View Full Version : Deadlift to back squat ratio

Brian Negrotto
11-23-2010, 12:49 AM
I have a deadlift 1RM of 545# and a back squat 1RM of 420#. Both lifts are raw. Is this ration unusually lopsided? It seems as though most other peoples 1RMs of the two aren't nearly that far apart. What would cause the difference?


Spencer Mackay
11-23-2010, 07:13 AM
I've noticed that with some people, limb and torso length seems to affect this ratio. People with shorter legs and possibly a shorter torso typically seem to have better squats, and those with a long torso can pull more on the powerlifting-style deadlift. I believe this is to do with levers, moment arms and displacement.

Add technique to this, and also that a lot of trainers will typically do what they are good at rather than address a weakness.

Obviously this is just an observation.

Derek Simonds
11-23-2010, 07:47 AM
I am lopsided like you. I am north of 400 on the DL but haven't broken through the 300 barrier yet on my squat. I am interested to see some other numbers. I agree with Spencer about different body types being more suited for one lift. I am built to DL I think.

Kevin Perry
11-23-2010, 10:06 AM
Last time I went heavy my 1RM on dead came at 405 and my Squat came in at 315 for a double or tripple (never tested 1RM in a long time for BS). Just like the above about leverages need to be taken into about and I also think it's about right as long as your DL is higher than your Squat.

Rolando Rodriguez
11-23-2010, 11:46 AM
Like Spencer said, a lot depends on your particular limb lengths and your technique.

In general, movements with a smaller range of motion (that is, movements that involve fewer joints) will be more heavily biased based on limb lengths. Take the bench press: long arms are a definite disadvantage. Compare this to the snatch, where the distance the bar moves tends to even out the affects of limb lengths (short arms are advantageous overhead but disadvantageous off the floor).

Exercises that start at a fixed position also tend to be heavily affected by body structure. For instance, the deadlift starts at the same height off the floor, regardless of who's lifting. If I gave you forearms that were 4" longer than you currently have, your deadlift would automatically go up, as you'd be able to start with a more upright back (with the same ankle/knee angles) and have to pull the weight less distance.

The squat is more "equalized" than the deadlift because you take it off a rack at a height set for you. Still, body structure matters a lot. A guy with really long femurs will never be the front squatter he would be with shorter femurs. Squat form makes a difference too. A low-bar squat with a lot of back angle is almost an eccentric deadlift! An a$$-to-gra$$ high-bar squat moves the body into less mechanically efficient positions, and thus less weight can be handled.

This is all a long way of saying "it depends." I do 410 conventional DL and 330 high-bar squat.

Brian Negrotto
11-23-2010, 11:46 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. Like I said, up to this point I have been lifting raw, but I am thinking that when I get back stateside I am going to implement a belt. Does a belt tend to help in one lift, be it either DL or BS, any more than the other? I worded that all kind of stupid, would a belt change your BS to DL ratio? Thanks again.

Derek Weaver
11-23-2010, 12:33 PM
A) Belted lifting is raw lifting
B) You should be able to get more out of both lifts with a belt. I'd assume this is also dependent limb length etc. Don't really know though.

Eduardo Chile
11-23-2010, 01:32 PM
Belts tend to help the squat more from what I've seen. I'm sure different body types respond differently? Why are you so worried about the ratios?

Brian Negrotto
11-23-2010, 11:48 PM
Thanks again for the responses. My main concern is that I want to ensure my programming is properly balanced, that I'm not giving one movement more attention than another. Currently, I am doing a seven day schedule, lifting days being, MTTF, I squat on Tuesdays and deadlift on Fridays. I know that there are as many theories on programming as there are @$$holes in Iraq (that's a lot), but a reoccurring theme I keep seeing is people squatting twice a week. Also, I have read where a lot of people argue that deadlifting once a week is too much, that they prefer to go with once every ten days or even two weeks. I am a beginniner with programming and just trying to feel it out as I go. What I was curious of was could the BS:DL ratio be used to measure whether your programming is balanced. From all the responses I've gotten, given all the variables you guys have presented, I'm assuming it is not nearly as easy as I hoped it would be.

Will Peterson
11-24-2010, 05:17 AM
You mention being a beginner with programming -- how long have you been lifting. The one thing that has not been strait spelled out is that nearly everyone that I have worked with will see a pretty fast increase in the DL and a slow steady increase in the squat. For many, within 2 to 2 1/2 years of lifting the squat will catch the DL since weight progress on the DL tends to slow after that initial period of beginner gains.

For how often, you may want to instead think "how often as your primary lift". I may go to the gym once a week with squats as my primary lift, but I will commonly squat at twice more through the week following an O lift workout. For the DL, less does tend to be more as the form is reasonably simple. Still, putting in snatch and clean high pulls can be great for many in developing explosivness and improving lockout.

Eduardo Chile
11-24-2010, 05:58 AM
I think deadlift should be very similar in stress as the squat. I'm using a system that checks some biometrics everyday and it seems to affect my cns about the same as the squat. Essentially about the same amount of neurons are used with both exercises. the difference in weight is due to leverage. If you want to increase your deadlift then deadlift. I find I get my best results doing it weekly. Others may find something else works. But try different things and see what works.

Derek Weaver
11-24-2010, 05:32 PM
That's an RTS/ Mike Tuscherer (sp?) thing right? I remember Donald had a log here on Trac and Deadlift. He had some correspondence where Mike said something to the effect that the deadlift is no more stressful than the squat.

On another note somewhat related: I've wondered about this with the bigger PL guys who are squatting 800 and pulling 650. How is the squat not more stressful at that point? More weight, different range of motion, but less stress?

I remember a TMag video on Neural Charge workouts that Thibaudeau was touting. he said something to the effect that something that taxes the grip taxes the CNS far more, which is why he used straps for some stuff. I have no idea if this is anywhere near true.

Eduardo Chile
11-25-2010, 12:58 PM
Derek, I use TRAC and have started to use it guide my training. I have found it is consistent on certain things depending on what I'm doing. My TRAC is far worse when I'm doing what I consider a volume phase than an intensity phase.

Also, out of curiousity are those raw numbers? I know gear helps the squat more than the deadlift, but have not researched this enough to know for sure.

There is a post on RTS about this and I'll try to find it.

Derek Weaver
11-25-2010, 01:22 PM
Those numbers would just be hypotheticals. I'd guess that in the majority of cases, an 800 lb squat is going to be geared.

From what very little I know, it does seem that some people just can't get the suit to help them on their deads. I have no desire to cram myself into a squat suit, deadlift suit, or bench shirt, so my knowledge will pretty much always be limited.

either way, I'd figure that just by putting a heavy bar on your back like that would still take its toll on the nervous system.

Eduardo Chile
11-28-2010, 12:40 PM

This is the post from RTS talking about deadlift stress.