These two are not interchangeable…

They Are Not The Same…

Squatting and Deadlifting are not the same movement.

They are two different exercises with very different techniques that get confused quite often.

Similar, not the same…

When you Deadlift, the emphasis is on the hip hinge or reaching back with your butt. Your knees will bend, but only to facilitate moving your hips further back as your torso comes forward.

…and yes, your torso will come forward.

…and no, that will not be fatal (if you do it properly)

The Deadlift is more hip dominant, meaning there is more load on the back extensors, glutes and hamstrings.

Squats are more knee dominant; the quadriceps play a bigger role.

Why we use a special bar…

I am 95% sure it was Mike Boyle who I heard it from first and what he said was this, “You cannot straight bar Deadlift heavy and safely” … or something like that.

If you are training for the sport of Powerlifting, then you will have to take your chances and go heavy with a straight bar – that is your sport – but, if you are training for hockey, you can do what we do at RevCon and use a hex bar or trap bar.

You see, when you Deadlift with a straight bar for your hockey training, you must hold your forward torso angle as you lift until the bar clears your knees. This puts additional and unnecessary strain on your lower back.

Because the Hex Bar is open in the middle, you can immediately begin driving your hips under your shoulders as you lift the load; no need to hold that stressful forward posture.  Here, let me show you exactly what I mean in the video…

If you cannot see the video above, simply click on the link below

Aren’t you supposed to keep your back straight?

I know a few of you will watch the video and shudder because your high school gym teacher probably said something like “you must keep your back straight when you lift”. You might have interpreted that to mean that your torso must remain perpendicular to the floor when you lift.

Well, he or she was right, you want to maintain a neutral spine, but it is perfectly fine to pivot forward from the hips – that’s what is called the hip hinge. So your back stays “straight” or neutral, but you are folding forward at the hips.

What about those who can’t?

For various reasons – one of them being impingement – some players cannot fold forward at their hips far enough to pick up or execute the full range of motion at the bottom with a neutral back.

There are two solutions we use for this:

  1. If they are close and just need a little more room in their hip, we will let them bring their torso up slightly (a little more toward the squat position) and if that fixes it, cool.
  2. If that does not fix it, then we will put the hex bar up on risers or lifting blocks to get it 3-6 inches off the ground and let them lift within the range of motion that they can maintain perfect form. We do this for some of our 6’6” players.

So now you know the difference between squatting and deadlifting and how to get the benefits of the deadlift without all the added wear and tear on your lower back.  This is one of our bread and butter exercises for getting strong powerful glutes.

We also use dumbbells for deadlifts or single leg deadlifts – I will show you that one another time.