Squats vs. Deadlifts

| May 14, 2014 by Truth Seeker |

What’s better – squats or deadlifts? This is a question that keeps a large part of the lifting population awake. To determine which one is the king, we must analyze the benefits of both lifts.

 Wenhua Cui {squat} and Bob Peoples {deadlift}

Wenhua Cui {squat} and Bob Peoples {deadlift}

Squat Benefits

Heavy weights and strength carryover. The lower body strength developed from squats is transferable to many exercises including the deadlift. A strong squat equals a decent deadlift. The opposite is not true.

Less stress on the CNS compared to deadlifts. Squats may be a hard exercise, but they are still less stressful on the body and the central nervous system than deadlifts thanks to the negative/eccentric portion. Many Olympic lifters who follow the Bulgarian training method do heavy squats on a daily basis. The deadlift does not offer similar options because you cannot recover as easily.


Large range of motion and more hypertrophy. Deep squats work the joints of the knee over a large range of motion (ROM). If the exercise is done safely, it will strengthen the joints and prevent injuries. Thanks to the larger range of motion, more fibers are recruited. The result is more quad hypertrophy in comparison to the deadlift.

Deadlift Benefits

One of the best back builders in the universe. The deadlift has built many strong backs. The thickness of the spinal erectors produced by the deadlift is hard to match. Even if you squat super heavy weights, the deadlift is still the better back builder.

Posterior chain strength. While the squat obviously works the posterior chain intensely, it focuses more on the glutes. The hamstrings are ignored a bit. The deadlift fixes this issue. Undoubtedly, the deadlift is one of the best posterior chain exercises.

Grip strength. Unlike the squat, the deadlift develops strong forearms and fingers. After all, you can’t hold a heavy barbell unless you have a strong grip.

No need for a spotter. The deadlift does not require a spotter. If something goes wrong, you can just drop the bar.

All you need is a barbell. The deadlift does not require fancy equipment. All you need is a barbell and maybe chalk. This saves you money if you train in a home gym.

Functional strength. The deadlift builds more functional strength than the squat because it makes you good at picking heavy stuff from the ground.

Harder to cheat. A squat can be high. People don’t care. But when a deadlift is not locked – it’s way too apparent.

Conclusion: The deadlift is the more convenient and complete exercise out of the two because it builds the upper body too. However, the benefits of the squat should not be taken lightly. Incorporating the exercise in your routine can help the muscular development and strength of your legs tremendously while also driving your deadlift up.

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