A systematic review on the muscular activation on the lower limbs with five different variations of the deadlift exercise



Electromyographic activity, Resistance exercise, Quadriceps, Gluteus, Hamstrings, Calves


The deadlift is one of the most widely used resistance exercises by different types of trainees and with different aims including aesthetics, performance and health. There are numerous variations of the deadlift exercise which have different effects on the exercise biomechanics and muscular activation. The main objective of this research was to systematically review the literature looking forward to gathering data on the muscular activation on the lower limbs with different variations of the deadlift exercise (conventional, sumo, Romanian, straight legs and hex-bar). 19 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Quality of the articles was assessed through the PEDro scale. Main findings were that deadlift is a posterior-chain dominant exercise. Changes in activation between the variations majorly depend on the hip flexion in relation to the knee flexion. For instance, the straight-legs deadlift does not involve knee flexion and mainly activates hip extensors. Other factors such as the distance between the load and the centre of mass, the knee flexion planes, or the total intensity also condition the muscular activation. For example, the hex-bar deadlift allows the subject being in alignment with the load and performing the exercise with relatively vertical back, which provokes an increase on the activation of the knee extensors. In conclusion, this study may help the strength and conditioning professionals and practitioners with the exercise selection depending on the muscular targets and the individual characteristics of the athlete.


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How to Cite

Flandez, J., Gene-Morales, J., Juesas, A., Saez-Berlanga, Ángel, Miñana, I., & Colado, J. C. (2020). A systematic review on the muscular activation on the lower limbs with five different variations of the deadlift exercise. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(4proc), S1262-S1276. Retrieved from https://www.jhse.ua.es/article/view/2020-v15-n4-proc-review-muscular-activation-lower-limbs-deadlift

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