If there are more popular lower body exercises, please let us know because we don’t know. The squat can be said to be the undisputed king of leg development, and this is for good reason. This is a cruel test of mental strength, and it causes many vomiting and fainting in almost every stadium around the world.
Related: How to squat properly
There’s no question that the deadlift reigns supreme for the ultimate full-body strength and muscle builder. It’s the only movement where you can lift the most amount of weight possible for both the upper and lower body.
Related: How to do a deadlift
Benefits of Squats and Deadlifts
We already know that these two exercises are very effective in developing muscle hypertrophy, strength and explosive power. They are so effective that for most people, there are no alternatives.
The reason these two actions are so effective is that you can load the barbell with some heavyweight. We all know that weight is the key to strength and size. We all know that the greater the resistance, the greater the pressure on the muscles, which leads to hypertrophy. Progressive overload makes us stronger because we have to adapt to the pressure on the muscles, bones and even the nervous system.
For most people, squats and deadlifts are almost the same. After all, they use almost the same muscle groups, and the effects of muscle growth and strength are excellent. For most people, the difference between them is just the position of the barbell. So, compared with squat and deadlift, what are the advantages and differences?
Benefits Of The Deadlift
- The prime mover for the deadlift are the spinal erectors (lower back) but the benefit of the deadlift is that it works so many other muscles too , including the forearms, traps, lats, hamstrings, quads, calves, glutes and core, so you get huge bang for your buck.
- There is a huge "carry over" from getting strong at the deadlift, meaning if you increase your strength on your deadlift, many other exercises will improve too.
- As so many muscles are involved in the lift, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to drop body-fat as it's extremely metabolically challenging, especially when you progress in weight with the lift.
Progressing your deadlift and getting strong in your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes & lower back) has a huge carry over into speed, making deadlifts an excellent choice for athletes too.
Benefits Of The Squat
- Squats are a large compound exercise, primary focusing on your quads, but there are huge inputs from your glutes, lower back, mid-back, hamstrings and calves to stabilisation during the lift.
- There are variations to the exercise to tweak the muscle focus e.g. front squats and high bar squats will focus more on your quads (due to more knee flexion) and then the low bar squat or box squat will be more hip dominant and target the glutes more.
- As you progress and build strength with the squat, you recruit a large number of motor units during the lift, placing a large amount of stress on the lower body and therefore causing a lot of potential growth.
Deadlift Vs Squat
First of all, squats and deadlifts are very classic exercises. The reason why these two exercises will become classics is that they are two exercises with very high efficiency, which are almost the only way for all bodybuilders.
The most essential difference between squat and deadlift is that the joints dominated by force are different. Comparing these two exercises, we will find that both squats and deadlifts are the flexion and extension of the hip and knee joints in a weight-bearing state, but the deadlifts are more dependent on the dominant force of the hip joints, while squats are performed on the knees. The joint is the dominant force exertion process, which is also the reason why squats are not good enough to hurt the knees, while deadlifts are not good enough to hurt the lumbar spine. The hip flexion and extension of the deadlift are much greater than the knee joint, while the squat is the opposite. In addition, a deadlift is to pull the barbell from the ground, which requires both lower limbs and upper limbs to actively exert strength, while the squat upper limbs are mostly passive weight-bearing.
In addition, the training effects of squats and deadlifts on each muscle group are not the same. As can be seen from the figure below, when squatting, the knee joints dominate the force, so the quadriceps will get the most adequate exercise first, while in the deadlift, the gluteus maximus and hamstrings are the most powerful. The main contraction area. This is the main difference between the two in exercising the thigh muscles.
For the exercise of core muscles, the effects of these two actions are very good. Although on the surface, these two actions do not directly stimulate the abdominal muscles like crunching or plank support, both actions will be used when exerting force. Unconsciously tighten the abdomen, and even tighten some deep muscles to generate internal tension to protect the internal organs. But if you want to make strict comparisons, deadlifts are better than squats for core exercises.
As for the calf, only squats can be practiced. When you carefully experience these two actions, you will find that the deadlift is mainly the heel, which will produce a tendency to lift the toes off the ground. Therefore, the deadlift cannot be exercised to the calf.
Another point that needs to be explained is that deadlifts have certain requirements for grip strength. The barbell deadlift first needs to rely on the strength of the upper limbs to "pull up" the load. Therefore, the handgrip, wrist joints, and elbow joints all have certain strength or stability requirements.
Finally, these two movements emphasize that the movements must be standard, especially when the weight is heavy, and it is not recommended to practice these two movements on the same day. If you want to practice the two movements within one day, they must be appropriate to Reduce the weight. For people with relatively weak knees or lumbar spine, you can choose between the two to put less burden on their weaker parts.