Heelas, T, Theis, N, and Hughes, JD. Muscle activation patterns during variable resistance deadlift training with and without elastic bands. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of band-assisted variable resistance training on muscular activity in the lower limbs and barbell kinematics during the concentric phase of the deadlift. Fifteen resistance trained men (mean ± SD: 28.7 ± 9.3 years; 1.80 ± 0.90 m; 92.5 ± 15.1 kg) performed 6 deadlift repetitions during 4 loading conditions: 100-kg bar (no band), 80-kg bar with 20-kg band tension (B20), 75-kg bar with 25-kg band tension (B25), and 70-kg bar with 30-kg band tension (B30). Muscle activity from the medial gastrocnemius (MG), semitendinosus (ST), vastus medialis (VMO), vastus lateralis (VL), and gluteus maximus (GM) were recorded using surface electromyography during the concentric phase of the lift and expressed as a percentage of each muscle’s maximal activity, recorded during a maximal isometric contraction. Barbell power and velocity were recorded using a linear position transducer. Electromyography results showed that muscle activity significantly decreased as band resistance increased in the MG and ST (p < 0.05) and progressively decreased in the GM. No changes were observed for the VMO or VL. Peak and mean bar velocity and power significantly increased as band resistance increased. Performing the deadlift with band-assisted variable resistance increases bar power and velocity, while concurrently decreasing muscle activation of the posterior chain musculature. Practitioners prescribing this exercise may wish to include additional posterior chain exercises that have been shown to elicit high levels of muscle activation.
Address correspondence to Dr. Jonathan D. Hughes, Jhughes1@glos.ac.uk.
Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.