5 Ways To Build Your Squat & Deadlift

Feb 01, 2023

Improving the deadlift and squat doesn’t necessarily mean you need to deadlift and squat more often. The guys at Westside Barbell almost never deadlift or squat competition style, yet they have some of the biggest deadlifts/squats in the world.

Why? Because they spend the majority of their training bringing up the agonist muscle groups that assist in the deadlift. They also work on developing the Rate of Force Development (RFD) to be more explosive.

Here is a simple and effective list that can help bring up your deadlift in as little as four weeks!

Measures To Improve Your Squat & Deadlift

Sled Pulls

Sledpulls are a great way to develop the posterior chain without any axial loading and can be done 3x a week. These are done in a “power walking” manner with aggressive heel-to-toe action and slight forward lean.
For example:

Monday: 5 Trips of 40 yards @BW on sled with sled straps attached to your weight-belt. Rest 60 seconds between sets.

Wednesday:  5 Trips of 40 yards @3/4 BW on sled. Rest 60s.

Friday: Perform 200 meters @1/2 BW at the beginning of your workout for a warm-up then 800 meters at the end of your workout 200 meters forward, 200 meters backward, and 200 meters laterally in both directions.

Wide Stance Box Squatting

The wide stance box squat can be done to a 13-15” box. Box Squats are done with a wide stance to ensure we are targeting the hips and hamstrings and by sitting back on the box to break up the eccentric and concentric phases of the lift. We be will using the box squat to develop force out of the hole so we’ll be using sub-maximal loads moving with maximal velocity.

For example, 3-weeks of:
Week 1: 5 x 5 @60% of 1RM Back Squat, every 60s.

Week 2: 5 x 5 @65%, every 60s.

Week 3: 5 x 4 @70%, every 60s.

The Zercher Box Squat

The Zercher squat is a great variation to add to your training and can be done with a variety of variations. The Zercher Squat will build your upper back and anterior core and isometrically tax your biceps.

Most people don’t perform the Zercher Squat simply because they are unaware of how effective it is or because it’s painful. These can be done to a box, no box, off of pins, or for carries.

The Reverse Hypers

Perform Reverse Hypers twice a week. Unfortunately, this open-chain exercise does not have a comparable scaling option if you do not have access to one.

Overall, the Reverse Hyper is a game-changer for not only strengthening purposes but also spinal recovery, due to the fact that it tractions the spine quite effectively.

For example:

Monday: Reverse Hyper: 4 x 25 @50% of Back Squat. Rest as needed between sets.

Friday: Strict, no swing Reverse Hyper: 3 x 20 @50% of Back Squat. Rest as needed between sets.

Standing Abdominal Work

 I love performing resisted ab-work from a standing position. This is nothing new but can be done at just about any gym even if you don’t have access to a cable machine. For example, perform 4 x 25 reps of Banded Ab Pulldowns 1-2x a week and weighted straight leg sit-ups: 4 x 10-15 1-2x a week will really go a long way.

We all know that we are severely limited with our squat and deadlift if our anterior core is weak. As such, training the core with heavier amounts of resistance has a huge carryover to your deadlift and will protect your lumbar with maximal weights.

High-volume Band Work

 Building up tendons and ligaments can be done with high-volume band work. 100-200 Reps 2-3x a week of banded leg curls from both a seated or prone position will do the trick.

You can also perform prone lying leg curls with ankle weights for up to 200 reps per leg. This will not only strengthen tendons to ensure you’ll never pull a hammy, but also provide an active recovery effect.

You can grab yourself a couple mini-bands from EliteFts and do these just about anywhere too.


There you have it! Give this stuff a try and you’ll be well on your way to improving your deadlift and squat. The cool thing is you’ll almost be guaranteed to see your other pull variations improve as well!