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Do Squats and Deadlifts Work for You?


Everybody knows that since the dawn of time that squats and deadlift are the staples of any good training program and yes many folks have built great legs using these movement but do they work for you?

i have started this thread simply becuase as you can see I'm beginning to question these exercises. Currently like many I'm doing 5/3/1 I squat regularly usually 2x a week front and back 5x10-12 ramping up the weight each set.
with deadlifts the voulme currently is alot lower I basically do the 3 heavy sets and thats it. I have been doing it like this for the last 3 months but before that i did more volume until my back start playing up.

currently my thighs are about 26" they have been like that for i would say a good year+. some how my calves have gained 2" and i never ever work them directly. my glutes are bigger too.

I have gained 30 pounds this year none of it has make to my quads or hams.

I haven't been training legs all my training carrer but for the last 4yrs I have put alot of work in.

so am I alone here ?


Squats do shit for me. I'm kinda lanky though. I think more compact guys can utilize squat variations better. Deads work for me though.


Nope. I can squat fine but it only hits my glutes and hammies, without hardly any quad activation whatsoever.

Deadlifts go well for a while, but I inevitably end up with a lower back issue of some kind when I stick to them consistently.


For me, Back Squats are kinda hit or miss. The front squat is sick though. Deadlifts light me up all over.


Back squats have given me a respectable set of quads and deadlifts have given me very good hamstrings and a strong upper back. Neither has brought my spinal erectors up to anything impressive though :frowning:

I've also noticed a synergistic effect from back squats, in that if my back squat is moving up, so is everything else.


As far as pure muscle building is concerned, squats don't do much for my quads. Deadlifts basically build everything on the back side of my body from my traps down to my knees. It has a lot to do with body type though, and I'm certainly built for deadlifts. I've seen plenty of people with shorter relative limb lengths that swear by squats for leg development.

I still squat often and I squat heavy, but that is simply for performance purposes. If I was to pursue bodybuilding and nothing else, I probably wouldn't do them though.


its pretty much the same for me interms of quad activation they get pumped but that by like the 40th squat and by then my glutes are so tight that my range of motion is limited


performance wises deads have helped a lot but physique wise i seem to be missing a few pounds of upper back beef that deadlifting is suppose to bring, in fact my traps look smaller these days

apart from these to movements whats the bread and butter of your leg training?


Yes to both.


Front squats, RDL, good mornings, GHR, split squats, lunges, and a multitude of plyos/sprints. When training my legs, all I care about is strength/speed so numbers is the name of the game. I'm not stepping on a bodybuilding stage anytime soon, so I don't care too much about my quad size. As long as they're strong enough to lift the kind of weights I want to lift, that's all that matters. I suppose if I did decide to focus on quad hypertrophy, I would probably start off by incorporating leg presses and leg extensions.

For upper body I do care about aesthetics, so I use more of a bodybuilding style of training.


Oh, and about the deadlift building mass in the upper back, I think that is purely a function of body type. Someone with long arms (like me) is going to have the movement be more like a rack pull than someone with shorter arms. Long arms mean the limiting factor of the lift is usually the lockout, while shorter arms mean the lower part of the lift is toughest. This will usually influence where mass gets built.


It took some trial-and-error but eventually I learned that trap bar deads, front squats and DB split squats work best for my frame, levers etc

More generally, I'd say that any exercise that allows one to go hard and heavy without getting hurt will definitely "work" for that person


My ass, erectors and Hammies are all decent from Deads. Deads really gave me a lot of the foundation of the size I do have. But I'm built for them, and also stopped focusing on them for various reasons.

High rep squats made my legs grow faster than anything. I'm just burnt the fuck out on 20 reppers for now, and more concerned with figuring out bodyparts I haven't found such a good cure for at this point.


x2 high rep or dropset squats are serious leg builders and absolutely brutal. Close stance squats and leg presses are also effective for quad growth. As far as deads go i feel that they have only added mass to the upper back and ass for me personally, but those are also two very noticeable places.


x3 on the high reps/drop sets

The one thing I would emphasize is to make sure you are doing the exercises properly. Too many ppl are in a rush to start throwing plates on the bar, and the only result is a shallower squat or rounded back.


I would say yes as I have some leg definition now but I got that a while ago, and lately my legs have not seem to be growing much. I'm going to keep at it though and add in sled work and see if that does it for me. I'm also on the HP mass program now so hopefully squatting or deadlifting 4-5 days per week will make them grow.


I'm a shorter fella and squats seems to work better for me. I've tried various leg press machines from different manufacturers and the only one I really feel somewhat comfortable on are by Cybex and Hoist. But I never really feel as if I get proper leg/foot positioning on lege press machines. As for me, I prefer an ATG(ass to ground) front squat as opposed to an atg back squat.

Deads work for me as well, but I don't really feel it much in my glutes or hams much - maybe it's because of my height, I'm around 5-6. What it really hammers is my upper back and traps, rhomboids etc.


Out of curiousity what's your height (obviously torso/leg length comes into play also), but I find front squats work great personally. Although I haven't given trap bar deads a fair chance, but I do find it's easier to go heavier while keeping my back tight and not hyperextending.

I'm 5'10.5 and currently ~198 lbs--my pant length is 30 inches which might be less than most? I think I'm symmetrical overall.


Love squatting and deadlifting, all variations. I'm 5'7"-5'8", which is somewhat relevant.

But hey...do what allows you to get consistently stronger without undue joint pain.


I second that.