PURPOSE

This section sets out a summary of the research that has explored the kinetics of the deadlift exercise, using force plates to measure ground reaction forces and power outputs.

EXTERNAL LOAD (1RM)

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing 1RM for the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or between 1RM and other measures, such as 3RM

Outcome – 1RM

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Cholewicki (1991); Escamilla (2000); Swinton (2011a); Bezerra (2013); Bishop (2014); Sakakibara (2014); Coswig (2015).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of athletic ability, Sakakibara et al. (2014) compared elite powerlifters (competing at a national level) and non-elite powerlifters (competing at a regional level) and found that the elite-level powerlifters displayed a greater deadlift 1RM than the non-elite powerlifters (245.3 ± 47.8 vs. 185.9 ± 35.9kg). Comparing male and female powerlifters, Cholewicki et al. (1991) found that females lifted smaller 1RM loads than males (145.8 vs. 256.7kg) but this was likely at least partly caused by differences in bodyweights (60.5 vs. 85.3kg).

EFFECT OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of training variables, Bishop et al. (2014) found that there was no difference between 1RM concentric deadlifts and 1RM eccentric deadlifts (203.0 ± 18.5 vs. 200.2 ± 19.6kg).

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Exploring the effects of using straps, Coswig et al. (2015) found that the use of straps allowed a greater 1RM deadlift than not using straps (180.0 ± 14.8 vs. 151.0 ± 23.0kg).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2000) found no differences between conventional and sumo deadlift styles (222 ± 34kg vs. 215 ± 33kg), although the population was not identical for each 1RM test. Similarly, Cholewicki et al. (1991) found no differences between conventional and sumo deadlift styles (209 ± 6kg vs. 205 ± 6kg), although again the population was not identical for each 1RM test. Bezerra et al. (2013) found no differences between conventional and stiff-legged deadlift styles but did not report descriptive statistics.

EFFECT OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that it was possible to lift a heavier 1RM load when using the hexagonal barbell compared to the straight barbell (265 ± 41kg vs. 245 ± 39kg).

Summary

Greater training status, using lifting straps and using a hexagonal barbell instead of a straight barbell are all associated with greater 1RM deadlifts. However, eccentric 1RM deadlifts are not greater than concentric 1RM deadlifts and there are no clear differences between sumo, conventional or stiff-legged deadlift styles.

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GROUND REACTION FORCES

[Read more: force]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing ground reaction forces during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or training variables

Outcome – ground reaction forces

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Swinton (2011a); Swinton (2011b); Winwood (2014); Blatnik (2014); Galpin (2015); Coswig (2015).

Findings

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that ground reaction forces increased with increasing relative loads from 10 to 80% of 1RM with both the straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. Blatnik et al. (2014) investigated the effects of relative load between 30 – 100% of 1RM in the straight bar deadlift reported that ground reaction forces increased from 30 – 100% of 1RM. Galpin et al. (2015) reported data that showed clear increases from 60% of 1RM to 80% of 1RM in peak and mean ground reaction forces but they did not analyse these data formally. Similarly, Swinton et al. (2011b) showed data that demonstrated clear increases in ground reaction forces from 30% of 1RM to 70% of 1RM, both when lifting with maximal velocity and with submaximal velocity. Swinton et al. (2011b) also reported that lifting with maximal velocity involved greater ground reaction forces than lifting with submaximal velocity, at all tested loads between 30% of 1RM and 70% of 1RM.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Exploring the effects of using straps, Coswig et al. (2015) found that the use of straps allowed greater ground reaction forces during the deadlift compared to not using straps (using the same relative loads). This was likely a function of the greater loads lifted when using straps.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that ground reaction forces were higher when using the hexagonal bar compared to the straight bar (using the same absolute loads). Winwood et al. (2014) found that vertical and resultant ground reaction forces were higher in the farmers’ walk deadlift than in the straight bar deadlift (using the same absolute loads).

Summary

Greater relative loads, using lifting straps, and using a hexagonal barbell or farmer’s walk bars instead of straight bars are all associated with greater ground reaction forces.

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POWER OUTPUTS

[Read more: power]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing power output during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or training variables

Outcome – power output

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Swinton (2011a); Swinton (2011b); Blatnik (2014); Galpin (2015); Coswig (2015).

Findings

CALCULATION OF POWER OUTPUT

The calculation of power output differed between studies. Power can be calculated by reference to the system or to the barbell. Swinton et al. (2011a), Swinton et al. (2011b) and Galpin et al. (2015) calculated a measure of barbell power by using ground reaction forces (measured with a force plate) multiplied by barbell velocity (measured with motion analysis). This is possible because ground reaction forces are closely related to barbell mass and hence barbell force. Blatnik et al. (2014) and Coswig et al. (2015) used a more exact method for calculating barbell power by measuring barbell velocity and making further calculations based on its derivative to find power. Finally, Blatnik et al. (2014) also calculated system power by using ground reaction forces (measured with a force plate) multiplied by system velocity (measured with motion analysis set to capture sacral movement).

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) explored the effects of relative load between 10 – 80% of 1RM and found that power outputs increased to a peak at 30% of 1RM for straight bar deadlifts and to a peak at 40% of 1RM hexagonal bar deadlifts, before reducing to a minimum at 80% of 1RM. Blatnik et al. (2014) investigated the effects of relative load in the straight bar deadlift between 30 – 100% of 1RM and reported that power outputs peaked at 50% of 1RM (barbell) and at 70% of 1RM (system). Galpin et al. (2015) reported data that showed clear reductions from 60% of 1RM to 80% of 1RM in and mean power outputs but they did not analyse these data formally. Interestingly, Swinton et al. (2011b) showed data that demonstrated different trends in power output when lifting with maximal velocity compared to with submaximal velocity. Testing loads at 30%, 50% and 70% of 1RM, Swinton et al. (2011b) found that when using a submaximal velocity there was a trend for an increase in power output with increasing relative load (1,710 ± 487, 1,902 ± 538, 1,966 ± 487W) but when using a maximal velocity there was a trend for a decrease (4,247 ± 695, 4,021 ± 624, 2,297 ± 480W). Also, the power outputs were greater when lifting with a maximal velocity than when lifting with a submaximal velocity.

EFFECT OF EQUIPMENT

Exploring the effects of using straps, Coswig et al. (2015) found no differences in power outputs between deadlifts using straps and deadlifts not using straps (using the same relative loads). Although greater loads were lifted when using straps (leading to greater forces), bar speed was greater when not using straps, which counteracted this effect for the purposes of power output (power = force x velocity).

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that power outputs were higher when using the hexagonal bar compared to the straight bar (using the same absolute loads).

Summary

Using a hexagonal barbell is associated with greater power outputs than a straight barbell. Using straps does not appear to affect power outputs. The effect of relative load on power output is non-linear and peak power appears to occur between 30 – 50% of 1RM.

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RATE OF FORCE DEVELOPMENT

[Read more: rate of force development]

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing rate of force development during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or training variables

Outcome – ground reaction forces

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Swinton (2011a); Swinton (2011b); Galpin (2015).

Findings

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Galpin et al. (2015) reported data that showed clear reductions from 60% of 1RM to 80% of 1RM in rate of force development (5,114 ± 1,286N/s to 3,973 ± 1,329N/s) but they did not analyse these data formally. Swinton et al. (2011b) found contrary results when testing deadlifts performed with maximal velocity and with submaximal velocity. Testing loads at 30%, 50% and 70% of 1RM, Swinton et al. (2011b) reported data showing that rate of force development increased with increasing relative load with both submaximal velocities (4,887 ± 2,432, 5,631 ± 2,727, 6,408 ± 2,606N/s) and with maximal velocities (7,658 ± 3,853, 9,485 ± 3,911, 11,219 ± 4,362N/s). Also, they found that rate of force development was greater when lifting with a maximal velocity than when lifting with a submaximal velocity.

Summary

The effect of relative load on rate of force development is unclear, as some studies have shown increases in rate of force development with increasing load and others have shown decreases. Faster bar speeds are associated with greater rate of force development.

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KINEMATICS (MOVEMENT)

[Read more: movement]

PURPOSE

This section sets out a summary of the research that has explored the kinematics of the deadlift exercise, using motion capture analysis to measure joint angle movements.

BACKGROUND

Kinematics reported in studies are not always easy to interpret. There are two main types of angle: absolute angles and relative angles. Absolute angles are those that represent the angles of the trunk, thigh or shank relative to the horizontal. Relative angles are those that represent the angles of the hip, knee and ankle relative to the body.

TRUNK ANGLE

Conventional and hex-bar trunk angles

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing peak trunk angle for the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – peak joint angle

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); McGuigan (1996); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Hales (2009); Swinton (2011a); Winwood (2014).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in peak joint angle between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in joint angles were generally between 2 – 3 degrees, which may have been measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that there was no difference in peak trunk angles between groups.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak joint angles when using relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with the straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts.

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, McGuigan and Wilson (1996), Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that peak trunk angle was more horizontal in the conventional deadlift style than in the sumo deadlift style, by between 5 – 9 degrees.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak trunk angle when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. Winwood et al. (2014) found that peak trunk angle was more horizontal during straight bar deadlifts than during farmers’ walk deadlifts, which was most likely the result of the farmers’ walk bars having handles that were much higher than the height of a standard barbell.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat in a group of powerlifters, Hales et al. (2009) found that there was a difference in peak trunk angles between the squat and deadlift. Peak trunk angle (at the bottom position) was more horizontal during the squat than during the deadlift (39 vs. 68 degrees). However, this finding seems very strange, as Escamilla et al. (2000) reported a peak trunk angle for the deadlift of 24 degrees while Escamilla et al. (2001a) reported a peak trunk angle for the powerlifting squat of 61 degrees. Although these studies did not report the squat and deadlift in the same investigation, they were performed by the same group and clearly show a more horizontal trunk position for the deadlift, which calls into question the findings reported by Hales et al. (2009).

Summary

Neither relative load, training status nor leg side affects peak trunk angles. However, peak trunk angles are more horizontal in the conventional deadlift style than in the sumo deadlift style, as well as during straight bar deadlifts compared to farmers’ walk bar deadlifts. However, there is no difference in peak trunk angles between straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. 

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HIP ANGLE

Conventional and hex-bar hip angles

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing peak hip angle for the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – peak joint angle

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); McGuigan (1996); Escamilla (2000); Hales (2009); Swinton (2011a); Schellenberg (2013).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in peak hip joint angle between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in hip joint angles were generally between 2 – 3 degrees, which may have been measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that there was a difference in peak hip joint angles between groups. They found that the peak hip joint angle was more acute in the less skilled powerlifters than in the more skilled powerlifters.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak hip joint angles when using relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with the straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. Similarly, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that moving from a load of 25% to 50% of bodyweight had no effect on peak hip joint angle during the deadlift.

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that peak hip joint angle was not different between the conventional deadlift and sumo deadlift styles (although peak hip joint angle was non-significantly more acute in the conventional deadlift by around 5 degrees). McGuigan and Wilson (1996) found that peak hip joint angle was more acute in the conventional deadlift style, by around 10 degrees.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak hip joint angles when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat in a group of powerlifters, Hales et al. (2009) found that there was a difference in peak hip joint angles between the squat and deadlift. Peak hip joint angle (at the bottom position) was more acute during the squat than during the deadlift (57 vs. 69 degrees). However, as for trunk angle (see above), comparing the results of Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001a) suggests that the picture is much less clear. Comparing the deadlift with the good morning, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak hip joint angle was more acute during the deadlift than during the good morning.

Summary

Neither relative load nor leg side affects peak hip angles. Peak hip angles also do not differ between straight barbell and hexagonal barbell deadlifts. However, peak hip angles are more acute in unskilled lifters than in skilled lifters and probably also in conventional deadlifts compared to sumo deadlifts. 

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KNEE ANGLE

Conventional and hex-bar knee angles

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing peak knee angle for the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – peak joint angle

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); McGuigan (1996); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Hales (2009); Swinton (2011a); Schellenberg (2013); Winwood (2014).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in peak knee joint angle between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in peak knee joint angles were generally between 2 – 3 degrees, which may have been measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that there was a difference in peak knee joint angles between groups. They found that the peak knee joint angle was more acute in the less skilled powerlifters than in the more skilled powerlifters.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak knee joint angles when using relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with the straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. Similarly, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that moving from a load of 25% to 50% of bodyweight had no effect on peak knee joint angle during the deadlift.

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, McGuigan and Wilson (1996), Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) all found that peak knee joint angle was not different between conventional and sumo deadlift styles.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there a difference in peak knee joint angles when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. The peak knee joint angle was around 6 degrees more acute during hexagonal bar deadlifts than during straight bar deadlifts with the same absolute load. Winwood et al. (2014) compared peak knee angles during straight bar deadlifts and farmers’ walk deadlifts and found no differences.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat in a group of powerlifters, Hales et al. (2009) found that there was a difference in peak knee joint angles between the squat and deadlift. Peak knee joint angle (at the bottom position) was more acute during the squat than during the deadlift. Comparing the deadlift with the good morning, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak knee joint angle was more acute during the deadlift than during the good morning.

Summary

Neither relative load nor leg side affects peak knee angles. Peak knee angles also do not differ between straight barbell and farmers’ walk bar deadlifts or between conventional and sumo deadlift styles. However, peak knee angles are more acute in hexagonal barbell deadlifts compared to straight barbell deadlifts and in unskilled lifters compared to skilled lifters.

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ANKLE ANGLE

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing peak ankle angle for the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – peak joint angle

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); McGuigan (1996); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Hales (2009); Swinton (2011a); Winwood (2014).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in peak ankle joint angle between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in peak ankle joint angles were generally between 2 – 3 degrees, which may have been measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) did not directly measure peak ankle angle but they found that the shank angle was different between groups. They found that the shank angle was less vertical in the less skilled powerlifters than in the more skilled powerlifters.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak ankle joint angles when using relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with the straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts.

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Escamilla et al. (2000) did not directly measure peak ankle angle but they found that the shank angle was different between the conventional deadlift and sumo deadlift styles, being around 4 degrees more vertical in the sumo style than in the conventional style. In contrast, both McGuigan and Wilson (1996) and Escamilla et al. (2001) reported no difference in shank angles between sumo and conventional deadlift styles.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in peak joint angles when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. Winwood et al. (2014) compared peak ankle angles during straight bar deadlifts and farmers’ walk deadlifts and found no differences.

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the squat in a group of powerlifters, Hales et al. (2009) found that there was a difference in peak ankle angles between the squat and deadlift. Peak ankle angle (at the bottom position) was more acute during the deadlift than during the squat (suggesting that the shank was less vertical in the deadlift than in the squat).

Summary

Neither relative load nor leg side affects peak ankle angles. Peak ankle angles do not differ between straight barbell, hexagonal barbell and farmers’ walk bar deadlifts and probably do not differ between conventional and sumo deadlift styles. However, shank angles are less vertical in unskilled lifters compared to skilled lifters.

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NET JOINT MOMENTS

[Read more: moments]

PURPOSE

This section sets out a summary of the research that has explored the net joint moments during the deadlift exercise, using inverse dynamics calculations.

LOWER SPINE NET JOINT MOMENT

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing lumbosacral (L5-S1) or lower lumbar (L4-L5) net joint moments during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – net joint moment

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Cholewicki (1991); Swinton (2011a); Schellenberg (2013).

Findings

EFFECTS OF TECHNIQUE

Comparing male and female powerlifters, Cholewicki et al. (1991) found that females displayed lower L4-L5 net joint moments than males but this was likely a function of the differences in bodyweights (60.5 vs. 85.3kg) and 1RM loads lifted (145.8 vs. 256.7kg).

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) reported data showing that lumbosacral net joint moments increased with increasing relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with both straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. However, there was no formal testing performed of these data. Nevertheless, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak L4-L5 net joint moment during the deadlift increased with increasing load (from 25% to 50% of bodyweight).

EFFECTS OF TECHNIQUE

Comparing the conventional and sumo deadlifts, Cholewicki et al. (1991) found that the sumo deadlift style involved smaller L4-L5 net joint moments than the conventional deadlift style.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there a difference in lumbosacral net joint moments when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. The peak lumbosacral net joint moment during hexagonal bar deadlifts was lower than during straight bar deadlifts with the same absolute load. They noted that this was likely because of the non-significantly greater external lumbosacral moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift (21.0cm vs. 14.4cm).

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the good morning, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak L4-L5 net joint moment during the deadlift was similar during the good morning and the deadlift (using the same absolute load). However, since it would be unusual to use a comparable absolute load in the deadlift and good morning, it is unclear whether these findings are truly valuable.

=

Summary

Lumbar spine net joint moments increase with increasing load and are greater during conventional style deadlifts compared to sumo style deadlifts, as well as during straight barbell deadlifts compared to hexagonal barbell deadlifts.

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HIP NET JOINT MOMENT

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing hip net joint moments during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – net joint moment

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Cholewicki (1991); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a); Schellenberg (2013).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in net joint moment between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in joint angles minimal and may have been due to measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in net joint moments between groups.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) reported data showing that hip net joint moments increased with increasing relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with both straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. However, there was no formal testing performed of these data. Nevertheless, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak hip net joint moment during the deadlift increased with increasing load (from 25% to 50% of bodyweight).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, Cholewicki et al. (1991), Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) all found that the maximum hip net joint moment (at the point of lifting the bar from the ground) was not different between the conventional and sumo deadlift styles.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there a difference in hip net joint moments when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. The peak hip net joint moment during hexagonal bar deadlifts was lower than during straight bar deadlifts with the same absolute load. They noted that this was likely because of the non-significantly greater external hip moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift (21.4cm vs. 14.5cm).

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the good morning, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak hip net joint moment during the deadlift was greater during the good morning than during the deadlift (using the same absolute load). However, since it would be unusual to use a comparable absolute load in the deadlift and good morning, it is unclear whether these findings are truly valuable.

Summary

Hip net joint moments are not affected by training status or leg side and are similar during conventional style deadlifts and sumo style deadlifts. However, they are greater with increasing relative load and during straight barbell deadlifts compared to hexagonal barbell deadlifts.

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KNEE NET JOINT MOMENT

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing knee net joint moments during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – net joint moment

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Cholewicki (1991); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a); Schellenberg (2013).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in net joint moment between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in joint angles minimal and may have been due to measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in net joint moments between groups.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) reported data showing that knee net joint moments increased with increasing relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with both straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. However, there was no formal testing performed of these data. In contrast, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak knee net joint moment during the deadlift did not increase with increasing load (from 25% to 50% of bodyweight).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, both Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that the maximum knee net joint moment (at the point of lifting the bar from the ground) was greater in the sumo deadlift style than in the conventional deadlift style. However, Cholewicki et al. (1991) did not report this finding, noting that the maximum knee net joint moment was near zero in both cases.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there a difference in knee net joint moments when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. The peak knee net joint moment during straight bar deadlifts was lower than during hexagonal bar deadlifts with the same absolute load. They noted that this was likely because of the negative knee external moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the positive knee external moment arm length measured in the hexagonal bar deadlift (-8.4cm vs. +1.9cm).

COMPARISONS WITH OTHER EXERCISES

Comparing the deadlift with the good morning, Schellenberg et al. (2013) found that peak knee net joint moment during the deadlift was different during the good morning than during the deadlift (using the same absolute load). Specifically, the peak knee net joint moment during the deadlift performed by the muscle was a knee extensor moment, while the peak knee net joint moment during the good morning performed by the muscle was a knee flexor moment.

Summary

Knee net joint moments are not affected by training status, relative load or leg side. However, knee net joint moments are greater in sumo style deadlifts compared to conventional style deadlifts and during hexagonal barbell deadlifts compared to straight barbell deadlifts.

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ANKLE NET JOINT MOMENT

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing ankle net joint moment during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – net joint moment

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a).

Findings

EFFECT OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing each leg with the other, Escamilla et al. (2000) found that there were no differences in net joint moment between legs during either sumo or conventional deadlift styles. They noted that differences recorded in joint angles minimal and may have been due to measurement error. Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in net joint moments between groups.

EFFECTS OF TRAINING VARIABLES

Comparing the effects of different training variables, Swinton et al. (2011a) reported data showing that ankle net joint moments increased with increasing relative loads ranging between 10 – 80% of 1RM with both straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. However, there was no formal testing performed of these data.

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, both Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that the maximum ankle net joint moment (at the point of lifting the bar from the ground) was different in the sumo deadlift style than in the conventional deadlift style: the ankle net joint moment was plantar flexor in the conventional style but dorsiflexor in the sumo style.

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in ankle net joint moments when comparing straight bar and hexagonal bar deadlifts. However, there was still a non-significantly greater external ankle moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift (16.5cm vs. 11.9cm).

Summary

Ankle net joint moments are not affected by training status or leg side but appear to increase with increasing relative load. They do not differ between hexagonal barbell and straight barbell deadlifts. However, ankle net joint moments differ between styles, being plantar flexor in the conventional style but dorsiflexor in the sumo style.

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EXTERNAL MOMENT ARMS

[Read more: moments]

PURPOSE

This section sets out a summary of the research that has explored the external moment arm lengths during the deadlift exercise, using motion capture analysis.

LOWER SPINE EXTERNAL MOMENT ARM LENGTH

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing lumbosacral or lower lumbar (L4-L5) external moment arm lengths during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – external moment arm lengths

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Swinton (2011a).

Findings

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in lumbosacral external moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift but there was a non-significant trend for a greater moment arm in the straight bar deadlift (21.0cm vs. 14.4cm).

Summary

There is no difference in lumbosacral external moment arm length between the hexagonal barbell and straight barbell deadlifts.

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HIP EXTERNAL MOMENT ARM LENGTHS

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing hip external moment arm lengths during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – external moment arm lengths

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a).

Findings

EFFECTS OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in external moment arm lengths between groups (34.1 vs. 34.1cm).

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in hip external moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift but there was a non-significant trend for a greater moment arm in the straight bar deadlift (21.4cm vs. 14.5cm).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, both Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that there was no difference in hip external moment arm length between conventional and sumo deadlift styles.

Summary

Hip external moment arm length is not affected by training status. Also, there is no difference in hip external moment arm length between the hexagonal barbell and straight barbell deadlifts, nor between the sumo and conventional deadlift styles. 

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KNEE EXTERNAL MOMENT ARM LENGTHS

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing knee external moment arm lengths during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – external moment arm lengths

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a).

Findings

EFFECTS OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in external moment arm lengths between groups (5.8 vs. 4.3cm). In both groups, the external moment arm length was positive (i.e. it requires a knee extension moment from the musculature to counter it).

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was a difference in knee external moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift. The knee external moment arm length was negative in the straight bar deadlift (i.e. it requires a knee flexion moment arm from the muscle to counter it) but positive in the hexagonal bar deadlift (i.e. it requires a knee extension moment from the musculature to counter it) (-8.4cm vs. +1.9cm).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, both Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that there was a difference in knee external moment arm length between the conventional and sumo deadlift styles. There was a greater knee external moment arm length in the sumo deadlift style compared to the conventional deadlift style (19.3cm vs. 5.1cm in Escamilla et al. 2000; 13.2cm vs. 3.3cm in Escamilla et al. 2001).

Summary

Knee external moment arm length is not affected by training status. However, knee external moment arm length is more positive (so a greater knee extensor moment is needed) in the hexagonal barbell compared to the straight barbell, and in the sumo style compared to the conventional deadlift style.

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ANKLE EXTERNAL MOMENT ARM LENGTHS

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing ankle external moment arm lengths during the barbell deadlift exercise

Comparison – between deadlift variations or across different training variables

Outcome – external moment arm lengths

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: Brown (1985); Escamilla (2000); Escamilla (2001); Swinton (2011a).

Findings

EFFECTS OF INTRINSIC FACTORS

Comparing skilled and unskilled adolescent powerlifters, Brown and Abani (1985) found that no differences in external moment arm lengths between groups (15.7 vs. 17.2cm). In both groups, the external moment arm length was positive (i.e. it requires a plantar flexor moment from the musculature to counter it).

EFFECTS OF BARBELL TYPE

Comparing the effects of barbell type, Swinton et al. (2011a) found that there was no difference in ankle external moment arm length in the straight bar deadlift compared to the hexagonal bar deadlift but there was a non-significant trend for a greater moment arm in the straight bar deadlift (16.5cm vs. 11.9cm).

EFFECT OF DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

Comparing the effects of deadlift technique, both Escamilla et al. (2000) and Escamilla et al. (2001) found that there was a difference in ankle external moment arm length between the conventional and sumo deadlift styles. There was a greater ankle external moment arm length in the sumo deadlift style compared to the conventional deadlift style (-18.2cm vs. +4.2cm [Escamilla et al. 2000]; -4.3cm vs. +6.1cm [Escamilla et al. 2001]). The ankle external moment arm length was such that a plantar flexor moment was required in the conventional style but dorsiflexor moment was required in the sumo style.

Summary

Ankle external moment arm length is not affected by training status. Also, there is no difference in ankle external moment arm length between the hexagonal barbell and straight barbell deadlifts. However, ankle external moment arm length is more positive (so a greater plantar flexor moment is needed) in the conventional style compared to the sumo style.

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RELIABILITY OF 1RM TESTING

[Read more: reliability]

PURPOSE

This section details the test-re-test reliability of 1RM deadlift testing, which helps provide strength and conditioning coaches with a method for assessing whether an improvement in 1RM deadlift is real or random.

RELIABILITY OF 1RM

Selection criteria

Population – any healthy, adult population

Intervention – any acute study assessing the reliability of 1RM testing in the deadlift exercise

Comparison – between sessions (test-re-test reliability)

Outcomes – Pearson’s correlation coefficient, Standard Mean Difference (SMD), Minimum Difference to be considered real (MD)

Results

The following relevant studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria: English (2008), Bezerra (2013).

Findings

English et al. (2008) reported that the ICC of the 1RM deadlift was 0.99. Bezerra et al. (2013) similarly reported that the ICC of the 1RM conventional deadlift was 0.96 and of the 1RM stiff-legged deadlift was 0.94. Since neither group reported descriptive statistics (mean ± standard deviation), it was not possible to estimate the SEM or MD.

SECTION CONCLUSIONS

There is very limited research exploring the test-re-test reliability of deadlift 1RM testing. Studies to date have reported nearly perfect (r > 0.9) test-re-test reliability. This indicates that the 1RM deadlift test is reliable. Unfortunately, data are not available for the SEM or MD.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Chris Beardsley performed the literature reviews, wrote the first draft of this page and was the primary author.


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