IMG_0635 So I guess I messed up my karma yesterday when I was bragging about getting to cut my work week short and head to the lake today because the weather is a poopy for a lake day. It rained all the way up to the lake and it has continued to rain sense we got here, but the weather looks like it will break later this afternoon and should be bright and sunny for Saturday and Sunday.

On a good note I did fit in a late night deadlifting session after work. I couldn’t leave town with a good training session still on the table so I just knocked out 12 hours earlier than normal. And I got evidence of it too (see video below and yes bro I do lift ; D). This also gave me a great excuse to pick up my 16 kilogram kettlebell from the gym and bring it to the lake. I’ll tried to get a picture of a me turkish get-uping while fishing. Seriously how epic would that be?!

Any how before getting out to ride the seadoos I wanted to share this week’s “Study of the Week”. It’s not the most exciting, but it serves as a great reinforcer of a reoccurring principle.


Electromyographic Activity of Lower Body Muscles during the Deadlift and Stiff-Legged Deadlift

by Bezerra, Simao, Fleck, Paz, Maia, Costa, Amadio, Miranda, and Serrao

published 2013 in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online


Strength and conditioning coaches along with personal trainers use a variety of deadlift variations to train the lower body musculature in a comprehensive manner. Previous studies have examined the conventional and sumo deadlifts, but have yet to investigate the Romanian Deadlift (bent-knee deadlift) or stiff-legged deadlifts to the same extent.

Previous researchers have reported that there are differences between the EMG activity  of the sumo and conventional deadlifts. These differences being the sumo deadlift producing greater activation in the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and tibialis anterior while the conventional deadlift produces greater activation of the gastrocnemius.

These researchers wanted to specifically investigate the EMG activity of the biceps femoris, vastus lateralis, lumbar multifidus, anterior tibialis, and medial gastrocnemius during the conventional deadlift and the stiff legged deadlift.


Researchers recruited 14 males with at least 2 previous years of training experience and had experience performing both exercises. Researchers tested each subjects 1RM for each exercise and then recorded the EMG activity of the aforementioned muscles while the subjects performed the lifts with 70% of their respective 1RM.

The researchers  then used a reference value in order to normalize the EMG signal. This reference value was the peak average for all of the muscles tested for each subject for each exercise over 3 reps of each exercise. Performing such a normalization allowed the researchers to compare the results between different muscles, exercises, and subjects


Researchers reported significant differences between the two exercise for the vastus lateralis and medial gastrocnemius muscles. But they did not report any significant differences between in EMG activity in each exercise of the biceps femoris, lumbar multifidus or anterior tibialis muscles.

Reseachers reported significant differecnes in respect to the relative time of activation between the two exercises for the vastus lateralis muscle. The researchers wrote that this muscle displayed a higher activation in the deadlift at the start of the concentric phase and at the end of the eccentric phase. But during the stiff legged deadlift it displayed the highest activation at approximately 60 degrees of hip angle during the concentric phase.


Researchers concluded that the deadlift is the most effective of the two exercises for activating the vastus lateralis muscle than the stiff-legged deadlift. The researchers also state that the stiff legged deadlift is superior for recruiting the medial gastrocnemius muscle than the deadlift.


Now the important take away from this study could be that the if you want to work the vastus lateralis you need to perform a conventional deadlift and if you want to work the gastrocnemius than you need to perform the stiff-legged deadlift. But in my opinion that is a bit to specific and how many people actually care what their vastus lateralis looks like or even where it is located. I think the much more applicable take away from this study is that if you want to develop the entire lower body musculature it is beneficial to perform a variety of deadlift variations. This really isn’t a ground breaking take away, but it never helps to have a reminder from time to time.

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training