Sunday, September 5, 2010

Squat or Deadlift?

To squat or to deadlift? If you could only choose one of them, which would you choose?

For me I would choose the deadlift, and here are my reasons.

1. A deadlift has no preceding eccentric contraction. Therefore its carryover to the initial few steps in acceleration is high.

2. You get more band for your buck with a deadlift, as you also get upper back work, shoulder work, and grip work.

3. Nearly all athletes need more posterior chain work

4. Deadlifts do not require a spotter

5. For in-season programs the fact the deadlifts do not have a big eccentric component is a good thing from a muscle soreness, and recovery standpoint.

6. Many athletes with bad shoulders cannot squat (with a straight bar anyway), but can nearly always deadlift as the arm is by the side.

7. Deadlifts are a great for rehabbing shoulders

8. Athletes with poor ankle mobility are poor squatters, but can they can still perfrom a deadlift with good form as ankle mobility isn't a hugh limiting factor. This is due to a more vertical tibia (or closer to vertical) position

There eight reasons why I would pick the deadlift over the squat. Now DO NOT get me wrong here, I love squats. My athltetes squat in the off-season. But if I had to choose between a squat or deadlift, I am picking the deadlift everytime.

Remember this is only my opinion. If you perfer to squat, and you are getting great results, who I am to argue. As long as you have a sound rationale for doing what you do, I have no problem with your program choices. Man I sound like Rob Panariello!!

So which one would you choose?

Stay Strong,



  1. As long as I'm not limited to squats and can use variations (front, overhead, zercher) then I'd pick squats.

    They demand more flexibility - if you can squat deep with good form, you can get in position to deadlift, but it doesn't work the other way. They are more suitable for higher rep work and often this is the cornerstone of hypertrophy programs. The concentric is preceded by an eccentric, which can help develop the stretch shortening cycle, alternatively, you can pause them, to eliminate it.

    I'd have a few more, but those should suffice now. However I still love deadlifts, nothing beats loading up a bar with enough plates that it bends and picking it up, well except squats!

  2. Some great counter points Nick! I appreciate your thoughts