The structural refinement of large complexes at the lower resolution limit is often difficult and inefficient owing to the limited number of reflections and the frequently high-level structural flexibility. A new normal-mode-based X-ray crystallographic refinement method has recently been developed that enables anisotropic B-factor refinement using a drastically smaller number of thermal parameters than even isotropic refinement. Here, the method has been systematically tested on a total of eight systems in the resolution range 3.0-3.9 A. This series of tests established the most applicable scenarios for the method, the detailed procedures for its application and the degree of structural improvement. The results demonstrated substantial model improvement at the lower resolution limit, especially in cases in which other methods such as the translation-libration-screw (TLS) model were not applicable owing to the poorly converged isotropic B-factor distribution. It is expected that this normal-mode-based method will be a useful tool for structural refinement, in particular at the lower resolution limit, in the field of X-ray crystallography.