Squats and deadlifts the same day

Is Doing Squats and Deadlifts the Same Day a Good Idea?

Squats and Deadlifts are two of the biggest movements in weight lifting and are very important for your regime. The question is, can you do squats and deadlifts on the same day? The short answer is – yes; however, you should understand the risks involved before training for the benefits. Once again, we’ve done all the hard work for you, so we can help you make an informed decision for your training goals.

Should I Do Squats and Deadlifts on the Same Day

As we’ve said before, you most certainly can do both squats and deadlifts in the same workout, but whether or not you should, has more to do with your individual training session.

In most cases, especially if you’re new to the gym, it’s always recommended that you break up heavy lifting exercises on separate days in your training week. Even the more experienced power-lifters are training squats and deadlifts in separate workouts, but why would they?

Squats and deadlifts both have a large range of motion that forces tension and strain on your lower back, glutes, and legs. These are all muscle groups that you use daily, and they make up a large majority of your body, so it’s essential to regulate your lower body routine to avoid overworking your muscles. That being said, if you don’t have the strength and experience to do both, we advise against it – lift at your own risk!

Are There Any Benefits from Doing Both?

Before we get along any further, we don’t want to discourage you from getting the best workout you can. It would be a lie to state that training squats and deadlifts on the same day doesn’t come with many benefits. In contrast to what some think, doing both exercises is arguably the most sport-specific way to train for power-lifters. You can very much so find a few benefits although, results may vary depending on your level of strength and build. To keep things simple, we’ve listed a few expected benefits for you.

1. Helps Expose Weakness

One of the biggest mistakes in weight training is focusing too much on strengths and not enough on weaknesses. This is especially true for leg exercise as many people often tend to start over-training one movement. Think of it as a building; you need to have a solid and tested foundation and awareness of your weak points. Deadlifts after squats are not only great for a full-body exercise but great for detecting what in your routine needs work. 

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Depending on the training volume of the squat session, it will translate over into your deadlifts. For competitive lifting, athletes will look for what is known as “technical breakdown.” What TB means is any signs of breakdown in form or execution resulting in inefficient movement. You can decide how to tweak your training day, which can be ideal for your fitness goals.

2. Less Warm-up Time

An obvious benefit of course is less warm-up time since both squats and deadlifts require the same muscle groups. Usually, it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get properly warmed up for both exercises, but if you’re doing both on the same day, why waste extra time getting prepared? You’ll get the same amount of good work in less time – it sounds like a win-win.

3. Increased Muscle Activation

Overall, we would say that squats are among the essential exercises you should add to your workout regime. It’s a great workout that works your nervous system and greatly strengthens your lower body and core. Deadlifts work much the same, but incorporate muscles from your upper body as well. This is ideal if the focus of your training is muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth.)

What Are the Risks of Doing Both?

Of course, when doing two major exercises on the same day, there will be a set of risks that you’re exposing yourself to. Remember, doing both exercises back to back puts a lot of strain on your body, so it’s better to understand each risk so you can try and avoid any problems. Now we don’t want to scare you away, so we’ve listed a few common problems you can potentially run into.

1. Slight Increase In Injury

Putting so much effort into this routine could potentially lead to injury or trigger any if you have a history of injury. The amount of strain and tension you’re putting your lower chain through is why proper form and technique are vital.

However, it isn’t enough to protect you from overworking your muscles, over-extending tendons and ligaments, or from accidents happening. You should also consider how much recovery time you’ve had since the last lower body workout and how much time you’ve had to warm up, as these factor into sustaining an injury.

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2. Increased Strain in Your Posterior Chain

As we’ve just mentioned, doing both squats and deadlifts will put a lot of strain on your body – more specifically – your posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.) The amount of tension on your body from doing just one of the exercises will double if you add the other. If you haven’t trained this way or aren’t used to this routine, we highly suggest you don’t do them back to back.

3. Greater Level of Fatigue

You’ve always heard of no pain, no gain, but we guarantee that if you do both squats and deadlifts, you’re going to feel it in the morning. Because the squat/deadlift combo target such large muscle groups, it will take a while to get over the fatigue. Though the road to recovery will be painful, the silver lining is you’ll have a longer recovery time.

Which Exercise Should I Do First

The decision on which exercise you should do first is ultimately up to you. If your overall goal is simply to strengthen your lower back and posterior chain, then you can start with either. However, it’s very important to consider which exercise takes more energy. Carryover of fatigue could be a problem when switching from one very strenuous exercise to the other. If you properly manage the volume and intensity of each exercise then there should be no cause for concern.

1. Squat Before You Deadlift

Though you do have the choice to deadlifts before squats, you should understand that this way will tire you out faster. We mentioned earlier the issue with carry-over fatigue, which could cause you to lose form or tire out if you choose to start with deadlifts – especially if you’re using heavy weights.

The reason is that deadlifts involve many more muscle groups than squats including your lower back, forearms, abs, shoulders, and traps. When switching over to squats, it’ll be much harder to execute given the energy spent on your deadlift performance. So, we highly recommend doing squats before deadlifts.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which course you choose to take on leg day, doing squats and deadlifts in the same workout can easily be done. Just remember, that doing both will come with risks and you should take precautions so that you reap the benefits. Always make sure to regulate the volume and intensity of both, take the proper amount of rest time, and always execute in proper form to reduce any chances of injury.

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One thing that we can recommend for any future training is to separate the exercises at different times of the workout. If you’re starting out or looking to intensify your workouts, this would be an ideal way to get the benefits from both while maintaining the same intensity throughout the entire workout. For example, you can start squats at the beginning of your routine and then move onto deadlifts toward the end. You can work on more focused exercises in between both and use deadlifts as a strong finisher.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Deadlifts Make You Bigger?

This is a very common question and depending on your goals, getting bigger through a deadlift workout is possible. If you’re doing hypertrophy training deadlifts are excellent for building your superficial back muscles, gluteal muscles, core muscles, and even your forearms. Just be sure to properly regulate how much weight and how many sets and reps you’re doing. The key to hypertrophy training is controlled movement at a weight that is heavy, but manageable.

How Many Days Should I Rest Between Squats and Deadlift Workouts?

It’s important to know that rest is vital if you want to see the results. Because you use your legs, back, and core every day and they make up a large percentage of your body, you should only be doing legs twice a week. If you’re doing squats and deadlifts on the same day, you’ll want to rest a week in between workouts. They are both powerlifting exercises that challenge a lot f different muscles groups, doing both more than once or twice a week could increase your risk of injury. 

What Happens if I Only Do Deadlifts?

 Focusing only on deadlifts will not make up for squat strength alone. Though there is nothing wrong with sticking to one or the other, it’s important to know that if you choose to stick with just deadlifts you’ll be missing out on many benefits. Even though deadlifts work the same muscles, it’s not the same type of movement. Squats work to help you achieve gains in strength to not only your core and lower body, but your knees, ankles, tendons, and ligaments. 

Jesse Hyson

Jesse Hyson is an Accredited Exercise and Sports Scientist with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. Jesse is currently completing a Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology at Charles Sturt University, Australia.

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