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Squats vs. Deadlifts

How do you rate the relative importance of Squats vs. Deadlifts, in terms of physiological development, and hypertrophy potential?

My thought process on this has been influenced by the knowledge I’ve absorbed through online readings, and I wonder if it should be challenged: Squats are superior, and should be done more frequently. Yea or nay? For a long time, I’ve been doing Squats on Mon & Fri, and Deads on Wed. Would it be better to instead do A and B weeks, alternating doing each an equal amount, 2x one week and 1x the next? I’ve been doing this for a while already with Bench and OHP. Your opinions please?

For the life of me I won’t ever understand why so many guys marry the deadlift, when they don’t compete in powerlifting.

If we’re talking hypertrophy here, it’s really a substandard lift and guys get all bent out of shape when I say/write that, but it’s true. It’s devoid of a controlled or highly expressed eccentric, which means it offers less potential for growth. It’s one of the most taxing lifts to do systemically, so it zaps recovery. It has a wide area of load distribution, meaning the legs take the brunt in the first phase (off the floor) then the tension is transferred mostly to the thoracic extensors, which are only functioning in an isometric way.

Below the knee rack/block pulls are TONS better for upperback development. By a mile.

So if we’re talking lower body hypertrophy the squats beats the deadlift like a red headed step child.


I do these with a snatch grip (not super wide). Is that counter productive given the above issues?

Not to derail, but what are your opinions on squat variations? back squat gets touted as the end-all-be all sometimes, but for non powerlifters, is the juice really worth the squeeze compared to to other variations such as front or zercher squats?

Awesomely detailed answer! THANKS Paul!

Would Pendlay Rows actually offer better back development?

not if they are done right below the knee

It depends. What are you using them for and what is your technique like? I literally don’t see a single use or need for a Zercher squat EVER. The reason I don’t do Zercher squats is because I’m not in prison. In other words, I have a squat rack and other squat machines to use. Strongmen find them useful but outside of that I don’t get it. Just no need.


I personally train primarily for strongman, & am dabbling in Jui jitsu, but am currently taking an extended offseason to work on some weaknesses. (though I still don’t care for zerchers, last time they wrecked my lower back for a week).

Sorry, I should have been more specific with my question. I mean for the general non-competitive gym rat, does it really matter what variation one uses in terms of general strength & size?

The one they enjoy the most and can execute with the best technical proficiency. That’s always go to for figuring those things out.


Gracias sir!

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I will never not giggle at this, no matter how many times I see it.


So, as I’ve said I’m a noob…so deadlifts “aren’t” essential for growth and explosiveness? I’ve never liked them maybe that’s why it’s called a deadlift…What’s really been helping me is I’ve been doing jump squats with 7.5 lb big ass ankle weights on each leg til failure and rest 2minutes and do it again at the end of a leg day or full body if I don’t plan on doing any high impact cardio. Still don’t have doms the next or the next day…but I’ve noticed it has made my converse much more appealing than my heels.

I just find it adds a nice “closure”after I’ve done my compound and isolation lifts. I’m tired and pushing my self high and squatting down low just seems to complete my workout.

What do you recommend for heavy, quad dominant exercises instead of Zerchers?

Virtually anything? Zerchers are a really sub-standard movement if we’re talking quad work. Leg press, high bar squats, front squats, etc are all better substitutes.

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