You are here

Are Deadlifts and Squats Mandatory?

They're touted as two of the best exercises if you're looking to get stronger, fitter, and more powerful; but deadlift alternatives and squat variations may be better in some cases.

Deadlifts and squats: They’re staples in just about every guy’s get-swole routine. But are they really a must-do? Or have all of the guys waiting in line at the squat rack just been wasting their time? 

Well, squats and deadlifts aren’t exactly mandatory, but they sure as hell aren’t overrated.

The Pros:

“Besides being functional, they are huge compound lifts, meaning that you can move more weight, build more muscle, and burn more calories than you could by performing half a dozen more isolated lower-body moves,” says exercise physiologist Mike T. Nelson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S. 

Plus, both of them are posterior-chain dominant, meaning they really work the muscles in your backside—your hamstrings, glutes, back muscles, and spinal stabilizers—the muscles that allow you to jump higher and run faster, says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance training centers in Massachusetts and Florida. And if you want to put on size, even if it’s not in your legs (although it should be; chicken legs do no guy any favors), having a strong base is vital to moving more metal during virtually any upper-body exercise, says Gentilcore, who notes that both moves can correct many postural imbalances (thanks, 9-to-5 desk job) and improve overall biomechanics. 

Find out when you can skip them >>> 



Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

You might also like