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Squat VS Deadlift

I’ve always found that I can squat (wide stance, toes forward) much more than I can deadlift (narrow stance, toes forward). My best 5x5 squat set was done with 335lb, whereas my best deadlift set was 5x5 with 225lb.

I’ve seen some posts lately on the topic of muscular imbalances. I am contemplating as to what I should do:

1–FREEZE my squat weight at 335lb and slowly work up my deadlift.

2–LOWER my squat to 225lb and work it up simultaneously with my deadlift. (ie. I would deadlift/squat 225lb, and once I worked up my deadlift to 235lb, I would deadlift/squat 235lb)

3–Keep doing what I’m doing, which is doing both exercises independently of each other.

I’m leaning towards #2. Just interested if anyone else thinks this is a good idea, or if I’m possibly overlooking something.

I’m curious… what can you squat with an Olympic/narrow(er) stance?

I’d fix your deadlift technique. Drop your rear lower before the initial drive, keep the bar against the shins and the back arched. If you still have problems, take a break from deads. Do good mornings instead.


#3, but place shift emphasis from squats to deads via a change in volume. Also, make sure that deads are trained following a rest day.

The good mornings are an excellent recommendation as well. I would also include some grip and neck work.

I would stop training like youve been training and start training westside. if your really care about strength there is no better way.

Don’t forget the role that body type plays in this. Taller ectomorphs will typically perform better in the deadlift, while shorter endomorphs will typically perform better in the squat.


People have misconception about Westside do to the fact that all the guys that train at westside are elite powerlifters. People think just because most of the guys at Westside arn’t lean that you can’t train that way to get hypertrophy and a great build.
I think you can build a much better build using Westside methods over bodybuilding type stuff. However slight modification of volume may be in order.
Also extra workouts would have to be used to hit things like biceps and calves.

Take Goldberg for example he is by no means a bodybuilder but he looks powerful, he looks like he lifts big.
All that is done without dieting. Imagine if he followed a t-dawg type diet or one of JB plans.

So start reading up on the Westside becuase there is NOTHING like it!

If you have any q’s you can PM me

Good luck

Just a thought:

Try deadlifting with a wide stance as well and see what your poundage is. Could be that it’s a bit lower than you’d like it to be simply because you’re dling with a narrow stance and you have a bigger ROM that way.

Other thought is to go GMs, maybe take a stint in Westside training to up your strength.

Good suggestions above as well.

Hope this helps

I have been using C.S. Sloan’s Frequent and Furious program, similar in some ways to Westside, and I have seen decent strength gains so far. My advice is to prioritize the weakness, find your weak points, address them and work from there. Every 2-3 weeks I videotape my deadlift and squat to see what it looks like. Doing this has helped me see any weak spots and areas of poor technique. I attribute much of my strength gains not only to the program I lift with, but the way I lift. I am relatively new to the weight game so who knows, maybe I am wrong. But it has worked so far. But those are just my suggestions.
Best of Luck,

Wow. that was a great compliment. If you ever watch any of the westside tapes you will see that those guys are huge. Most of the guys compete in the heavier weight classes. If you get a chance, check out mike ruggerias legs. they show him in the reactive methods video. he is the newest member to squat 1000 and his legs are unbelievable.

It’s funny, I have a completely opposite problem: I can squat only about 225 (full) yet my deadlift is around 385 (conventional), and I am 5’8"…go figure

3:16 : I agree, Westside is AMAZING. I have only done it for 4 days a week though, with no supplementary exercises on the other days but my strength still exploded.

I think Knight probably hit it on the head here. Training any sort of style isn’t going to help if your form is piss-poor. There’s a lot more to the DL than just grip and haul!

Your staggering imbalance between DL and SQ maxes cries out a lack of technique, and probably muscular imbalances directly related to this.

I would bet that with a couple of coaching sessions/help from an expert, your DL would surge upwards. Now…your task is to FIND a good DL’er to pester fo help! Good luck, SRS

Thank you all for your responses.

Indeed, I think it’s Ike who hit the nail on the head. Admittedly, when i do narrow squats, i can only squat about 5x285 (approx). I also find that when I do wide-stance deads (sumo deads), I can do 5x225 very easily, whereas narrow-stance deadlifts are difficult to do even 5x225.

I guess it was foolish to assume that I should have the same weights when my techniques are completely different! I’m sure new I could sumo squat up to 335lb (if my hands could handle it that is) within a few weeks. Hmm. Something to consider.

I decided to check out this Westside stuff everyone keeps pushing me to try. I always found that I like power-lifts and olympic lifts a lot more than body-building lifts. That’s why the only program I’ve had lots of success with was 5x5.

are you doing full squats or half squats? Start doing full squats to build your hams and glutes. Do you have very week upper back, traps, forearms, in which you can’t handle (stabilize) the weight of the bar. I would suggest olympic lifts and more deadlifts for that. My full squat is much less then my regular deadlift which is what it should be and what is the norm with any power athletes. I read somewhere that olympic lifters have a back squat in the 120%-140% of their clean and jerk. that is tremendous. laters pk

I’ll provide some more details. Since I squat wide with toes pointing straight, it’s obviously impossible for me to go below parallel. So I go parallel. (Power-lifting style)

As for the olympic exercises, my lifts are as follows:

Power Cleans:
1RM = 173lb (approx. my bodyweight)
5RM = 148lb

5RM = 133lb

don’t really know

I do olympic lifts 3 times a week, which is how often I work out. On one day, I do Push-Presses, on another Clean&Press, and on the third Power Cleans. All sets are done in a 5x5 manner.

pkradgreek, thanks for your input. I’m actually going to go ahead and listen to you, and start middle-stance squats, toes pointed out slightly to allow me to go below parallel.

good luck, it will take some getting used to, but you will adjust and improve quickly. I’ve been dieting for the hot-rox challenge so i have not had a chance to increase strength levels by any appreciable levels. I can’t wait to go on a power/bulking cycle. laters pk

I’m the opposite, too. I’m a real short guy, but can dead more than I can squat. But, my thighs are quite big for my size. I can leg press a lot, so I think I may have some weak trunk muscles that limit my squat.

If sumo deads are very easy compared to narrow stance deads, you’re probably too strong in the medial rotators of the knee: semimembranosus, semitendinosus, sartorius, and gracilis (and likely the adductors, especially adductor magnus, which is also a hip extensor). In other words, your biceps femoris (the lateral rotator of the knee) is probably weak. A good test for this is to perform a set of leg curls to failure. Have someone watch your feet; your toes will point inwards if you are weak in the biceps femoris. You can begin to remedy this by pointing the toes outward on leg curls (and to a lesser extent, deads).