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Deadlift vs Squat: Which Exercise Should You Do?

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Our Summary and Answer:

 

Both squats and deadlifts are fantastic compound exercises that can help you to build muscle, burn fat, and improve your fitness level. Squats are an excellent exercise for beginners as they require much less technique than deadlifts if you’re just starting with strength training.

 

However, if you have the proper form already or are looking to take things up a notch, then deadlifts are a great option as they’ll allow you to lift heavier weights and see more significant changes in your body.

 

Deadlifts are often seen as the king of all exercises. It’s a hip-dominant exercise that can be done with lots of weight, which is why it is so popular among strength athletes. But it also comes with some disadvantages – namely, its high injury potential and difficulty scaling for different body types.

 

Squats are an excellent lower bodybuilder with no significant drawbacks aside from needing to use lighter weights than deadlifts because they primarily work the quads rather than the glutes and hamstrings.

 

In this article, we will compare deadlifts and squats. The goal is to help you determine which lift would be more beneficial for your training goals, whether that’s powerlifting or physique-oriented fitness.

 

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What Is the Deadlift?

The deadlift is a weightlifting exercise that primarily works the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It’s easy to see why everyone would assume it’s THE best exercise ever – because these are the three main muscles in your butt!

 

To perform the movement, you’ll start with an external weight load on the floor in front of your feet. Next, bend your knees and grip the bar with an overhand grip, with your shoulders pulled back to create tension in the upper body.

 

The next step is to move the weight off the floor by pushing through your feet and extending your hips. Again, keep gripping the bar tightly to keep it close to your body as you pull it upwards.

 

At this point, you need to make sure that you’re squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to lockout (straighten up) at the top of the movement, which is when you’ll be standing tall with the weight. Next, lower the barbell to the floor by reversing this motion and repeating.

 

What Is the Squat?

The squat is an exercise that primarily works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It’s a fundamental movement in most sports and a tremendous muscle-building exercise for any fitness enthusiast.

 

To perform the movement, you’ll start with an external weight load on your shoulders (a barbell). Next, bend your legs and shift your butt backward.

 

At this point, you need to make sure that you’re pushing your knees outwards, which will help keep them from caving in as you go down into the bottom position.

 

Next, lower yourself underneath the bar by bending your hips and sending your butt backward until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower. Again, make sure that you’re keeping the weight on your heels as you do this.

 

After reaching the bottom position, push against your legs to come back up to standing by squeezing your glutes and extending your legs. This is one rep. Your feet should not leave the floor during the movement – it should be a smooth transition from starting to end with no jerking movements.

 

7 Key Benefits of The Deadlift

Now that we’ve covered what each exercise looks like let’s look at the benefits of deadlifts!

 

#1 - Stronger Lifts

Deadlifts are well-known for being suitable for building strength. This is because they allow you to use heavier weights than other exercises, which can build more muscle mass.

 

#2 - Stronger Grip

Deadlifts are also suitable for building your grip strength, which is an often-forgotten aspect of fitness. The grip is a crucial part of athletic performance and many exercises that powerlifters and bodybuilders do.

 

If you don’t have a strong grip, you won’t lift heavy weight without injuring yourself. Even worse, your ability to perform specific exercises (especially back exercises) will suffer dramatically if you don’t take the time to work on this!

 

#3 - More Muscle

As I mentioned before, deadlifts are great for building glutes and hamstrings. And as you probably know, these muscles will help to give your butt a firm and round appearance when built up!

 

#4 - Overall Fitness

Deadlifts aren’t just good for one aspect of fitness. For example, you can use them as part of a fat-burning workout, or you can use them for gaining muscle mass.

 

They’re versatile enough to cover all aspects of fitness that most people are looking to gain, making them one of the best exercises there is!

 

#5 - Boosts Confidence

Deadlifts are a great way to boost your confidence, as you’ll see significant changes in the mirror if your diet is also on point.

 

Seeing yourself improve from lifting heavy weights can be very motivating and inspire you to push yourself even harder!

 

#6 - One of the Compound Lifts

One of the main reasons deadlifts are so helpful is that they’re one of the compound lifts. Compound exercises work out multiple muscle groups at once, which allows you to complete more reps than isolation movements in the same period.

 

This means that you’ll be burning more calories and working your cardiovascular system by doing deadlifts!

 

#7 - Improves Your Coordination and Balance

Deadlifts will help improve your coordination and balance, as they force you to stabilize your entire body during the movement.

 

Many people make one mistake with deadlifts is focusing on lifting with their back rather than using their whole body. With the right technique, you’ll burn more calories and lift bigger weights in the process.

 

7 Important Benefits of Doing Squats

Now that you know what deadlifts can do for you let’s look at the benefits of squats.

 

#1 - Builds Stronger Legs

Squats are great for building overall leg strength and size, which is why they’re considered one of the best exercises that there is!

 

Doing squats will allow you to lift bigger weights than any other exercise – and combined with the proper diet, this will enable you to see significant changes in your legs in a concise amount of time.

 

#2 - Improves Core Strength

Squats are great for building your core strength, which is another often-overlooked aspect of fitness. A strong core can help reduce back pain, improve your posture, and lift bigger weights in the process.

 

If you’re looking to build muscle mass or want to stay injury-free, then squats are one of the best exercises that there is!

 

#3 - Burns More Calories

Squats are great for burning more calories, as they allow you to lift heavier weights than other exercises. However, this means that your muscles will have to work harder, which will result in a more extensive calorie burn after your workout.

 

#4 - Improves Athletic Performance

Squats are an excellent exercise for improving your athletic performance. You’ll be able to lift bigger weights and run faster, which will allow you to gain strength and size much more quickly.

 

Furthermore, squats improve your coordination and balance, which can help you in all aspects of life – not just fitness!

 

#5 - Helps With Your Posture

The proper technique with squats will help you improve your posture, as it forces you to have a straight back rather than slouching forwards.

 

Having good posture is very important for preventing injury and looking slim, so squats are one of the best exercises!

 

#6 - Can Be Done Anywhere

Squats are great for workouts on the go, as you can do them anywhere with no equipment needed.

 

This means that you’ll be able to get a quick workout in whenever you’re feeling lazy and seeing your body will be all the motivation that you need.

 

#7 - Builds motivation

Squats are great for building motivation, as you’ll see changes in your body if your diet is also on point.

 

As mentioned previously, seeing yourself improve from regular squats will inspire you to push yourself even harder in the gym – which can help lead to significant results!

 

6 Drawbacks of Deadlifts

Now that you know about the benefits of squats, let’s look at the drawbacks of deadlifts.

 

#1 - Can Be Dangerous When Done Incorrectly

One of the most significant drawbacks of deadlifts is that they can be dangerous when done incorrectly. This will mean that your form will need to be perfect for the exercise to be safe, and it can feel like a challenging task.

 

Your standing position will determine which muscles you’ll work when doing deadlifts, so you’ll need to know the proper technique to avoid injury.

 

#2 - Hurts Your Lower Back

Another drawback of deadlifts is that they cause a lot of pressure on your lower back, leading to injury if you don’t have great form.

 

This means that deadlifting should only be done by those who don’t suffer from pre-existing back conditions.

 

#3 - Heavier Weights Need to Be Lifted

Deadlifts are great for building overall strength, as it requires you to lift heavier weights than other exercises. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t see results as quickly as those who do squats with lighter weights.

 

#4 - Can Be Difficult to Master Proper Form

Deadlifts can be challenging to master proper form for, as it’s a very complex exercise. This means that you’ll need to put a lot of time and effort into figuring out the proper technique before seeing results.

 

#5 - Less Effective for Type 2B Fibers

Deadlifts are less effective for type 2B fibers (the fast-twitch muscles), where squats come in. Type 2Bs are responsible for speed and power in your muscles, so squats are much better for this!

 

#6 - Can Be Harder on The Knees

Deadlifts are also hard on the knees, as it requires you to go very low to the ground. This means that it will be more challenging to do with bad knees, and you’ll need to put in a lot of time practicing the correct form before seeing results.

 

4 Drawbacks of Squats

Now that you know about the benefits of deadlifts let’s look at the drawbacks of squats.

 

#1 - Hurts Your Back

Squats put a lot of pressure on your back, which is why they are great for building strength. However, if you don’t have great form, this can cause injury to your back, especially your lower back.

Your back and bar positions will determine which muscles you’ll work when doing squats, so it’s essential to know the proper technique.

 

You need to avoid bad posture and keep your back flat when squatting, which will help to prevent injury.

 

#2 - Can Be Dangerous for Those With A Poor Warm-Up

The biggest drawback of squats is that they can be dangerous if you don’t warm up properly. If you do them without a proper warm-up, your knees and legs will take more of the strain caused by the weights, leading to injury.

 

You also need to make sure that you’re doing squats with the correct form and aren’t using too much weight (so that your level of experience doesn’t affect how it feels).

 

#3 - Can Cause Knee Damage

If you don’t have good form and squat with too much weight, this can lead to severe knee damage.

 

For example, if your knees are coming in when you do squats, then the pressure will be on the inside of your knee, which can cause it to get injured.

 

Using bad techniques while squatting can also cause your knees to get injured because you’ll be putting more weight on the front of your knee, which is harder to balance. When this happens, it’s easy for your knees to get injured because they become unstable.

 

Therefore, you must always warm up properly before doing squats and start with light weights (with an experienced trainer) to avoid injuries.

 

#4 - Your Legs May Get Tired More Easily

Squats can be a great leg exercise – but if you’re not used to doing them, the weight will tire your legs out quicker.

 

Therefore, many people decide to do deadlifts instead of squats because they won’t build muscle in different areas of the leg and may make your legs feel tired sooner.

 

4 Tips When Doing Squats and Deadlifts

So now that you know the difference between squats and deadlifts let’s look at some tips to help you decide which exercise is best for you.

 

#1 - Always Warm Up Properly

Before you start doing squats or deadlifts, you need to warm up properly because this will help your body get used to the movements, which reduces the risk of injury.

 

#2 - Learn The Techniques

If you’re a beginner, it’s crucial to learn all about good form before doing squats or deadlifts because the improper form can cause serious injury.

 

You need to make sure you’re not leaning forward when doing squats and your knees are in line with your feet when you do deadlifts (avoiding any rotation in the knee).

 

#3 - Always Choose the Right Weight

The safest option is always to choose the correct weight because using too much weight can risk injury.

 

If you don’t have any experience with deadlifts or squats, then it’s best to choose the lowest weight possible so that you can do them safely without injuring yourself.

 

#4 - Be Mindful of The Rep Range

Depending on what you’re training for, you should be mindful of the rep range that will benefit your goals.

 

If you want to gain muscle, you must choose a weight and do 8-12 reps correctly (with good form) – this will increase muscle mass and density and is best for building muscle quickly.

 

If you want to build strength, you should do squats and deadlifts with a lower number of reps (1-6) because this will stimulate muscle growth while increasing your bone density, which is excellent for strengthening the body reducing injury.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can deadlifts replace squats?

The fact that deadlifts can strengthen your grip and back muscles makes them a great exercise to do instead of squats. However, it’s important to remember that both exercises have different benefits, so you’ll get more out of your workout if you do both.

 

Is it better to squat or deadlift first?

It’s best to do the exercise that you find most difficult first, so for most people; this will be squats. However, some people may prefer to do deadlifts first because they can try squats with a lighter weight.

 

Is squat harder than deadlift?

Due to the difference in forms, it’s impossible to say that one exercise is more complex than another. Both exercises require a different technique which means they’re challenging in their unique way.

 

Final Thoughts

Although deadlifts and squats may seem like two exercises with many similarities, there are also some differences. It is important to know the benefits of each exercise to decide on which one you should do more often or not at all.

 

We hope this article has helped you learn the differences between squats and deadlifts.

 

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