Hive Health Media

Powerhouse Training: Squats and Deadlifts

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Grinding out more hours at the office and family responsibilities have made your already limited gym time that much more precious.

As a full-fledged recessionista, your man-cave “third place” has taken on a new meaning - lighter on the scoping, chest-bumping and goofing around – heavier on the dedication and commitment.

An old-school your father’s father’s approach that has you re-focused on getting stronger and looking for the best bang-for-the-buck moves to get you there.

Machine Training Is Lame

Unfortunately the commercial gym environment, replete with its single station dumbed-down paint-by-numbers circuits, isn’t contributing much to your cause. Look, no one ever developed any appreciable levels of strength, nor necessary core-to-extremity systemic conditioning with their asses planted, or crutched on machines. And you won’t either.

But this is the predicament you face in the world of commercial fitness, where an overarching litigious theme of liability - the arbiter of your equipment choice and resultant range and path of motion, ultimately decides your fitness fate.

Now combine this with low-to-no-knowledge staffing void of the skill-set required to teach the rudiments and nuances of barbell training and you have the perfect storm for fitness-lite mediocrity–A dumbed-down fitness that uses impoverished modalities like the leg extension, leg curl and leg press to deliver a recreational grade, just enough is good enough fitness.

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Tom has been involved in the fitness industry for 25 years with experiences in both the corporate and commercial club settings. He started one of the first in-home personal training services in New Jersey in 1985. In 1997, Tom officially established tgfit inc., which provides in-home and private studio fitness training. He is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as both a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA/CSCS) and a Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA/CPT). Tom also holds a Masters Degree from New York University in Sport and Fitness Management. When he's not guest posting he's maintaining his own blog entitled What We Say, which covers a wide range of topics within the fitness lifestyle.


  1. jonathan

    June 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    great article. I recently started training for powerlifting and have been making good progress. I found a bunch of free routines on this website

    I’ve been doing the korte 3×3 routine. it’s a lot of work but it’s really working and i’m setting new record every week.

  2. Ryan

    May 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with this article. I started lifting with free weights and the classic squat and bench without machines and after recently trying a few machines can’t believe they even compare the two. Get such a better burn and workout without having a machine guide the weights for me.

  3. James Madison

    December 28, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Nice article. As a powerlifter and a fan of Louie Simmons, I follow the Westside Barbell method that gives more emphasis on squats. We follow strength training routine twice a week, on Monday and Friday to work on the muscular system as well as on neuromuscular system.

  4. Westide Barbell

    November 25, 2010 at 6:45 am

    The most impressive one in this post is the “cues” one. The points are good.

  5. p90 x review

    November 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Ive been doing this for quite a week now and in the beginning im experiencing some stiffness in my thighs and legs. But now ive felt more power and much more stronger than ever before :)

  6. Pingback: Exercise Fitness Training- How does kettlebell compare to the regular weight training? - Sports Goals and Workout Info

    • tommyg

      November 7, 2010 at 4:32 am

      What type of strength? Strength-endurance – yes. Foundatioal, systemic strength – NO. KB’s are a good assistance or accessory exercise, but they are not nearly as effective as barbell training’s squats, dead lifts and presses for devloping strength potential. Building strength, especially for the novice, is about applying the proper linear increases in weight to provide the stimulus for adaptation. The “loading” for KB’s and therefore its’ adaptation, is limited to what size KB you can hold in your hand(s) – they’re not the “bread and butter” needed for strenght development. Compare KB’s to the axial loading potential, inherent systemic effect by central nervous system activity and joint and tissue strength barbell training offers and there’s no comparison. Body weight or loaded chin-ups/pull-ups are excellent choices as well because of the amount of muscles being used, work (f x d = w) being done… as well as they’re a natural and functional movement.

  7. Jarret

    November 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I’ve noticed more people in the gym seem to be focused on squats and deadlifts than in the past. It’s harder to find guys walking around with 20 inch biceps and stick legs. ;)

    • tommyg

      November 6, 2010 at 4:50 am

      That’s encouraging news Jarret! You can’t overlook the imporatnce of these foundational exercises.

  8. p90 x

    November 4, 2010 at 3:13 am

    This will be for those who really wanted it hard. Its good to know that you give a lot of emphasis on the squats because much more often this is always neglected though it is very useful exercise.

    • tommyg

      November 6, 2010 at 4:38 am

      Yes, both squats and dead lifts are extremely useful exercises that can be systemically grueling – hard efforts needed to maximize your potential.

  9. Dawn @ Probiotics LoveThatBug

    November 4, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Okay – I’ve just been admitting my total inability to do squats on another post. I seem to be surrounded by a universe determined to get me into squats tonight.

    I’m a million miles away from a true squat but I find that just by going as far as I can – and still return to my starting position – I am gradually getting better.

    It’s going to take time but I am pleased to see that a fitness expert is recommending squats so thoroughly as being one of the best exercises.

    • tommyg

      November 4, 2010 at 2:14 am

      Keep it up Dawn! When done correctly and to proper depth, you’re using alot of muscle.

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