T Nation

Deads vs Squats

Hey guys. I know most people lift heavier in the squat than in the dead but I do a 500 pound dead and a sad 330 pound squat. What can you guys suggest as the cause of this imbalance and what kinda exercises can I do to correct this? Thanks for the advice.

I’m pretty much in the same boat, although the difference isn’t quite so large. I attribute it to my weak quads, mostly. The answer to correcting this ratio is simple: prioritize the squat!

Your not alone dude. I’ve been trying to fix that problem for years and no matter what I do my d/l goes up faster than my squat. I guess we are genetically stronger hip dominate lifters.

While Im not one to talk as I am in a similar situation I will say this.

Im not convinced most people can squat more than they deadlift especially at less than elite levels. I think at lower levels say up to a 5 or 600 deadlift/squat it is quite common for people to deadlift more than they squat. Ofcourse people in our situation are still out of the ordinary.

One major thing is likely to be squat form. I really doubt that my quads are as week as my squat would indicate. Maybe its the same with you.

Exercises to help develop technique etc would be box squats amongst other things. I will be rereading the westside articles on how to squat very soon. May worth a look in for you also

Exercises to develop the quads. Front squats, bulgarian squats (a squat with the rear leg elevated sitting on a bench), hack squats, are just a few that i will be trying.

best of luck if you have any success let me know what works.

It’s not an imbalance it’s common for most people to deadlift more than they squat. Powerlifters tend to carry a type of build that is more conducive to squatting success then deadlifting. Also the equipment used in powerlifting such as squat suits, groove briefs etc adds a lot more to the squat then the deadlift so the numbers are kind’ve misleading. If you have long lower legs, long arms, and a short torso you are simply built to deadlift and likely your deadlift will always be above your squat.

Doesn’t look to me like you have an imbalance. Back in the beginning days of powerlifting people looked for a ratio of BP to SQ to DL along the lines of 1:2:2 1/2 or something like that. I’m certain that C.T. or Big Dave has better data on that. But the point is that a DEAD that is bigger than your Squat is not a sign of an imbalance. There could be many reasons for this (physiological differences–limb length for example comes to mind.)

Do you use a spotter when you squat? I have noticed that many people lift without a spotter, which will keep you from pushing yourself in the squat. The dead requires no spotter so you can go as heavy as you like without worrying about dumping it.

Have you also recently changed/improved you form (going ass to the grass)? This will also lower your squat numbers, but they will eventually catch up.

A lot of really good suggestions. Kelly, I actually have very short legs and a long torso with short arms so I’m not sure what it is that I’m built for exactly? I don’t have a spotter when I squat. I have a couple training partners but they don’t spot. I usually just set up the pins in the rack just below my lowest point so if i fail i can just crash into the pins. One thing that I notice, is as soon as i start my decent, I don’t feel in control of the weight. I don’t feel like I’m stable under anything near 300. I’ve always blamed this on my legs because they are pretty skinny compared to my under body which is pretty big. Thanks for all the help!

i didnt catch what kind of squatting you do (although im thinking quad based)… you likely may need to gain weight to help with the squat, also you mention you dont feel stable under the bar… more lower back and abdominal work will likely help. if you in fact do quad squatting, then overhead squats may help.

Based on the ratios you provided, one who benches 300, would have to squat 600 and DL 750…are you sure these are right??? This seems way off…???

Gotta agree with Ike about prioritizing. There are tons of programs and strength techniques on t-mag geared to increase squat and quad strength. Not to mention other exercises to incorporate to increase strength in other parts of the quads. A favorite exercise of mine are Old Fashion Hack Squats.

“I usually just set up the pins in the rack just below my lowest point so if i fail i can just crash into the pins. One thing that I notice, is as soon as i start my decent, I don’t feel in control of the weight. I don’t feel like I’m stable under anything near 300.”

What I am thinking, is that mentally, you have not trained yourself to force the weight up. If you can't do it, simply let it "crash",instead of using what strength you have to force the weight up (with help from your spotter).Try using a spotter for a few weeks, and see what happens to your numbers.

YOu sound like you have a similar bodytype to me. Most powerlifters will have a similar or higher squat when compared to deadlift. This is because the wraps and suits give an advantage that you cannot get in the deadlift. WHen competing raw, my squat is below my deadlift.
But, you also need to work on your legs in general. Goodmornings, highbar (olympic) squats and all will help.

If you are focusing on quad strength for your squat you will never reach your true potential. I used to be a bodybuilder and I had very large quads but I could only squat 425lbs at a bodyweight of 186 lbs.


Now that I have switched to a modified westside routine (and given up bodybuilding ) I just made a new personal record of 525lbs at the gym today (and I have no doubt that I will be good for at least 540 at my meet next week) and guess what I now weigh 171lbs and my quads have shrunk to half the size they used to be. However my hamstrings and spinal erectors are much larger than they used to be. Let this be a lesson to all you quad squatters in search of big numbers.

reddKdawg et al…not sure about the ratios…trying to find out now…will post when I find them…again, they were from the old days of powerlifting. It may have been 1 to 1 1/2 to 2 for bp, sq, dl…I’ll tell you all when I get it. And I’ll source it. I’m no expert, just sharing info.

Yea I’d be interested in those…thanks

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