pull-a-holic and the deadlift ruined my life." All kidding aside though I do love the deadlift and all its many variations. And because of this overwhelming love I feel for this lift I love finding evidence to support my love. Most recently I found a study published in the journal Archives of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation.
This study used electromyographic muscle activity measured in the paraspinals of the lumbar and thoracic erector spinae. The researchers compared EMG activity during six different exercises: a static supine bridge on a BOSU ball, a single leg body weight deadlift on a BOSU, a single leg bodyweight deadlift, a back extension, a lunge with 70% of 1RM, and a deadlift performed with 70% of 1RM. The comparisons showed that far and above the deadlift is much more effective for working the paraspinals. The lunge and back extension were next in line for highest levels of EMG activity. So clearly multi-joint exercises doen with moderate weight are much more beneficial then single joint bodyweight exercises.
This study means that the deadlift should be a staple exercise in anybody's training program who wishes to build a strong lower back, tight abdominal muscles, and remain injury free. Of course if you are some one who is experiencing lower back pain you must first achieve structural balance and functional balance, but once this has been a established the deadlift should be programmed to insure the back stays strong, healthy, and asymptomatic.