A randomized trial to consider the effect of Romanian deadlift exercise on the development of lumbar extension strength

Phys Ther Sport. 2013 Aug;14(3):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2012.04.001. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Objective: To consider the efficacy of 10 weeks of Romanian deadlift (DL) training in increasing lumbar extension strength compared to isolated lumbar extension (LUMX) training.

Design: Comparison of pre- and post-test data for Romanian deadlift 1RM, and lumbar extension torque between and within groups.

Participants: Male trained subjects (n = 36; (x¯±SD) 24.9 ± 6.5 years; 178.5 ± 5.2 cm; 81.6 ± 10.0 kg).

Main outcome measures: Pre- and post-testing included a Romanian deadlift 1RM and isometric strength tests every 12° through full range of motion on the MedX lumbar extension machine (MedX, Ocala, FL).

Results: Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni adjustments revealed that 1RM Romanian deadlift significantly increased from pre- to post-test in the DL group (p < 0.008; 143.3 ± 23.4 kg to 166.3 ± 21.9 kg) and the LUMX group (p < 0.008; 135.8 ± 23.1 kg to 146.0 ± 25.5 kg). In contrast, tested functional torque (TFT) significantly increased at 6 out of 7 joint angles (p < 0.008) for the LUMX group only. The control group showed no significant differences pre- to post-test.

Conclusions: These data suggest that the Romanian deadlift does not enhance lumbar extension torque. However, performing specific isolated lumbar extension training appears to improve both lumbar extension torque and Romanian deadlift 1RM.

Keywords: Lower back; MedX; Strength training.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Torque
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Lifting*
  • Young Adult