Research on Squat vs. Deadlift

Create: 05/30/2010 - 17:25
TITLE: Research on squat vs. deadlift
There’s a great new study out that looked at the similarities and differences between the squat and deadlift. This study basically addresses what the similarities and differences might mean in terms of your training. Though this research review appears in our current issue, the Journal of Pure Power (JOPP) wanted to share it with the readers of Powerlifting Watch for free so that you may see what was done and discuss it right here in this news piece. Download Squat Vs. Deadlift Dan Wagman, Ph.D., C.S.C.S. Publisher/Editor in Chief Body Intellect Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium “Propel Yourself Into Excellence”


Submitted by gregoryprince on
Gregory Prince This is an excellent article. It seems the lifters from 30 years ago had it right: If you want a better bench then bench; if you want a better dead then do deads; and if you want a better squat then squat. Nice to have the science to back up methodology.

Submitted by Ken Ufford on
I am no scientist or anything but I knew 30 years ago that they were different.There are so many guys that are great squatters but average pullers and then so many guys that are built to pull but not squat. If the two lifts were that close they would be great at both. I do think however if you pull hard you use muscles that need rest before you squat hard. So they are similar in that you need recovery from each to train the other. I think some of this stuff we should not over think. I like the old KISS Principal. Just keep it simple. I know for me I have always like to pull not always heavy but still do some type of pullining. I have however known some great pullers that did not pull all the time but instead did other things like Goodmornings, safety bar squats and other stuff that worked well. I guess to me it is just common sense what the article is saying. Ken Ufford

Submitted by chris mason on
WWW.ATLARGENUTRITION.COM Actually, that research is HORRIBLE... Lol, first, it is obvious to any person above moron IQ that the movements are quite different. Duh??? The fact that the movements are quite different does NOT dictate it is ok to perform both movements heavily in one's routine at the same time. There can be a HUGE crossover effect, for example, for those who might be defined at 'back squatters'. I just happen to be one. When I squat heavily I use a lot of lower back. Thus squatting heavily and deadlifting heavily in the same week is something my lower back can only tolerate for a few weeks at a time. This study fails to take into account individual anatomy and form technique which can have one movement heavily affect the other. A better study protocol might have checked relative work performed by the erector spinae with each movement or something of the like (also focusing on relative technique of the lifters). Oh, and I love how the author(s) try to diminish the viewpoint of experienced lifters by saying they just don't understand 'science'. Chris

Submitted by PCGremlin on
Kinematic analysis of the powerlifting style squat and the conventional deadlift during competition: is there a cross-over effect between lifts? I can't infer if the research was sound or not since I do not have access to Hale's full publication nor am I schooled kinesiology. I doubt Chris read it either. I am not talking about the review linked above, but the paper that was being reviewed. As far as I can tell from the abstract, the researchers took into account the differences between lifters by performing what is known as a paired t test for each individual. Furthermore, the differences in sticking point at thigh angle and trunk angle for each lift differ by enough according to the error bars ( > 2 sigma) to conclude with high confidence that these movements are fundamentally different--muscle groups are working together differently which is where the segmental and simultaneous bit probably comes in from the linked review...Many at this point are saying, "I already knew that". it is backed up by a quantitative study. Now what needs to be said concerning crossover is that there is no DIRECT or SPECIFIC crossover effect...which I'm lead to believe means at no time in the squat or deadlift movement are the muscle groups behaving the same as a unified whole. Above is all that the study concluded from what I could tell in the abstract...Not anything more. It didn't go into how often you should work out each lift or anything like that. I agree with Chris on the part about a cross over effect, but it is an INDIRECT one. By indirect, I mean that if you strengthen individual muscle groups you will probably get a positive effect regardless of movement. I would hypothesize that working squats would probably lead to an increase in the deadlift for many lifters since it will strengthen key muscles involved in each lift. The movements may be different fundamentally, but the individual muscle groups that are involved in those lifts are nearly the same. Lastly, since similar muscles are worked in the movements, you will still suffer from CNS fatigue, microfibrial tears, etc. The muscle still contracted and it still will feel the effects of that contraction, regardless of movement, on the cellular level. So if your erector spinae is sore from squatting, your deadlift will suffer because that individual muscle just isn't operating at full capacity. Word of advice when reading science articles for PhDs, MS, BA and BS, and high school graduates and dropouts the like: Don't conclude more than the researchers actually conclude. Back to the gym I go.

Submitted by Tim Henriques on
This article was interesting but they took the data and then formed some very erroneous conclusions. Their conclusion was that "no direct or specific crossover effect occurs between the squat and the deadlift". This statement is ridiculous. How many people have noticed that it is much tougher to deadlift after you squat? And if you do a super hard squat workout doing a super tough deadlift workout is challenging. How many people enjoy deadlifting heavy the day after squats or vice versa? Everyone knows you either squat and deadlift on the same day or you spread them out so you can get some rest. If there was truly no crossover effect then these issues would not matter. Their initial point was that you can't substitute a deadlift for a squat. This is correct. It also isn't a great substitute to do the squat for a deadlift although that will have a much more positive carryover. But the fact that they are not totally similar (true) doesn't mean that they are unrelated. They are both trunk, hip, and knee extension and the glutes, quads, erectors, and hamstrings work very heavily in both. Not in exactly the same way but clearly they are related. The way you would truly prove this statement is to have a group of lifters perform just one lift (for example the squat) for a few months, and then have those lifters max on deads. You would then compare that to a group of people that performed no training what so ever and have them max on deads. Whose deadlift is going to be higher? Everybody reading this knows the answer is the group who just squatted. And that proves there is a relationship, it is just not a perfect one.

Submitted by phreak on
[quote=Tim Henriques]This article was interesting but they took the data and then formed some very erroneous conclusions.[/quote]PCGremlin already mentioned this (good post by him, BTW): the problem is not the research paper itself, but what people read into it. That is always a big mistake: reading more into conclusions than what is actually stated. Good scientists are highly specific in what they conclude. Any speculation is normally weeded out during peer review. [quote]Their conclusion was that "no direct or specific crossover effect occurs between the squat and the deadlift". This statement is ridiculous.[/quote]No, they are correct in a highly specific way. They are in no way saying that squatting doesn't help your deadlift. This study essentially tells nothing new. The conclusion should only be read as: the best way to improve your deadlift is by deadlifting. They are NOT saying that squatting does not help at all. Just that it does not help DIRECTLY OR SPECIFICALLY. They are not saying squatting does not help. They are simply saying: it doesn't help quite as much as deadlifting itself, because it only helps indirectly and non-specifically. It may still be the absolute king of deadlift assistance (which they in no way deny), but it will never take the place of actually deadlifting. Which I think we can all agree on. [quote]that proves there is a relationship, it is just not a perfect one.[/quote]And that's exactly what the study concludes: there is a relationship (possibly a very important one), but it is not specific and not direct.

Submitted by wcwaldron on
Here is what I'd like to know: The research team came out of Kennesaw State University along with 25 local powerlifters? Kennesaw State is 3 miles from our gym, North Georgia Barbell and I don't remember ever hearing about this research. How did I miss this?

Submitted by Al Annunziato on
I'm not experienced enough to weigh in here, but I do know that when I don't squat, my deadlift goes south. Do you guys feel the authors were on solid ground with their comments about rack pulls? I found their findings pretty thought provoking, because the movement, while giving me more confidence to handle heavy loads, hasn't really helped me blast through my sticking point, no matter where I position the bar.

Submitted by gregoryprince on
Gregory Prince I think you are on the right track. The psychology is behind you using rack pulls towards moving heavier weight in your pulls. And, there is a synergistic affect between squats and deads. While we can all question the research, I believe lifting is an inexact science and there are many ways to build strength and power. I thought, like you, the article is thought provoking and I am glad we have things like this to read about our sport.