Barry Ross question about deadlift

Barry, I’ve seen that you post on here occasionally and I hope you see this question I have for you. I’ll start by saying that I read your article on Pavel’s website and I enjoyed it. I’ve implemented the jumps following the deadlifts as well as the presses and power cleans.

My questions involve the deadlift vs. using the squat, particularly, whether or not you used both for any extensive period of time with your athletes? For example, was there a time in which you primarily used the squat (low volume as per the article)? If so, how did the effects of squatting compare with the deadlifting results you’ve had with your athletes (hypertrophy, strength)? Is your recommendation for deadlifts more to do with the fact that it’s less technique dependent or safer than back squats?

Thanks in advance.

first thing he dont do the power cleans… second he dont do squats bc he said you get a bigger bang for ur buck with the deadlift bc the it work more muscles and you need no extra gear besides bar and weights— squats u need a rack etc…

Sorry heatwave, I didn’t see this question.
I did use the squat exclusively with my athletes for over 25 years, and not as a low volume exercise. I was going for size and strength like everyone else. There is no comparison with the rate of strength gain between then and now. Deadlifts with higher intensity show significantly greater strength gains in a fraction of the time.

We do deadlifts because of the loading time factor (we can stay alactic anaerobic) the safety of the lift (just drop it if there is a problem), no need for a rack or spotters, and the number of muscles involved in the single lift.

deadlifts with trap bar? when i did this it felt like a squat but i couldnt get that “seated back” feeling that hits the hips in squat.

whats your thoughts on conventional, sumo deadlifts? use them ever & when?

I use trap bar deadlifts with many of athletes.
Have you tied it standing on a low box like an aerobic step which will allow you to get deeper?

My favorite.

Not everyone likes them, but they do help get up more weight because of the shorter pull distance. Trap bars are not good in the system we use

squats can be used fo strength better (Quads), bc you are limmited at the deadlift

The average difference in squat and dl records are approximately 5%, for both men and women at all class levels. In many cases, the dl is higher. The difference between the 2 for an athlete who wants to improve speed is enormous: in this case the squat is a total loser. :smiley:

If deadlifts are done correctly I agree with Bear in saying they are superior to squats. The problem with most athletes is they roundback the lift which cuts off massive range of motion for the quads, besides leading to possible injury. If your athletes are roundbacking the lift, they need to drop the weight 20-50 lbs and work depth more than weight.

Dynamic hip flexibility also plays a role in squat depth and deadlift depth. If your athletes don’t have an arch in the back (anterior pelvic tilt) after the dead is initiated, that should be the sole focus of their training. If the core is weak and you have them deadlifting heavy you are asking for an injury.

With squats it is easier to maintain anterior tilt due to the weight being situated on your back. With Deads, greater attention has to be focused on the core. Any lift can be dangerous, safety is specific to the person.

I’ve seen more gawd awful squats than I have qawd awful DLs. Many times when the male ego kicks in, the form gets bad on squats yet the guys keep cranking out the squats. This usually doesn’t happen on DLs.


Very true another reason why I like the trap bar deadlift. Now my questions is this (which has been mentioned before). Is CNS fatigue more of an issue with deadlifts sicne you are holding the weight in your hands? Since this may be an issue should lifting straps be used?

I don’t think lifting straps would cause enough of a decrease in CNS activity. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast. In order to reap the benfits, you have to pay the price one way or another.


about the trap bar dead… my gym doesn’t have one, but it does have some heavy dumbells… so would db squats be an effective replacement for trap bar deads assuming the load is enough?


Is “time under tension” more of a concern or the total time it takes to execute the set (5reps)?

If one is “letting go” the bar after every rep of deadlift then anything more than 3 reps is going to be over the timeframe to be in alactic anaerobic. If its actual time under tension thats an actual concern then i can see 5 reps. cuz of lack of the eccentric & concern for only time under tension

Time under tension. 5 reps at 85% 1RM can be completed in 10 seconds or less if the bar is dropped at, or just before, the lifter is fully upright.

What is it about DLs that make it so surperior to squats in regard to speed development?


From what I understand, Bear’s reasons on this are time under tension (less with Deadlift, or at least controllable) and equipment (more needed with Squat).
Not sure though; Bear could clarify, of course…

What I am less clear about is the Clean and Jerk, if reps are kept to a minimum (e.g., 2), the Snatch, if technique is there and the Clean recognising/accepting that it should not be done for faster speeds and/or movement simulation of any kind, but for general strenght instead.

Nikoluski and Randy G, perfect response on Randy G’s question.


C&J and Snatch, if not done for faster speed (which by their nature, won’t help) or movement simulation (they match nothing) are extremely high on the risk/reward curve. Why bother? :rolleyes:

Thanks Nik and Bear…

Another question comes to mind. The DL is purely concentric whereas the Squat is ecc and con. Does that factor in in any way? :o Although your TUT reasoning makes sense to me, I have to wonder if the ecc component of squat factors in to it’s overall benefit and possibly give it the advantage. :rolleyes:


This is the arguement always presented by Tudor Bompa on this often overlooked point, as many track coaches are not technical experts in the weightroom.
If they ARE experts, there MAY be some advantage in the C&J and Snatch in the middle stages of the taper period (only), as they use a higher total number of all available motor units in one lift.
Bear’s point about “matching nothing” argues for the acceptance of the general strengthening role of lifts.
If you refer to my chart on Motor Unit Involvement in the Vanc 2004 DVD you can see the difference.
The Dead and Squat use around 65 to 70% of MUs and the Snatch and C&J use 90% or more.
To make a decision on an approach, you must weigh the number of MUs involved by the intensity that is achievable, given the skill level of the athlete and his coach.
Variability in MU numbers is linear while intensity (height x duration of the stimulus) is exponential, and safety is vital, making the choice favour the Dead and Squat in most cases.
We never did either of the higher ones and didn’t suffer from their absence and Gerrard Mach always used the Dead only.
My belief in the general role of weights led to the use of a more comprehensive lifting program, including the Bench, which was also very effective for us in the final taper.