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Are you squatting your deadlift?

Updated: Feb 23, 2022







There is a difference between a squat and a deadlift. Obviously, right? But you would be surprised how many people squat their deadlift.



A deadlift is a hip hinge; which means your hips are your primary movers. Your butt should shift backwards causing you to hinge at your hips. This will lower your body to the bar. Your knees will bend slightly to help you reach the bar. However your knees are not the main moving part here. That back side should drive your movement!




So how do you know??


If you feel your knees driving forward or bending first during your deadlift set up, you are probably doing a squat. If your knees are bent more than just to help you reach the bar, you are squatting. Or if when you finish deadlifting, your quads are sore...you're squatting!?! Also, take a look at where your eyes are looking. If you can see more than 8 feet in front of you without bending your neck then you are squatting. Your eyes should focus on 5-8 feet in front of your bar, and yes, your chest will be lower than you think it should be.


Pictured right: squat Pictured left: deadlift


Can you see the difference in the set up between the 2 pictures? In a deadlift, your hips will be higher than your knees. You should feel much more tension in your hamstrings and posterior chain with the correct set-up.


Why does this matter?

If you are squatting, you can't keep the bar as close to you as you need to through the movement. This means you will have increased strain on your lower back, your bar path will be like a arc ")" and you won't have as much power from your posterior chain. Leave the back squats, front squats and all the other squats for the quads. Let's load up those hammies!

Let's look at the points of performance for a deadlift:


This is what you should be looking for during your set up of a deadlift. Once you have the set-up correct, brace and push the floor away. This will keep you again from pulling from your low back but instead putting the emphasis on your posterior chain.


Still can't get it? That's ok. Barbell deadlifting isn't for everyone and definitely isn't for everyone right away! BUT DEADLIFTS ARE FOR EVERYONE!


Try a variation of a deadlift instead:

Kettlebell deadlifts, banded deadlifts, deadlifts from a box/plates or elevated surface







If you have consistent back pain during or after doing deadlifts, I can tell you it isn't the lift that wrong. It's your form. Schedule an appointment with Body Fix 180 for form correction and accessory exercises to get your back stronger and your deadlifts on point!


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