T Nation

Why are they different???

I deadlift, I get DOMS in the posterior chain of muscles. I squat, and it’s my quads that get it most. But they’re essentially the same movement… Why do I get DOMS in different muscle groups with basically the same movement??? (i.e. deadlifts Vs squats) (And I tend to squat with a slightly wider than shoulder width stance.)

I think most would agree that deadlifts do not provide as much of a stimulus to the quads as do squats. I don’t think deadlifting alone would be a good quad workout whereas squats alone can be.

Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought, but I was wondering what the general mechanics of the movements were, and how they differed. My assumption is that it’s the different positioning of the weight that puts the emphasis on different muscle groups… [shrug]

Here’s my educated guess on the issue. When you squat, the weight’s back behind the knee, so there’s much more tension in the thighs to keep the body from falling backward. When you stand up out of a squat, your bringing the body/weight up and forward, which is one of the primary functions of the thigh muscles. When you deadlift, the weight is in front, so there’s more tension in the hips, ass, and hammys to keep the body from falling forward. Plus, deadlifting involves pulling the body/weight up and slightly back, a job better suited for your posterior chain. A better way to explain this might be to compare the deadlift and the barbell hack squat. Both are barbell lifts off the floor but they both hit different muscles. When you do a barbell hack squat, once again you’re standing up and forward, which hits the thighs. Deadlift, up and back to hit the posterior chain.

I think in addition to the bar position, the trunk position is also a major factor. The more upright the trunk, the more the quads are stressed relative to the posterior chain. This is one reason why trap-bar deadlifts hit the quads hard, while box squats with a significant forward lean really work the posterior chain.

The biggest difference, depending on your style, might be if you set the deadlift weight down or not. The greatest contribution to
DOMS typically comes from eccentric contraction. The eccentric forces at the bottom of a squat are going to be great, whereas the typical deadlift is much more concentric in nature. You have to actually stop the weight on the decent in the squat, while the floor does most of the stopping in the deadlift. That is assuming you use the floor.

It could be lack of quad flexibilty… It could be technique… You might have weak hamstrings for your squat while they are not to waek for the deadlift. It is easy to let the quads get into the movement with squats while it is not with the deads. Of course most squatters actually want their quads to do the work.