For the past decade I've dedicated my life to helping people move, look and feel better. I'm one of those lucky people that absolutely loves what they do for a living. Over the years I've tried every exercise, program, style and technique out there; I've even created many things just by simply trying new things. But one thing that I've realized over the years is that the basics truly work the best. If you mix the basics and consistency, you will get great results.
If you talk to 100 trainers and ask them hypothetically; "What's the BEST exercise overall?", you will get 100 different answers. And by "best" I mean imagine if you could only do 1 exercise for the rest of your life, what would you do? Or, what would you have your clients do? For the past 9 years I would have blurted out DEAD LIFTS, you have to pick dead lifts! But I think I may be "wrong" about that, and here's why...
First off, I love dead lifts! I love dead lifts personally (I do them weekly), I love dead lifts for my clients and I even get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see my babies "dead lift" to pick up heavy objects off the floor (their toys). So you could say I'm biased towards dead lifts because I understand how great they are for everyone. Now how someone dead lifts is all relative - Some people should have a stick to learn how to hinge at the hips, others should have a kettle bell, some should have an elevated barbell and so on. It's all relative to the clients wants and needs!
Here's why I'm changing my mind and think if I had only 1 exercise to do for ever I would Squat. In dead lifts you have to have a good amount of hip range of motion, but your knee and ankle range of motion can/will be limited. This is not a bad thing but it's not the ROM (range of motion) that the body needs on a daily basis. In a squat (back/front/goblet/zercher/etc) the bodies ankle, knee and hip ROM are utilized.
Dead lifts are more of a posterior chain exercise, meaning that they work the glutes, hamstrings and low back.
Squats are more of an anterior chain exercise, meaning that they work the quads and rectus abdominus.
Both Squats and Dead Lifts work "everything" but at some level they dominate certain parts of the body more than others.
So does this mean I'm giving up on Dead lifting and I'm going to Squat every week? Hell No! I LOVE dead lifts and I still believe that every human should do them - But I think because of the ROM in squatting that they should be a staple in everyones program. Especially, because of the amount of sitting and lack of mobility most Americans have these days. Even if you just use squats as a movement warm up to keep and/or gain hip and ankle ROM, they need to be done daily.
Here's a video I did with Mike (No Bull Trainer) on the difference between the Dead Lift and the Squat: Squatting VS Dead Lifting
Now that you see the difference between the two, check out these 6 Squatting Variation Videos we did with Nicole (No Bull Trainer/Pro Powerlifter) - Here are 6 variations of squatting that will help you gain and keep the ROM in the hips and ankles. Please remember to master the basics before you try the progressions in these videos:
Vid #1: Goblet Squats
Vid #2: Over Head Squats (dowel rod)
Vid #3: SSB (Safety Bar Squats)
Vid #4: Bar Bell Back Squats
Vid #5: Zercher Squats
Vid #6: Front Squats
I posted these videos in the order I think they should be progressed and used. But not knowing who would be doing these progressions I can't say this would be the proper order for you or your clients. I will say that to ensure you stay strong and healthy use these progressions cautiously.
Now go get out there and Squat AND Dead Lift!
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me...