Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 448 - 453

Research article
Anthropometrical Determinants of Deadlift Variant Performance
Jason M. Cholewa1, , Ozan Atalag2, Anastasia Zinchenko3, Kelly Johnson1, Menno Henselmans3
Author Information
1 Department of Kinesiology, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC, USA
2 Kinesiology and Exercise Science Department, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, HI, USA
3 The International Scientific Research Foundation for Fitness and Nutrition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jason M. Cholewa
✉ Assoc. Prof. Department of Kinesiology, College of Science, Coastal Carolina University, PO Box 261954, Conway, SC 29528, Williams-Brice 152B, USA
Publish Date
Received: 19-02-2019
Accepted: 20-05-2019
Published (online): 01-08-2019
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The barbell deadlift is a popular exercise and one of the three lifts in competitive powerlifting. While muscle activation has been tested between the sumo (SDL) and conventional deadlift (CDL), the relationships between anthropometrics and deadlift performance in the two styles is not yet known. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between anthropometrics and SDL versus CDL performance (SDL:CDL strength ratio). Forty-seven (n = 28 male, n = 19 female) deadlift naïve subjects participated in this study. Anthropometric measurements were arm and hand length, wrist and ankle girth, seated height, thigh length, and lower leg length. Deadlift instructions for the two styles were provided on day 1 and 2. On day 3 and 4, deadlift 1RM was tested for the SDL or CDL in random order, and then deadlift repetitions to volitional fatigue with 60% of 1RM were measured. No significant differences between CDL 1RM and SDL 1RM were found. The only significant correlation found between the anthropometric predictors and the SDL:CDL strength ratio was an inverse relationship with the sitting height to total height ratio (r = 0.297, p = 0.043). Total repetitions to volitional fatigue was higher in females compared to males for both lifts (p = 0.041). Our findings suggest that the sumo deadlift may be slightly mechanically advantageous for deadlift naïve individuals with longer torsos, while the conventional deadlift may be better suited for those with shorter torsos.

Key words: Deadlifting performance, anthropometry, sumo deadlift, conventional deadlift

           Key Points
  • Minimal differences exist in hip range of motion and lower limb muscle activation between the conventional and sumo deadlifts; however, little is known about how differences in limb lengths and ratios effect performance between the two lifts.
  • In this study, we found that individuals with greater torso to total height ratios had higher 1 repetition maximums when the deadlift was performed with the sumo compared to conventional styles.
  • Additionally, we found that women demonstrated greater fatigue resistance during a deadlift repetition to failure test with 60% of the 1 repetition maximum.
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