Watertown Personal Training and Weight Loss Center

Squats vs. Dead-lift: Which is better? Part 1

Personal Training in Watertown - Page Fitness

Hello everyone,

This post may be a little longer than the others so I decided to make this a 4-part post. Usually, I am discussing the importance of proper nutrition. Today, I am going to touch on weight training and how certain exercises contribute to your overall health.  I am going to compare two excellent exercises. The squat and the deadlift. Each exercise delivers a potent combination of strength, mobility, and stability. Let’s see which one has the biggest bang for your buck per se. The answer may surprise you.

Part 1:The Squat

The Squat

The squat is a complex movement with many variations. The well-known back and front squats, goblet squat, Bulgarianarian split squats, hack squat, single leg squat, sissy squat, snatch/overhead squat, jump squat, stability ball wall squat, isometric squat, lateral squat, drop squat, etc. The list is pretty long. The common thread between them is each dominates the quadriceps (muscles in the front of the thigh which act as main movers), the glutes, inner thigh (adductor magnus), and the soleus (part of the calves) help the quadriceps drive the movement. The spinal erectors (mostly low back area), the abdominals and oblique’s,  stabilize the core. The hamstrings (back of thigh) and gastrocnemius (large calve muscles we can see) help stabilize the load throughout the entire range of motion. The squat also impacts the shoulders and mid-back to a lesser degree. A major benefit of squatting is the impact it has on knee stabilization and force generation.

 Research suggests that squatting improves more than low body strength development. Squats can help to improve low body movement function, balance, posture, increase bone density, increased energy levels, and improve resistance to diseases like type 2 diabetes.  However, the internet is full of conflicting information regarding the depth of squatting. I am not going to argue that point now, albeit I will address the commonality. The range of motion. Most research supports performing exercises through the full dynamic range of joint motion. The purpose is to develop coordination of muscle pairs working with each other as well as the simultaneous development of all muscle fibers located within the individual muscles.

Full squats help train the body to accept load (body-weight or otherwise) by resisting gravitational force, stabilizing the load through all joint angles and muscle fiber lengths, and application of force to redirect its momentum through the range of motion. There is a definite increase of stress placed on the joints depending on the joint angle. This is one reason the squat is such a beneficial exercise to many but everyone may not be ready for the squat. Some people are natural squatters, others are not. I will address how to determine your squatting ability and the factors we look for at Page Fitness another time.

Since the benefit of the squat is closely connected with a joint range of motion. It may not be suitable for people with certain types of knee and hip injures. Enter the infamous “Oompa Squat” (as my college professor called the act of loading the bar super heavy and slightly bending the knees before standing back up, like the Oompa Loompa’s in Willy Wonka). Squatting in this manner has little impact on your overall ability to squat. Thoughtfully, it probably does more to reinforce poor mechanics than anything else. The squat is performed best with a load that can be controlled through the full range of joint motion. The rule of thumb that says “squat more to improve squats” does not apply here. It is much safer to find and fix the reason you cannot squat properly. Once the problem is corrected, then go for it.

Continued in part 2

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