As someone who emphasizes total body workouts, I believe in squatting or deadlifting every workout. You can even do both. In my current routine, I’m in the gym three times a week and I’m doing at least one of these two compound lifts. I’ve been following this approach the last two months and I’m pleased with the results.
Reasons To Squat or Deadlift every Workout
Total body benefits– If you want to follow a total body training split, doing squats or deadlifts each workout will make that goal easier. Squats and deadlifts work several muscles from head to toe. There’s a reason they’re both in the discussion for king of all lifts. I often feel satisfied with my workout, knowing that I’ve hit as much muscles as possible.
Increase Strength and Muscle: If you want to get stronger in a lift, then do the lift often. A big reason powerlifters and weightlifters are so strong in their specific lifts is because they do those lifts almost every day. Some of the top performers do them twice a day. I may not be doing as much training frequency as those strength athletes but I believe my routine will allow me to gain strength. I can speak from experience when I say doing a lift more often will make you better at that lift. I’m currently doing 40 squat reps and 60 deadlift reps every two weeks. My confidence in performing these lifts and my technique have also improved as a result of doing these lifts frequently.
You’ll not only gain strength with this training approach but you’ll also build muscle. In order to maximize muscle growth, you need to hit as much muscle fibers as possible. This is only possible through compound movements like the squat and deadlift. Doing at least one of these lifts three times a week will make it easier for you to gain muscle.
How To Make This Work
The squat and deadlift have great muscle and strength gaining benefits but they have their drawbacks as well. They put a lot of stress on your body and nervous system. The way I handle this challenge is by varying the way I train these lifts each workout.
I don’t go heavy more than once a week. Heavy is 80 % or more of my one rep max. On the days that I’m not going heavy, I’m either doing speed work or just regular light reps. The light reps are usually 20 pounds greater than my body weight.
Another thing that helps is to be aggressive with your recovery. When you train hard, you need to recover hard as well. The obvious methods are diet and sleep. Doing low-intensity yoga workouts, deep tissue work, and deep breathing. You should also rest one or two days in between workouts. Did I mention that cardio helps with muscle recovery?!Once you find an efficient way to do squats or deadlifts each workout, you’ll be pleased with the results.
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels
As I’m on my journey to get stronger and improve my overall fitness, I’ve improved my squats and deadlifts tremendously over the past year. One exercise I give a lot of credit to is the Farmers Walk exercise. I’m speaking from personal experience but I’m confident you’ll see improvements in those lifts if you start to incorporate Farmers Walks to your routine.The Farmers Walk is part of the weighted carries movement group. Done primarily in Strongman Competitions, anyone can benefit from this move.
There are countless benefits to doing the Farmers Walk. It builds great core strength because you have to stabilize the weight you’re holding on both sides. Your grip will improve sue to holding heavy weights for long durations. You do have to hold the weight tightly or else it’ll drop. Your legs get a good workout since you’re using your legs to walk. Your traps, lats, and others will be worked as well. This is a great total body exercise. The only training days I wouldn’t reccomend doing them are days you do heavy grip work, like deadlift days.
You can use Farmers Walks for any goal you want. You just have to adjust the weight, distance, and rest period for your specific goals. When focusing on strength, go heavier for a shorter distance, with long rest periods. For a cardio focus, go lighter, walk for a long duration, and have a short rest period. Hypertrophy would be medium weight with middle to long distance, and short rest periods. If you’re feeling ambitious, go heavy and walk a long distance.
Another way to utilize the farmers walk is to hold a dumbbell on only one side of your body. This move is called the suitcase carry. This move builds serious core strength because your core is walking hard to prevent you from tilting on one side. The heavier you go, the more engaged your core will be. I’ve been doing this move for the past couple of weeks and notice a difference in my core strength.
If I had to pick one exercise that’ll make you feel awesome, it’d be some heavy deadlifts. I say heavy because deadlifts are meant to be done in low rep ranges (3-6) reps. I’m not including Olympic lifts because they’re more difficult to teach and learn. I don’t know about you but I feel so powerful when picking up heavy weight from the ground with such explosive ferocity.The deadlift is the best exercise for total body strength. It engages every muscle from head to toe, with emphasis on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. I’ve heard people say that deadlifts are bad for your back. The truth is using bad form on deadlifts or any other exercise is bad for you. From my personal experience, proper deadlifting has helped me fix back issues caused by weight lifting with bad form.
The dealift is an exercise with real world application. Not only does it make you strong from head to toe, it also helps with sports performance. Due to the emphasis on powerful hip movement, the deadlift can help an athlete improve their sprint speed and vertical jump. The deadlift also teaches you how to properly lift things from the ground, assuming you’re using correct form. This will come in handy when you’re helping a friend move their furniture.
Like any other exercise, it’s important to have good form when deadlifting. Deadlifting is a hinging movement. When deadlifting, it’s important to have the barbell touching your shins on the bottom position. Slightly arch your back and keep a neutral spine. Before you lift the weight, remove some slack from the barbell by slightly pulling it. Also, squeeze the barbell as hard as you can and brace your abs. Focus on pulling the weight with as much force as possible. It’s important to commit to the lift, meaning you have top pull the weight once you get to the bottom position.
Photo credit: ResoluteSupportMedia via Visualhunt / CC BY
Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/isafmedia/6940701913/”>ResoluteSupportMedia</a> via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/b22a01″>Visualhunt</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”> CC BY</a>