T Nation

Why Are Squat/Bench Together and Deadlift/Press Together?


I often ask myself why are the lifts usually combined this way?

Bench Press


Is there a logic behind this combination? Would it make a program less effective if they were combined differently (Squat+Press, Deadlift+Bench Press)?



Jim wrote something on this forum about how it just worked out that way due to the trainkng space he had and that it didn’t really make a difference.


I’ve found it easier to press after DL than to bench. Maybe just me, but my back is tired enough after DL that lying down on a bench and arching any part of my back sucks.


Yeah, it really doesn’t matter. I’d do whichever you feel allows you to perform the best. I personally bench before I squat and press before I deadlift. When I do the lower body lifts first (especially deadlift before press), it sometimes effects my upper body lifts. Doing the opposite has zero effect on the lower body lifts for me personally. Just do whatever works best for you.


I actually like doing it the reverse way i.e. Press then Squat and Bench then Deadlift. For me it helps with setup and time: I do my pressing sets then go right into my squats since the bar is at the same height, then take the bar out and do pull-ups. Likewise I do my bench sets, then drop the bar to the floor and do my deadlift sets, then take weight off and do rows. Simple and time effective since my last set of press/bench makes a good warmup starting point for squat/deadlift.


It probably doesn’t matter too much but here are a few small reasons I can think of. Some of these are just regarding the pairings, others are for the order of each day.

  • Powerlifting is squat then bench, so that order makes sense
  • Squat and bench have more frequency so you might have 2 days of squat/bench and 1 of DL/OHP
  • Heavier lifts drain more energy, so pairing the heaviest DL with the lightest OHP balances out better
  • Lower body lifts are the heaviest, which is why they are done first. Even on single lift days you start with the heaviest movement first, which is usually 1 of the 3 powerlifing lifts.
  • As someone else said, DL hits your back which negatively effects bench more than OHP


It doesn’t matter - this has been addressed in the book numerous times.