Squat vs deadlift vs bench strength

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by DwayneJohnson, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. DwayneJohnson

    DwayneJohnson New Member

    I noticed the most people who post their personal records can lift the largest amounts for deadlifts, followed by squats, then bench press. A typical example would be like 450 lb deadlift, 315 lbs squat and 225 bench press.

    The amounts I can lift on deadlift is actually slightly lower than squats. Does that mean that my back is underdeveloped? My 5 RM are 245 for deadlift, 265 squat and 185 bench
  2. gbglifter

    gbglifter Member

    I think all it means is you need to keep working on your deadlift tbh. 265 is really good for your squats. More than me and I can deadlift at least 440. Just keep plugging away and it WILL become your strongest exercise.
  3. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Deadlift is also one of those lifts where it takes a certain mindset to hit higher PRs. You are more than likely capable of pulling a lot more than you think. This is why I advocate occasionally working up to max singles on deads because it really teaches you how to push yourself beyond self imposed barriers.
  4. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Perhaps. But bear in mind that the deadlift is the one "power" lift that is the most influenced by your physical traits such as the relationship of your arm length to your total height, upper torso length vs. lower torso length, etc. It is not as truly a meaningful comparative measure of strength between individuals as are the bench press and squat which are less influenced by body structure. Some people are made to deadlift; others are not. Either way, you can always improve it. I believe a better and safer way to build up deadlift strength is to use a trap bar rather than a barbell. That eliminates some of the effects of one's physical structure. Just my own experience and not backed up by any scientific studies that I can point to.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2014
  5. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    A bit surprised nobody has mentioned this, but I'd say ~95% of the time stats like this strongly imply that you aren't actually squatting to/past legitimate parallel:


    The other ~5% are probably due to some combination unfavorable pulling levers (e.g. shorts arms + long legs) and poor deadlifting technique.
  6. A good point by Mike. When I used to do improper form squats, I could get 275x5 and I think I even once did 315x1, but I did not go to legit parallel, and certainly did not go full ROM.

    Once I started training squats with Clarence Kennedy form, my loads expectedly fell off dramatically. I was able to work up to 225x5 which was ~BWx1.25
  7. adpowah

    adpowah Active Member

    From my personal experience I find squats a more complicated lift. When I was working on Deadlifts I had to improve my mobility a little and get some good stretching advice. Over time I was able to get the body in a good rythm and my Deadlift has been steadily improving. My squat started out as garbage and has gotten a little better. I had to majorly work on mobility, rigidity and bar pathing. I recently picked up Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett and it has been really helping using his mobility exercises to get the movement down. However I still have to make a conscious effort to get below parallel, get the appropriate muscle-tension-bounce and not have my pelvis tuck. That being said I am working on my squat because I realize it is not quad strength holding me back but all of the other little muscles that keep the motion together. So basically I found Deadlift way easier to get acquainted with and functional, while squatting has been quite the journey. So if other lifters have had the same issues its hard to have the confidence to put big weights on squats when the motion itself is uncomfortable.
  8. DwayneJohnson

    DwayneJohnson New Member

    Thanks to all for the helpful replies.

    Mikeynov good point - I think actually I do go to parallel or close to it. I guess I could go another 2 inches down maybe but I don't think that would decrease my lift significantly
  9. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    The only way to know for sure is to video the lift, honestly. 3/4 view from behind and/or directly from the side at hip height. A lot of people are very surprised just how above parallel they actually are if they haven't seen this for themselves. As nativetrout said, it's one of those eye opening experiences when you get people to actually squat all the way down (in the context of maintaining a neutral spine and a good bar path, which for most people with normal flexibility won't be crazy past actual parallel).
  10. DwayneJohnson

    DwayneJohnson New Member

    Good point. Thanks

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