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Deadlift + ? = Lower Body Workout

I’m having trouble discerning how to structure my strength workout with regards to the lower body. Even after reading many of the deadlifting articles on T-Nation, I am still confused about it.

I initially thought that deadlift was a hamstring and lower back dominant exercise. Then I read somewhere else that it’s listed under quad dominant. Personally, I only ever feel it in my lower back. My fiancee feels it in her quads.

I have always understood that deadlift was a hip-dominant exercise and to supplement it, I should use a quad-dominant exercise. Now it sounds like deadlift is supposed to primarily work the quads. As you can see, I am very confused.

I tried sumo deadlifts as well. Those I felt in my glutes and my lower back but nothing in my hamstrings or quads either.

So, what does standard deadlift work and what compound exercise can I use to complete my lower body workout on my second training day?

As a side note, I work out at home and don’t have a squat rack so those aren’t really a good option for me.

Thanks!

deadlifts and squats, that’s the ticket

Have you tried hack squats? zercher squats? overhead squats? Very quad intensive. Do you own an Olympic bench?

You’re right, deadlifts are hip-dominant.

Deadlifts will work quads and hams just like any other lower body exercise, however, it will work hamstrings 100% and quads 50%. A good complementary exercise would be front squats or low step ups. Do a power clean to get the bar in position and then do reps. For step ups, the higher the step, the more hamstring involvement. For quad involvement try about 8" high. Of course you still have to get a barbell on your shoulders but it will be a lighter one. It should be easy enough to clean and press a suitable weight onto your back.

Stu

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
deadlifts and squats, that’s the ticket

Have you tried hack squats? zercher squats? overhead squats? Very quad intensive. Do you own an Olympic bench?[/quote]

Hack squats wouldn’t be an option as I don’t have that type of machinery available but the Zercher squat is a good possibility.

So I understand from your post that deadlift is in fact a hamstring dominant exercise. Any thoughts on how it is that my fiancee feels it in her quads more than anything?

I’m not sure if there is a difference between an Olympic bench and a regular bench but according to the pictures on google, yes, I own an Olympic bench. =)

[quote]puppyavenger wrote:
So I understand from your post that deadlift is in fact a hamstring dominant exercise. Any thoughts on how it is that my fiancee feels it in her quads more than anything?
[/quote]

Yes, it primarily works the posterior chain, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Your quads do get worked to, but they will never be worked to their max.

Your fiancee likely isn’t doing the movement correctly. I would bet she is dropping her hips way too low and squatting the weight up. I’d also bet she;s doing too many reps with light weight, as she would be unable to squat up a heavy weight, and with light weight and low reps she wouldn’t work her quads enough to really feel it.

good complimentary exercises are front squats, lunges, split squats, or step ups. These are more quad dominant, but still use the p-chain quite a bit.

If she feels it in her quads, she’s probably trying to squat the bar up. This is a problem, as the deadlift is not simply a squat with the bar in the hands. Her hips should be above parallel, in a “half-squat” position, with the bar in line with her scapula before starting the pull. If the hips are too low, with the bar in front of the scapula, you’ll end up using your quads and far less weight than could be handled.

[quote]puppyavenger wrote:

Hack squats wouldn’t be an option as I don’t have that type of machinery available but the Zercher squat is a good possibility.
[/quote]

Hack squats can be done with a bar.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBHackSquat.html

Thank you all for your prompt responses. Everything is clear now and I know what to do. Happy training.

[quote] wrote: Hack squats can be done with a bar.
[/quote]

Oooh. Okay. I’ll try that one too.

[quote]CthruPants wrote:
puppyavenger wrote:

Hack squats wouldn’t be an option as I don’t have that type of machinery available but the Zercher squat is a good possibility.

Hack squats can be done with a bar.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/BBHackSquat.html

[/quote]

Thanks, that’s the one I was referring to. Not the machine.

[quote]puppyavenger wrote:
TheDudeAbides wrote:
I’m not sure if there is a difference between an Olympic bench and a regular bench but according to the pictures on google, yes, I own an Olympic bench. =)[/quote]

The reason I ask, is that you can do front squats off an Olympic bench. Fully extend the supports, enter from the back of the bench. Voila! I’ve been doing these for two months now. Wonderful exercise. Much easier than doing hack squats. I’ve noticed when doing hacks that the bar catches on my hamstrings or scrapes my calves. Not enjoyable.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
I’ve noticed when doing hacks that the bar catches on my hamstrings or scrapes my calves. Not enjoyable.[/quote]

Just another form of hair removal. And its free.

I don’t have that much on my legs already. Hey, can I count that as weight lost?

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
I don’t have that much on my legs already. Hey, can I count that as weight lost?[/quote]

If you have a scale accurate to micrograms…you bet your ass you can.