Methodological Considerations for the Determination of the Critical Load for the Deadlift

Alexander C. Moss, Taylor K. Dinyer, Mark G. Abel, Haley C. Bergstrom

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1 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Moss, AC, Dinyer, TK, Abel, MG, and Bergstrom, HC. Methodological considerations for the determination of the critical load for the deadlift. J Strength Cond Res 35(2S): S31-S37, 2021-This study determined whether performance method during conventional deadlifting affects critical load (CL) estimates derived from the linear work limit (Wlim) vs. repetitions relationship. Eleven subjects completed 1-repetition maximum (1RM) deadlift testing followed by separate visits, to determine the number of repetitions to failure at 50, 60, 70, and 80% 1RM for both reset (RS) and touch-and-go (TG) methods. The CL was the slope of the line of total work completed (load [kg] × repetitions) vs. total repetitions for 4 intensities (50-80% 1RM). The number of repetitions to failure were determined at CLRS and CLTG. The kg values and repetitions to failure at CLRS and CLTG, and total repetitions at each intensity (50-80%) for each method (RS and TG) were compared. There were no significant mean differences (±SD) in kg values (-0.4 ± 7.9 kg, range = -8.8 to 17 kg, p = 0.856), %1RM (-1.2 ± 5.6%, p = 0.510), or total repetitions completed (2.8 ± 15.7 reps, range = -15 to 37 reps, p = 0.565) for CLRS and CLTG. These findings indicated that performance method did not affect mean estimation of CL or number of repetitions completed at submaximal loads. Thus, the estimates of CL from the modeling of total work vs. repetitions were relatively robust to variations in deadlifting methodologies. However, individual variability (range of scores) in kg values and repetition to failure at CLRS and CLTG indicated that deadlifting methods may differ in anatomical region of fatigue. The CL is an individually derived threshold that may be used to examine and describe performance capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S31-S37
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 National Strength and Conditioning Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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