Sex comparisons of strength and coactivation following ten weeks of deadlift training

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2014 Sep;14(3):387-97.


Objectives: To examine the effects of a ten week deadlift training program on peak torque and agonist-antagonist coactivation.

Methods: Fifty-four untrained subjects (mean age=23 years) participated in this investigation, and were randomly assigned to a training (males, n=17; females, n=17) or control (males, n=9; females, n=11) group. The subjects in the training group performed deadlifts twice per week. Isometric peak torque for the leg extensors and flexors and surface electromyographic (EMG) amplitude for the superficial quadriceps and biceps femoris muscles were assessed.

Results: Deadlift training increased leg extension peak torque for the males (P=.008, Cohen's d=0.43) and females (P=.003, d=0.48). Leg flexion peak torque improved for the females (P=.001, d=0.45). Increased EMG amplitude for the superficial quadriceps femoris muscles when they served as agonists was demonstrated for the females (P=.010, d=0.40), but not the males (P=.059, d=0.20). For both sexes, the effect sizes for the decline in biceps femoris coactivation were large.

Conclusion: Deadlift training elicited improvements in strength and agonist-antagonist coactivation in untrained subjects, and particularly, novice females.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Torque
  • Young Adult