The deadlift has long been associated with strength and power and an exercise frequently prescribed and executed by the wonderful athletes here at SAPT. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined this exercise and discovered illuminating data to further validate the positive effects this exercise has on athletic performance.
The primary purpose of the study was to examine what effect 10 weeks of deadlift training would have on rate of force development (RFD), rate of torque development (RTD), and vertical jump performance.
RFD, a person’s ability to rapidly create force, is paramount to success in sports performance. A higher RFD produces much quicker and more explosive movements. In the weight room this equates to being able to move a barbell or implement with a given load at a faster rate. On the field or court the results will be noticed in laser quick cutting and lightning fast running.
The study consisted of 18 people who completed 5 sets of 5 reps on the deadlift twice per week for 10 weeks. Utilizing pre- and post- vertical jump test results, the authors found a 7.4% increase in vertical jump height. To put that in a real world measure, it would be similar to adding about 1.75 inches to a 25in. vertical jump. Not a massive increase but certainly enough to get you closer to the ball in most cases. The study also noted marked improvements in RTD for the major lower extremity muscles groups.
The results of this study give hope to jumping athletes looking to take their athletic prowess to the next level. I feel Dan John said it best in the book Easy Strength, "If you aren't deadlifting, you aren't training."