T Nation

How to Alternate Deadlift and Squat


After running various forms of 5/3/1 for several years, I’ve been trying some different programs. Right now I am using DeFranco’s Washed Up Meathead routine - 3 days a week, upper body on Mon and Fri, and lower body on Weds. The lower body day allows for the choice of max effort squats or deadlifts. I am on week 5, and have been deadlifting. I am 46 next month, and the 3 day routine fits best with work schedule and my recovery.

What would be the best way for me to maintain/progress both the squat and the deadlift using this program? Should I run the deadlift 8-12 weeks, then switch to squat for 8-12 weeks? Or should I alternate each week to week? Or is there a better way?


Alternate…week to week.


Would you do the same with WS4SB?


Thanks bulldog. Appreciate the advice.


Not familiar with that program. Skinny bastards right? Wish I had that problem…


Sounds like its laid out similar to the program you mentioned.


nope … you can follow a more standard Max effort rotation approach. Its been awhile but i believe Defranco suggest 2-3 weeks and rotate. I dont think people get that he has 3 versions of it and they overlook its geared towards athletes


I squat at least heavy once a week on 531 and often 5x10 on another day. Deadlift, depending on how I feel, can be heavy once a week as well, or every other week. Personally I think the 5x5 of deadlift is too much. I could squat every day of the week and not be overwhelmed by it. But deadlift is a different beast–too much on my CNS.

I switch back and forth between 531 and an Anthony Ditillo program. With the Ditillo program, I can do heavy weight with squat and deadlift in the same week. Low reps and high weights work best for me and then add something like jump rope or punching bag at the end.


The funny thing, Tank, is that I am opposite of you. Might be because of leverages (I have short torso/long limbs), but the deadlift feels great, while squatting takes a lot out of me. I am much more sore after squatting. Since I’m only going to do one or the other heavy each week, based on the program I am running now, I think I’ll alternate each week to week as Bulldog recommended.


When I dead lift, I feel more pressure on my bones and straining on my muscles, but when I finish I go on to the next exercise. When I squat, I get a lot more winded and it can suck the juice out of me for the next exercises.


Then do what works for you. I mean I can deadlift or squat at 90-95% of my 1RM a rep or two all day long if I have a minute to breath. Change it to 5x5 even at 70-75% and I’ll die. Guess it all lies in the fast or switch twitch muscle fibers and your make up.


I would suggest doing both each Weds
I’d go max effort squats one week followed by a few sets of 60-70% intensity on deadlifts and vice versa the opposite weeks
Even better I would consider tagging less intensity squats or deadlifts on the Mon or Fri
I personally don’t like going too long between squat and deadlift sessions
I’m new here and don’t want to advise out of place. Just a suggestion.
I have a hard time comprehending how one could overload only hitting an exercise two weeks apart
If you don’t want to veer too far away from how the program is laid out I might consider focusing on only progressing one movement
Hopefully you keep us informed how it goes