Are Deadlifts And Squats Adequate To Strengthen The Legs?

Have you ever questioned whether or not squats and deadlifts are sufficient for developing your legs?
When it comes to training, however, less is often more. While it may be true that variety is the spice of life, this is not always the case.
To put this another way, in order to boost growth, do you really need to be doing a lot of leg exercises

Or are only the “Big Two” sufficient?

Are Squats and Deadlifts Enough For Legs

What Is The Squats?

Squats are a form of exercise that require keeping the back and chest upright while bending at the knees and lowering the hips. Squats help build strength in the legs and hips.

Squats can be performed with or without the use of weights, and they work a wide variety of muscles in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Squats can be performed with or without the use of weights.

Squats are a common kind of exercise because they are an effective way to increase general fitness, improve balance and stability, and build leg strength and muscle.

They are adaptable to a person’s specific requirements and capabilities, and can be performed by people of varying degrees of physical fitness.

What Is The Deadlifts?

Lifting a barbell or another type of weight from the ground to a standing posture is an example of the weightlifting exercise known as a deadlift.

The exercise puts a primary focus on the lower body muscles, such as the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, but it also activates the stabilizer muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and arms.

The deadlift is a type of exercise known as a compound exercise because it works a number of different muscle groups at the same time. As a result, it is an efficient and effective method for increasing both total strength and muscle mass.

There are several various kinds of deadlifts, such as the conventional deadlift, the sumo deadlift, and the Romanian deadlift. Each of these deadlifts puts a little more emphasis on a different set of muscles and uses a little different pattern of movement.

The deadlift is a difficult exercise that needs to be executed with correct technique and under the guidance of a certified trainer or coach, particularly for those who are just starting out in their fitness journey or who already have ailments.

Squats Or Deadlifts—Which One Make Better Results?

Both deadlifts and squats are good workouts for increasing strength and muscle in the lower body; however, the exercise that is ideal for you will depend on your specific fitness goals and the physical capabilities you possess.

The hamstrings, glutes, and lower back are the primary muscles that are used during deadlifts. However, the upper back, shoulders, and arms are all engaged during this exercise.

The deadlift is an advanced kind of lifting that necessitates careful attention to form and technique in order to prevent damage.

On the other hand, squats work not just the quadriceps and glutes but also the hamstrings and core muscles as well as the lower back muscles.

Squats are extremely adaptable in that they may be performed with or without weights and in a wide variety of various ways; as a result, they are suitable for individuals of varying fitness levels.

In the end, your fitness goals and unique requirements will determine which exercises are the most beneficial to you.

Including deadlifts and squats into your workout regimen is a good idea if your goals are to increase your total strength as well as the amount of muscle mass you have.

On the other hand, if you already have injuries or limits, it is probably preferable to talk with a skilled trainer or coach in order to establish which exercises are the most appropriate for your circumstances.

Are Deadlifts And Squats Enough For Legs?

squats for leg workouts

As a novice, you can get by with just deadlifts and squats to develop your legs enough.

The stimulation for growth in the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings that will be provided by these two exercises will be sufficient.

In addition to that, they will focus on working the hip flexors, the lower back, and the calves.

Nonetheless, as an expert lifter, it is recommended that you increase the amount of accessory work that you complete.

For a Novice, it is sufficient to focus on deadlifts and squats.

How far along you are in your fitness journey will mostly determine whether or not squats and deadlifts are sufficient for developing your legs generally.

I concur that a beginner only needs to focus on these two exercises; they provide more than enough challenge.

And when I say “beginning,” I mean someone who has not yet reached a plateau in their training.

Having said that, it is not always easy to determine whether or not you have reached a plateau in your progress.

When it comes to the squat and the deadlift, you should usually advance on the exercises once per week at the very least.

This could entail performing additional repetitions, but the more common option is to raise the weight that is being lifted.

It is possible to acquire additional weight on a weekly basis by using weight plates that are as little as one kilogram or two and a half pounds at most fitness centers.

In any case, it works wonderfully for gradually adding more weight to the main lifts each week.

If you continue to add this weight to your bicep curls on a daily basis, you will undoubtedly reach a plateau far more quickly.

There Are Times When A Plateau Just Isn’t A Plateau.

On the other hand, after a certain amount of time spent lifting weights, you will eventually reach a point where you are unable to add more weight to the bar.

It’s likely that even adding one repetition to a lift will be impossible for you.

Yet, this does not indicate that you have reached a plateau just yet.

A person who has lifted weights for a total of less than a year would be considered a beginner in my book.

The reason for this is that even after you reach a point where you believe you can no longer lift any more weight, it’s possible that this statement is not truly accurate.

When most beginners reach this point in their training, it would not be difficult for them to take a week off and find, upon their return, that they are able to add even more weight to the bar.

Hence, if you are still at this stage, the answer is yes; deadlifts and squats are sufficient for developing your legs.

You are performing the two most important workouts for the lower body.

Your muscles will be given an adequate amount of stimulus to continue growing as a result of the squat and the deadlift.

In addition, in comparison to a more advanced lifter, you can continue to use progressive overload in terms of reps or weight for a considerable amount of time.

Squats and Deadlifts Are Enough If You’re Strapped For Time

Even for advanced lifters, there are occasions when squats and deadlifts are all that is necessary for leg training.

There are some people who simply do not have the time to go to the gym five or six times per week for an hour or two.

The realities of life have a propensity to get in the way.

We each have our own unique duties, and the majority of the time, we have to schedule our training around these commitments.

If you have a significant other, children, a hectic work schedule, and a full social calendar, then you are going to have to make some concessions in your personal life.

Sadly, this may limit the amount of time and number of times per week that you may spend working out at the gym.

On the other hand, I do not consider this to be a negative development.

In point of fact, some of my most productive workouts take place when I am pressed for time and am aware that I need to get to the gym, complete my workout, and leave as soon as humanly possible.

At moments like this, I am hyper-focused on my workout, and when I do this, I typically concentrate on the lifts that provide the greatest return on my investment in terms of time and effort.

The squat and the deadlift are the two most difficult exercises there are.

Hence, if you find that time is of the essence for you, all you need to do to strengthen your legs is squats and deadlifts.

It’s Possible That Squats And Deadlifts Aren’t Enough For You, Depending On What Your Goals Are.

deadlifts for leg workouts

Now let’s look at the situation from the opposing viewpoint.

If you are an expert lifter who has plenty of time to exercise, it is possible that the Big Two will not be adequate to build your legs.

Maybe you participate in a sport that necessitates outstanding leg strength, mobility, flexibility, and endurance. In this case, your legs need to be in top shape.

Squats and deadlifts are, without a question, the most effective leg workouts available today. I’m not going to contradict what I’ve already said about them.

However, depending on what you want to accomplish, you might need to switch things up a little bit.

It is possible that you will require some further supplementary work in order to strengthen your weak regions.

Perhaps you place a greater premium on leg explosiveness than you do on bare brute strength.

It is possible that in order for you to be successful in the sport that you have chosen, you will need your legs to perform at an optimal level for sixty, ninety, or even more than one hundred twenty minutes.

In a nutshell, there may be hundreds of different reasons why squats and deadlifts are not going to be sufficient.

If this is the case, then it is possible that the time has come for you to incorporate some more exercises into your routine.

How To Improve Your Leg Growth By Adding Other Exercises To Your Routine Of Squats And Deadlifts

There are thousands upon thousands of fantastic leg workouts that you could be doing instead. If not more.

Single Leg Exercises

Single leg work is always the first option I consider for me personally.

I have a special fondness for walking lunges, steps ups, and the Bulgarian split squat is one of my all-time favorite exercises.


In addition, I am of the opinion that the glutes are likely one of the most important muscles, if not the most important muscle, to focus on developing through resistance training.

I mean, considering that the glutes are the largest muscle in the body, it makes sense to train the glutes regardless of the goals that you have set for yourself.

Training the muscle that makes up the majority of your body’s mass will assist you in reaching your goals of becoming more powerful, gaining more size, or reducing overall body fat.

The hip thrust is the exercise that I find to be the most effective for targeting my glutes.

I will perform the hip thrust exercise using a range of weighted items, my own body weight, both legs, or as a single-leg exercise. I will also complete the activity with both legs simultaneously.

There is no limit to the possibilities.

Having said that, there are a huge variety of workouts for the glutes that you can choose from.


The calves are a problematic area of the body.

Perhaps the most challenging region of the body to develop.

Squats and deadlifts are two exercises that will surely stimulate the calves, but it is quite improbable that your calves would grow significantly with only those two exercises alone.

If you want to focus on expanding your calves, then it is very necessary for you to engage in activities that are designed specifically for them.

On the other hand, I know folks who never workout their calves despite the fact that they have enormous calves.

Darn you genetics.

The Quadriceps And The Hamstrings

When it comes to exercising our legs, the majority of us appear to place most of our attention on the quadriceps and the hamstrings.

Squats and deadlifts are two exercises that will help you significantly improve your strength and size in these regions.

On the other hand, many of us choose to use machines in order to more effectively isolate certain muscles and, ideally, induce even greater growth.

Exercises such as the leg extension, leg curl, leg press, and hack squat are just a few examples.

You may even perform other forms of squats and deadlifts in order to focus more on these muscles than you would with the traditional exercises.

The front squat is an excellent exercise for building quadriceps strength as it isolates the muscle very effectively.

When it comes to working your hamstrings, the same can be stated of the Romanian deadlift as well as the stiff-legged deadlift.

Bottom Line

Are deadlifts and squats all that is needed to strengthen the legs?

The answer to this question, like so many others, is that it depends.

If you are just starting out, I would recommend sticking to the Big Two exercises because they offer plenty of opportunities for leg development and stimulation.

In addition, if you have a limited amount of time to spend in the gym, your best chance is to concentrate on the squat and the deadlift.

But, if you are an accomplished lifter or if you have special goals relating to sports, then it will be more beneficial for you to incorporate variation.

In spite of this, performing exercises like the squat and the deadlift should be a consistent component of your workout routine if you want to develop an excellent set of wheels.

The head coach of Crucial Bench, Chris Wilson, devised a new fitness routine that focuses on only THREE different types of workout moves.


Do squats and deadlifts work all leg muscles?

Squats obviously work more muscles than just the quadriceps, such as the hamstrings, glutes, adductors, and core, and deadlifts obviously work more muscles than just the glutes and hamstrings.

Is it okay to only do squats for legs?

On the other hand, if your objective is to achieve overall fitness, pure hypertrophy, or a more well-rounded growth of your muscles, then you probably shouldn’t only squat. For the best possible outcomes, you should combine this activity with a number of different types of leg work.

Can I only do deadlifts for legs?

Because they include an extension of the hips and the knees, deadlifts are usually considered to be a leg workout. This is because the exercise activates the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. However, because the back muscles, such as the lats and spinal erectors, are worked quite hard during deadlifts, this exercise can be assigned to either the back day or the leg day rotation.

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