The aim of this study was to determine the muscle activity and onset time of hip extensors during a closed kinetic chain exercise (deadlift) at sub-maximal loads of 30%, 40%, 50%, and 75% of one repetition maximum (1RM). Twelve healthy males with at least three years of resistance training experience volunteered for the study. Biceps femoris (BF) and gluteus maximus (GM) muscle activity, onset time, peak and mean power were measured during the concentric phase of the deadlift. There was no main effect (p > 0.05) or no interaction effect for the onset time in BF and GM and for each load BF and GM had similar muscle activity. Increasing the external load during deadlift had no adverse effect on the relative onset time and it did not promote BF onset to occur before GM onset, thus both muscles were simultaneously activated, which should not compromise a delay in GM.
Keywords: deadlift; gluteus maximus; muscle firing patterns; power-load.