1.The squat allows you to train more frequently.
A lot of people wonder why the squat is more popular than the deadlift. The answer is simple – because it’s a compound exercise that hits your whole body and back while allowing you to recover more easily.
The squat has an eccentric (negative) portion while the deadlift doesn’t and you have to use brute force to get the weight off the ground. As a result the deadlift is hard to recover from and people hate it for that. You can’t do heavy deadlifts every day. It’s counter productive.
2.The squat builds big legs.
While the deadlift is dependent on leg strength it does not build nor does it require as much leg mass as the squat. The barbell squat trains the legs over larger range of motion which is good when your goal is to build mass. Fuller range of motion exercises always stimulate more hypertrophy.
Of course, you can build bigger legs with the deadlift if you do sumo deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts. You can read more about that topic here.
3.The squat has a good carry over to the deadlift.
The strength you build with the squat carries over to the deadlift while the opposite is not true. If you are a good squatter, you will most certainly have a decent deadlift, although in order to be a really good deadlifter you obviously need to train the actual lift.
4.The squat has been used in epic routines.
The squat is part of very popular routines such as StrongLifts 5×5, Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, Super Squats, Madcow 5×5, Bill Starr’s 5×5…etc. Many strength coaches who have very solid reputation in the iron game recommend the squat to beginners and as a result it gains more and more popularity.
5.People are afraid of the deadlift.
People are afraid of the deadlift because they usually feel obliterated after doing it. Also many fear back injuries and don’t see the point in doing deadlifts. They just rely on a variety of exercises to build their backs without deadlifts.
6.Big guys like squats.
The trends in the gym are dictated by the big guys. Those who have the big muscular bodies dictate the fashion and the small guys follow. It turns out that big guys like squats. They really like to brag about their numbers although very often they perform quarter squats in order to put more weight on the bar and flatter their egos.