Hail to the Dinosaurs!
One of the most popular questions
on the Internet is the ever popular
"which is better" question.
As in, "Which is better, squats or
It's a great way to drive traffic to
a forum or discussion board because
you get about a zillion answers.
Half of them are from guys who say
that squats are better -- and half of
them are from guys who say that
deadlifts are better.
And for some reason, people get all
worked up about this question. I've
actually seen people get mad at each
other because they disagree about it.
It's probably caused more flame
wars than the dragons on Game
of Thrones, and that's saying
Anyhow, here's my answer to the
aforementioned Riddle of the Ages.
And I'll probably make everyone
mad by saying it. So bear with me
and read the answer AND the
"It depends on whether you're a
squatter or a deadlifter."
Whoa! Stop! Put back the knives.
Listen to me for a second. Remember
what I said about reading the
People are built differently, and
that can make a big difference
in the exercises that work best
for them. What works best for
me may or may not work best
Some people are built for squatting.
The exercise feels natural to them,
and they're strong and powerful in
it. They lift with great confidence
when they do squats, they like the
feel of the movement, and it doesn't
cause any kind of problem for them.
In contrast, deadlifts may be a
much more difficult exercise for
them -- and may even be painful
or may cause nagging aches and
pains over time.
For these people -- people who are
squatters -- the squat is the better
Many famous Iron Game champions
have been squatters -- and these men
used the squat much more than they
used the deadlift. Examples include
such legends as:
1. Reg Park
2. John Grimek (although he liked
doing stiff legged deadlifts)
3. Paul Anderson
4. Doug Hepburn
5. Peary Rader
Other people are built differently. The
squat doesn't seem as comfortable for
them. It's not a natural movement.
They don't enjoy it. It may even cause
knee, hip, back or shoulder pain.
In contrast, deadlifts feel like the
most comfortable thing in the world.
They LOVE deadlifting -- and they
feel confident and strong when they
do deadlifts -- and deadlifts don't
cause them any kind of pain.
These people are deadlifters -- and for
them, the deadlift is the better of the
Bob Peoples is a great example of a
natural deadlifter. He pulled over 700
pounds back in the 1940s -- at a weight
of about 180 pounds.
John Terry, the York champion of the
1930's and early 1940's, was a deadlifter.
He pulled 600 pounds at a weight of 132
Now, this is NOT to say that squatters
should not do deadlifts -- or that dead-
lifters should not do squats.
It just means that some people do better
on one of the two movements than on
the other -- and that's something you
need to take into account when you
ask the infamous "which is better"
Of course, some people are extremely
strong in both exercises.
John Davis was a natural squatter, but he
could deadlift 705 pounds without any
training on the exercise -- at a bodyweight
of about 195 pounds.
Joe Hise and William Boone were famous for
their heavy, high rep squatting -- but each
man also deadlifted 700 pounds back in the
So instead of asking, "Which is better?" ask
yourself, "Which am I -- a squatter or a
After all, what matters is the most is what
works best for YOU!
Yours in strength,
P.S. Whichever category you fall into, heavy
leg and back work is the Royal Road to Muscle
and Might. For some great strength and mass
workouts featuring leg and back work, grab
a copy of Chalk and Sweat:
P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right
here at Dino Headquarters:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Hard work and
heavy iron is more than hard to beat -- it's
pretty much impossible to beat." -- Brooks