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Deadlift or squat for glutes

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

May 28, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Deadlift or squat for glutes

Deadlift or squat for glutes

Both are good for your glutes but the squat is the one I would do if I had to choose. A nice hack is to squeeze your glutes each rep no matter of it is squat or deadlift. 

Deadlift calculator

What is your why 


Mind over matter is a big one for me. I always found that the same situation can be an opportunity or thread depending on how you approach it. The same goes for your training and this is important. Most people do not dig deep enough on their underlying motivations and therefore do not pursue their goals. The single most important factor to achieve your goals is your determination. Not what diet you're on, which exercises you do or how much you sleep. These things are an outcome of your commitment, not the result. The thought pattern you most often find is: 


  • What do you want 
  • How do you get it 
  • Why do you want it 


Almost everyone knows what they want. Fewer know how to get it. Only very few people sit down and reflect on why they want to achieve certain goals. As the patience to work on results is generally diminishing people, therefore, give up when they don’t receive instant gratification. This is why social media is so successful. Instant gratification through clicks and likes with minimum effort. If you want to get ahead of the pack change your thought pattern to:


  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you get it 
  • What do you need to do to get it 


This way you will feel better about your goals as they have more meaning. Others will also pick up on this and will be more likely to support you in achieving your goals. 


My ultimate goal is to spend as much time with my wife as I possibly can. This is why all my actions are driven towards early retirement. Money is only an object to achieve this. Fitness is my way to maximize my life expectancy in an abled body. 


If you are not convinced yet check out Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle. He makes a very compelling case telling the story of the Wright brothers. 


Where are your glutes 


Simply speaking your glutes are your ass muscles. To be a bit more precise your glutes are your butt cheeks. In the age of Kim Kardashian and Instagram, it seems to be of interest to lift the glutes to a level that you can park a cup of coffee on them.


The main fitness goals around the glutes are to lift them, make them round and avoid cellulite depending on your gender. These are already three very different goals which ask for very different exercises. This is why it is important to formulate your goals clearly. 


I personally do not care that much how my butt looks as long as it helps me to lift heavier weights. That’s why I do not do lunges. It stays in my pants most of the day anyway. 




The deadlift is one of the most iconic barbell movements you can do in the gym. Together with the bench press and deadlift, it forms the big three. Powerlifters test their strength in these three lifts. Weightlifters utilize the deadlift to improve their strength off the ground. CrossFit enthusiasts like to test their prowess in terms of strength with the deadlift. Strongmen do variations on the deadlift in almost any competition around the globe. 


The deadlift is one of the best bang for the buck strength exercises you can do. Look at it as the burpee of the strength world. You will train your glutes, hamstrings, lower back and quads during the deadlift. As Jon Pall Sigmarrson said in the eighties 


There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift 


So how do you do a good deadlift? 


  1. Place your midfeet under the bar
  2. Grip the bar at the beginning of the knurling 
  3. Keep your legs close to your arms 
  4. Lower yourself to the bar 
  5. Turn in your elbows to make the bar click. Imagine you were squeezing lemons in your armpits 
  6. Be patient off the floor wedge yourself in until the bar bends
  7. Initiate the pull by pushing the floor away from you with your feet. Make a footprint
  8. Pull the bar up and inwards towards you
  9. Finish with a strong lockout


Following these steps will usually fix that you straighten your back. It is very hard to do that actively. I found that point 5 sets you up for a deadlift with a straight back. 


The biggest adv stages of the deadlift are its impact in developing raw strength and how satisfying it is. There is just something primal about picking up heavy stuff from the ground.


The biggest disadvantages of the deadlift are that it can do harm to your lower back and is not ideal for bodybuilding. If you want to bulls big muscles try to use machines. Takes longer but usually yields better results. 




The squat is one of the most versatile exercises in fitness. You will find d variations of the squat in any fitness program that is worth its salt. There are many variations of the squat and for this article, we are going to focus on the barbell squat. 


The barbell squat is a staple for weightlifters and often the first lift they learn. Teenagers often avoid it and prefer the deadlift. The squat is more technical and is harder to exit when you fail. Therefore many people take the easy route and use the leg press instead. 


The squat trains the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and quads. The emphasis on the quads and glutes is bigger than with the deadlift. 


This is how you do a good squat: 


  1. Put your hands as close to the inner knurling of the bar as your shoulder mobility allows 
  2. Wedge yourself under the bar. Be aggressive about this, the bar should find a spot and stay there
  3. Unrack the barbell by popping you hip forward 
  4. Walk out backwards
  5. Use a three-step walk out
  6. Plat your feet 
  7. Fully exhale 
  8. Inhale and build circular pressure in your abdomen. Imagine a stable cylinder 
  9. Bend the bar like a horseshoe 
  10. Squat down
  11. Push up and complete 


That is how you do a proper squat. Learn these pointers one by one and hone your technique over years. It takes some time to do be able to do a good barbell squat. 


The biggest advantages of the barbell squat are its effectiveness to train your quads and the full body workout you get from it. The deadlift and squat are probably the two barbells which address the body most complete for maximum strength. The Olympic lifts are also full body but are also a lot about technique and momentum. 


The biggest disadvantages of the squat are the compression of your discs and it’s complexity. If you get really good at squatting the weight will crush your spine. If you don’t get it you will hurt yourself as a lot can go wrong. 


Should you use the deadlift or squats for glutes? 


If I could only do one if the two for the rest of my life and wanted big glutes I would go for the squat. 


Luckily this is not the choice you are faced with. You can combine the two lifts to train your glutes and you should. 


The biggest mistake for the squat and deadlift in terms of glutes that many don’t activate during these lifts. You got butt cheeks, squeeze them for some extra pounds. 


Further reading 



Topics: Lift stronger, Deadlift, Fitness, Strength