Acute physiological response of lumbar intervertebral discs to high-load deadlift exercise

Osamu Yanagisawa*, Tomoki Oshikawa, Naoto Matsunaga, Gen Adachi, Koji Kaneoka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We aimed to evaluate the acute physiological effects of high-load deadlift exercise on the lumbar intervertebral discs using MR diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Methods: Fifteen volunteers (11 men and 4 women; 23.2 ± 3.3 years) without lumbar intervertebral disc degeneration performed deadlift exercise (70% of 1 repetition maximum, 6 repetitions, 5 sets, 90 s rest between sets) using a Smith machine. Sagittal MR diffusion-weighted images of the lumbar intervertebral discs were obtained using a 1.5-Tesla MR system with a spine coil before and immediately after the exercise. We calculated apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC; an index of water movement) of the nucleus pulposus from diffusion weighted images at all lumbar intervertebral discs (L1/2 through L5/S1). Results: All lumbar intervertebral discs showed significantly decreased ADC values immediately after dead-lift exercise (L1/2, −2.8%; L2/3, −2.1%; L3/4, −2.8%; L4/5, −4.9%; L5/S1, −6.2%; P < 0.01). In addition, the rate of ADC decrease of the L5/S1 disc was significantly greater than those of the L1/2 (P = 0.017), L2/3 (P < 0.01), and L3/4 (P = 0.02) discs. Conclusion: The movement of water molecules within the lumbar intervertebral discs is suppressed by high-load deadlift exercise, which would be attributed to mechanical stress on the lumbar intervertebral discs during deadlift exercise. In particular, the L5/S1 disc is subjected to greater mechanical stress than the other lumbar intervertebral discs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-294
Number of pages5
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Intradiscal water movement
  • Lifting
  • Lumbar spine
  • Magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted image
  • Mechanical stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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