Negative Effects from Long Term Heavy Squats and Deadlifts?

I ask this because Stuart McGill has said that not everyone is built to be able to do these two exercises and that the lower back is designed for endurance and not strength. Would it be better to just stick with single leg versions for the general person who is lifting for health reasons?

Stuart McGill is entirely correct, and yes it probably would be much better in terms of your health to stick to single leg variations, but the problem is that single leg variations fucking suck balls so no one wants to do them.


I would also say single leg exercises can be detrimental when heavy loading is involved, Things can get sketchy very quickly

Could there be any negative effects from long term heavy squats and deadlifts?

Probably lel.

Would it be better… hmm. Depends how you define that I guess.

Some resistance training is recommended for long term health. This doesn’t mean squatting or deadlifting 600+ lbs. The general person who is lifting for health reasons can pretty much do some body weight stuff and do well enough health wise into their later years.

There’s your minimum effective dose, minimum risk and minimum adaption. If you are a fan of redundancy measures it might not be enough tho.

Squats and deadlifts may be contraindicated in some populations so like everything you gotta weigh up the risks/benefits. Without any evidence to the contrary e.g. history of back pain IMO it’s foolish to drop decent exercises for your goals in squats/deadlifts on the off chance you aren’t built for them.

Super rare people hurt themselves with the bar. Still rare people manage to fuck themselves up with 1 biscuit, 2 biscuits and even 3 biscuits and that’s more than strong enough for health purposes and a bit extra.


Negative Effects < Deadlifting 1000ibs like a god


Can’t really see a negative effect. Its strenuous and the risk of injury is probably higher depending on how hard you push.

Life is a high risk full contact sport that always ends in death.


McGill is pretty smart, so let’s not argue with him.

If your not built to do these 2 exercises, and you do them heavy, a lot, you could damage something.

But if you exercise through the range of motion you are “built for” you should be OK. You don’t need to squat 6 inches below parallel and blow up your hips. If you’re not going to enter a squat contest, you can squat a little high and get some Healthy muscles and not bang up your hips.

Or front squats to save your elbows or shoulders.

You could do Trap Bar deadlifts from just below your knees to maintain a Healthy hip hinge motion, without messing with your lower back.

There are lots of pieces of equipment like the Saftey Squat Bar or the Trap Bar that are designed to give you must of the benefits of Barbells without the Negative Effects.


It would be best for that person to understand that the only people who have to train the barbell back squat are competitive powerlifters, and even they don’t all have to train the conventional deadlift.

Everyone else, regardless of goal, can get by just fine and see results without doing those two specific exercises. Front squats, goblet squats, trap-bar deads, sumo deads, and semi-sumo deads are all very effective alternatives, in addition to single-leg work.

After hurtting myself and learning from mistakes…

I only do bodyweight, plate/goblet, and hack squats, never leg press w my hips above my shoulders, and dead lift always w knees bent.

Deadlifts w/o bending your knees is just effing off.

I’m not sure about that part, but I could be wrong. I know that he did say to train the lower back for endurance rather than strength or power, the idea is that more endurance will help you avoid flexion under load (which is the main cause of spinal injury). It is dangerous to train your back to generate torque, that is the main takeaway.

You don’t need to squat or deadlift if you aren’t going to compete in powerlifting, but there are plenty of other ways to hurt yourself too. You also don’t need to eliminate all spinal loading, that will lead to having a weak back. If you are just training for general health then make sure to use proper technique (as in not rounding your back) and there is no need for excessively heavy loading. I’m sure you would be fine doing sets in the range of 8-15 reps and staying short of failure. People hurt their backs picking up bags of groceries, you can’t avoid all possible risks unless you stop moving and that will kill you too.