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Biomechanical And Physiological Factors

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Coaching technique is about the interaction of different biomechanical and physiological factors coming into play during a movement.  Decisions of how to improve a lift are not as intuitive as one may expect. It is always important to examine the research and confer with the professionals before engaging in weeks, months or even years of seaking success.

The following is an example of how one might look into developing the conventional barbell deadlift by examining the contribution of the musculature involved and looking biomechanically where deficits may occur.  


During the deadlift movement the quadricep complex, that is, the muscles of the front of the thigh have greater activation when compared to gluteus maximus and the hamstrings. 

Within the three muscles of the hamstring complex the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and bicep femoris, the semitendinosus has a greater activation than the bicep femoris. 

The erector spinae muscles include, iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis. These muscles run the length of the spine and present higher muscle activation than the gluteus maximus and the biceps femoris muscle of the hamstrings.


Biomechanically examining isometrically the various positions of the barbell deadlift, it is found the starting position of the movement is the weakest for the lifter. 

This is followed by the position of the bar at knee level.  The strongest position is when the bar is at mid-thigh, which is on the average about 70% stronger than the starting position. 

What can be counterintuitive is that the sticking point in the deadlift is not the position at the beginning of the lift deemed mechanically the weakest.  It is more complex as biomechanical and physiological factors must both be considered in the production of force. 

Knowing the above factors are important in developing a barbell deadlift, targeting specific muscular areas of the body and working on technique to take advantage of bar location and body posture are the basic keys to success.

Consider all factors when Getting Strong.


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Livonia Franklin High School
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A morning workout on the Pendulum Rack System at the College Strength and Conditioning Show in Fort Worth, Texas. The strength coaches are Staying Strong. The Pendulum Rack System