Hail to the Dinosaurs!
One of the great internet debates
is the classic "Which is better,
squats or deadlifts?"
It's been argued endlessly -- and
it will probably be argued forever.
I have a simple answer to the
"They're both good exercises. Do
The exception would be if you're
doing lots of cleans and snatches.
If that's the case, you're already
working your pulling muscles hard
and heavy, so there might not be
much to be gained from deadlifts.
But otherwise -- do deadlifts!
I prefer bent- legged deadlifts,
not stiff-legged deadlifts. And I
really like Trap Bar deadlifts.
I'll also note that deadlifts from
the knees -- performed in a power
rack or using lifting blocks --
can be a very effective strength
builder. Work them into your
program and see what happens.
On the squat front, some people
can't do squats because of previous
injuries or because they don't have
squat stands or a power rack. If
that's the case, you may have no
choice other than sticking to
deadlifts. But most people can
do squats -- and they SHOULD do
And by the way, when it comes to
squats, I prefer full squats.
When I was a kid, the conventional
wisdom said that full squats were
bad for the knees and the lower
back. Everyone said that -- including
men who had plenty of great training
advice, like Peary Rader, who always
advocated parallel squats.
Rader thought that full squats were
too hard on the lower back. But I
think he got that idea because he
came from the era where they squatted
barefoot or in shoes without heels.
If you squat flat-footed, your lower
back is going to round when you do a
full squat -- and that's going to be
awfully hard on your spine.
I wear Olympic lifting shoes with a
high heel, and the high heel helps me
maintain an upright position for both
back squats and front squats. So I do
full squats -- all the way down -- with
a flat back. For my money, that's the
way to do them.
Of course, you do them the right way.
No drop and bounce stuff. Make it an
exercise, not a parachute drop or a
And PLEASE -- if you've not done full
squats before, treat them as a NEW
exercise. Take the time to learn the
movement -- and to develop your
flexibility and mobility. Work
into them slowly and gradually.
I'll be training tonight, and I'll
hit some clean and jerk and some high
pulls -- and then I'll finish things
off with front squats.
Gotta do those squats. They're one of
the best things you can do.
So back to the question: "Squats or
Answer: "Do both!"
As always, thanks for reading and have
a great day. If you train today, make
it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. I have some great strength and bulk
programs in Chalk and Sweat -- and they
include plenty of squats and deadlifts.
Check them out:
P.S. 2. My other books and courses are
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "You can't
do everything, but you can do squats and
deadlifts." -- Brooks Kubik