I keep on reading then forgetting this fascinating Deadlift study “Electromyographic activity in deadlift exercise and its variants”. A systematic review by Isabel Martín-Fuentes, et al (link)
The main purpose of this review was to review the literature around muscle activation when performing the Deadlift exercise and its variants.
“Major findings indicate that the biceps femoris is the most studied muscle, followed by gluteus maximus, vastus lateralis and erector spinae. Erector spinae and quadriceps muscles reported greater activation than gluteus maximus and biceps femoris muscles during Deadlift exercise and its variants. However, the Romanian Deadlift is associated with lower activation for erector spinae than for biceps femoris and semitendinosus. Deadlift also showed greater activation of the quadriceps muscles than the gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles. In general, semitendinosus muscle activation predominates over that of biceps femoris within hamstring muscles complex”
1) Biceps femoris is the most evaluated muscle, followed by gluteus maximus, vastus lateralis and erector spinae during Deadlift exercises;
2) Erector spinae and quadriceps muscles are more activated than gluteus maximus and biceps femoris muscles within Deadlift exercises;
3) Within the hamstring muscles complex, semitendinosus elicits slightly greater muscle activation than biceps femoris during Deadlift exercises