A misunderstood aspect of a conventional deadlift is the firing sequence of muscles involvment. One of the best research article that dispells much of the misinformation provided by Dr Tom McLaughlin.
McLaughlin's research shows that in a sumo deadlift the muscle firing order is Legs-Back. The legs breaking the weight off the floor.
However, the firing order in a conventional deadlift is different. The firing order of the muscle in a conventiaonl deadlift is Back-Legs-Back. The lower back primarily breaks the weight off the floor.
Here part of what his research goes into the lower back initiating the pull in a conventional deadlift.
"Biomechancis Of Powerlifting--The Deadlift"
Dr Tom McLaughlin-
Director/Biomechanics Labratory/Auburn University/PLUSA 7/81
"A kinetic analysis permitted us to calculate the resultant muscular torques for the back and legs. This information gives us an idea of whether the back extensor muscles or the quadreceps (thigh muscles) are primarily working to lift the bar at a certain time during the deadlift. How much and when a deadlifter uses these muscles are very important to success."
"Now, although most people probably think the initial drive off the floor is all legs, it is clearly done primarily by the back."
"Kuc, Kazmaier, and Anello use the back first..."
"I was talking to Lamar Gant this week here at Auburn, and he said that he felt years ago his leg drive was strong off the floor, but in recent years he felt his back pulling more at the start."
"This is probably a reason for the recent craze over stiff-leg deadlifts. They simply develop more back strength for the starting position."
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Discussion of peer refereed articles and clinical applications
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