The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between total estimated work, bar load and total oxygen consumption (TVO2) during the deadlift exercise. Forty-two observations of TVO2 during a wide range of deadlifting bouts were made on a heterogeneous sample of 10 males and 14 females. TVO2 was measured by standard open-circuit spirometry. An R of 0.912 for work and TVO2 indicated that total estimated work during deadlifting can be used to predict oxygen cost accurately. The calculated regression equation was TVO2 (litres of O2) = 2.63 + 0.80 work (kJ) with a S.E.E. of 1.50 litres O2. An R of 0.909 for bar load and TVO2 indicated essentially the same predictability using bar load as the independent variable. The calculated regression equation was TVO2 (litres O2) = 2.88 + 0.005 bar load (kg) with a S.E.E. of 1.5 litres O2. Care should be taken when converting oxygen cost to energy expenditure values using non-protein R equivalents, since underestimations are likely, due to the heavy glycolytic involvement.