T Nation

deadlifts as main leg exercise

What would be the costs/benefits of making deadlifts my main leg exercise as opposed to squats. I am quite tall (6-4) and find that I can lift much more on deadlifts than on squats. My main aims are to increase my power snatch and power clean and jerk and to sprint faster.

Deads are a wonderful choice. I did bring back squats into my routine, but I am doing them deeper and slower, squeezing out each rep and maintaining teh most upright position I can.

I would think that it would have the same cost as prioritizing any other bodypart at the expense of its opposite.

But I hear you. Howabout this? Instead of just doing deads, maybe you should do stiff-legged deads and dumbell squats? That way your hitting both sides without really having to sacrifice weight.

I might be naming them wrong. To me, dumbell squats are when you place dumbell on either side of your feet, squat down (ass-to-grass) and pick them up. I guess it’s a lot closer to a deadlift, except your form very much is like a squat (except the weight is at your hips instead of your shoulders). I am not as strong with these as I am with squats, and I need to use plates under my heels to do them properly, but they really help with quad strength. And I know they helped with my snatches!

The cost would be that you could not do just Conventional Deadlifts and hope to achieve anywhere near optimal gains in quadriceps size as is possible with Back Squats. If that’s a goal of yours, you have to couple Deadlifts with at least one quad-dominant movement like lunges or leg presses. That’s the only disadvantage as far as I’m concerned. The general real-life and athletic applications of the Deadlift are greater. And in the case of your specific goals, Deadlifting can help increase your Snatch, C&J, and sprinting times.

cheers! I am more interested in atheltic goals than quad size. So I think I will make clean grip and snatch grip deadifts the staple of my program.

Try doing trap bar DLs, or throw in some hack squats, with a bar not the machine. I use both squats and DLs, full back squats are a great lift for athletic performance.

A cool hybrid that taxes delts and bis is to hold the DB’s up, like in the top of a curl position close to the shoulders. It’s basically a front squat with DB’s, but there’s more emphasis on the upper body. You usually can’t go as heavy as conventionally executing it. Choosing to try it depends what your goals are, but it’s another option.

Your easiest increases will likely come by working an area that you are weak in which helps to bring the body back into balance. Due to your height you’re probably never going to have a squat that matches your deadlift but by focusing on quadriceps dominant exercises for a period of time you will likely show better results than by focusing on something yu’re already good at (deadlifts). I would say give the squats and other quad dominant exercises a priority for a while. Also try lunges, hack squats etc and make sure you keep practicing your 0-lifts

Thank you all for your help. I use deadlifts as my main strength exercise. I also do a few light power clean/front squat and power snatch/overhead squat (very light!) complexes for the quads.

One more thing what do people think of the 5/4/3/2/1 rep scheme (increase weight on each rep) if my main aim is strength and power not size.

What sport are you training for if training for something specific it changes the protcol on what if this is the primary source for power and strength. If you are not DL are great for what you are trying to acomplish. If your goal is to increase your snatch and clean and jerk your DL is a good choice for a main leg workout. You should also include Box Jumps and Push press (for your upper body).

5/4/3/2/1 is fine. I use it sometimes and it works great. Just be sure to be conservative in your 5/4/3 so you’ll have so gas left for the 2 and 1.


Louis-Philippe de S?ve-Bergeron thank you for your reply. So the 5/4/3/2 should not be rep maximum (RM) only the 1 should be a 1RM. Are 5kg jumps too much? Is S?ve-Bergeron a town? and if so where is it?

Using 5/4/3/2/1 I pulled 135kg (297lb) today. I will rest up for a few days and then try 140kg and next week I will try 145kg (that will be the barbell (20kg), stoppers (2*2.5kg) and three 20kg (45lb) plates on each side).

if your main goal is to icrease your power clean/snatch, then you need to concentrate on those excercises. You can work on the various parts of those complex excercises. If you want to work the quads, try the barbell hack squats. You hold the bar behind you instead of in front of you. You will not be able to do as much weight since you are not using your lower back as much. Sprinting takes practice as with any other athletic event and you will find that the muscle stimulation of real sprinting is much differnt then any weight excercise. laters pk

I could not wait. I went back to the gym tonight. 5/4/3/2/1/1 starting from 120kg for 5 reps adding 5kg each set 140kg for a single and then 145kg for a single bent-knee deadlift.