I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.
I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.
That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.
This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.
That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.
Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking a few of the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .
4:25 – “Is a 20% calorie deficit necessary or can you use a smaller one?”
16:34 – “Cheat meals are a bad idea, just use flexible dieting.”
29:43 – “Deadlifts are a back exercise, not a leg exercise.”
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
So I have written and recorded a lot of evidence based content over the years. Books, articles, podcasts, videos on all kinds of topics. Just about everything you can imagine at this point related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy. And I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances.
I’ve helped them get into the best shape of their lives. That doesn’t mean though, that you should just blindly swallow everything I say, because let’s face it, nobody is always right about everything, and especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving. Thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders, and this is why I’m always looking to.
Just acquire brand new pieces of information or knowledge, but also to revise existing knowledge to make it more right. I’m always looking to find out where I can be more accurate, and one way to do that of course, is to just continue to read and research and be willing to accept new ideas that run contrary to existing ideas I might have about how things.
And another fruitful source of help has been other people who disagree with me, especially those who have good arguments and good evidence to back up their assertions. Now, sometimes I don’t end up getting on board with their positions, but sometimes I do end up learning something new, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion and that gave me the idea for this series of podcast.
Episodes. It’s pretty simple. I’m going to publicly address things that people disagree with me on, and I’m gonna share my perspective. It’s gonna be like a APIC version of the q and a episodes that I do. So specifically, here’s what I’m doing every couple of weeks over on Instagram. At Muscle Life Fitness, if you wanna follow me, I’m asking my followers what they disagree with me on, and then I’m picking a few of the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I will be tackling the following. Is a 20% calorie deficit necessary or can you use a smaller one? And this comes from Tommy Al on Instagram and then, Cheat meals are a bad idea. Just use flexible dieting. This comes from Kohler, Roman, Instagram, and deadlifts being a back exercise as opposed to mainly a leg exercise.
This comes from, Here’s your boy on Instagram. Also, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef.
Now these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play, as well as in select. Barnes and Noble Stores, and I should also mention that you can get any of the audio books 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account.
And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audio books for free, just go to www.buy leg. That’s B Y legion.com/audible and sign up for your account.
So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence based strategies for losing fat, building muscle, and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books.
Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Strong. For women and the shredded chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipe. Righty. Let’s start at the top with the first regarding the calorie deficit. And I have been saying for a long time now that the best way for most people to lose fat. Rapidly, or at least as rapidly as you safely and healthily can, is to use an aggressive but not a reckless calorie deficit of about 20 to 25%.
So that’s why Tommy sent this over because he obviously thinks that a smaller deficit is also just as workable or maybe even better. He didn’t say exactly and so to this, I. Yes, you can use a smaller calorie deficit and it will work in terms of fat loss. Obviously now you’re not gonna lose fat as quickly, and I don’t generally recommend a smaller calorie deficit for most people.
I don’t recommend slow cutting for a few reasons. The first one is what I just alluded to. It takes longer. To get to your goal, if you use a smaller calorie deficit, and in my experience working with many people over the years, the longer a cut is, the more likely they are to fall off the wagon or throw in the towel, the more likely they are to make too many mistakes, usually in the way of over eating.
And then that, of course, slows down. Weight loss or even results in weight gain. And then that becomes discouraging. And in some cases people just get sick of it after a certain period. They no longer want to be in a deficit anymore, and so they just quit. And one of the reasons for that is for most people, and this includes me, A smaller deficit of, let’s say 10 or 15%, isn’t actually that much easier to stick to than a 20 or 25% deficit, even though it cuts fat loss in half, it certainly does not cut the difficulty or the discomfort of the cutting phase in half.
And of course, if you know what you’re doing when you’re cutting. So if. Use an effective calorie deficit, but not so large that it becomes starvation, dieting, and if you eat enough protein and if you don’t exercise too much, and if you spend most of your time training your muscles, ideally lifting weights, and you keep your cardio to, let’s say, an effective minimum, certainly no more than about half of the amount of time that you’re spending lifting weights, then cutting doesn’t have to be grueling, but.
It still comes with downsides no matter how well you do it. I don’t know anybody. I have yet to meet one person in all of these years who says they like cutting after, eh, let’s say week four to six for the first couple of weeks. It actually can be a nice change, especially if you’ve been lean bulking.
Essentially force feeding yourself for months on end. I haven’t done that in a while, but the last time I did, I remember how much I enjoyed my cut for the first several weeks, simply because I didn’t have to eat as much food, and that just felt good. That was a welcome change. However, after the fourth week or so, fifth week maybe, that’s when I started to feel a little bit lower.
Energy levels, a little bit of a drop off in. Workout performance a little bit more in the way of hunger and so forth. And of course that’s how cutting goes for pretty much everyone. There is a point when you really start to notice the calorie deficit and start looking forward to eating more food again.
And although I don’t know of any research on this point in particular, I have seen it many times over the years and have experience it myself that the difference between a small but effective calorie deficit and. Larger, maybe not large, but larger, effective calorie deficit is not very great in this regard.
Again, the 10% or maybe the 15% calorie deficit is not going to be much more pleasant than the 20 or 25% deficit, so why bother, if both of these approaches are going to be just as difficult, if it’s going to require just as much. Effort, psychologically, emotionally, as well as physically. Why not just lose fat faster for the same experience, or what is more or less the same experience?
I think it’s also worth noting that nobody is perfect about tracking their calories. I’m not perfect about tracking my calories when I cut, and that’s okay because you don’t have to be perfect, right? You just have to be good enough most of the time. And so what that means though is if you’re trying to maintain a small deficit, Very easy to just wipe it out on accident.
Whereas if you are using a larger deficit, you have a larger margin for error, right? So for example, let’s say you’re a dude and you can maintain your body composition on 3000 calories per day. Or maybe you’re a woman and you can do that. Which would mean that you are very active. I have not met many women that can eat that many calories every day without gaining fat.
Let’s just say 3000 calories per day is your maintenance, and you want to go for a 10% deficit. What that means is you have to make sure that’s okay. You’re gonna maintain this 300 calorie deficit every day, and that’s, That many calories. If you misread a few labels, or maybe you have an extra piece of chocolate or two, or maybe an extra banana or even just move a bit less, then your deficit could be completely erased.
And that’s an even bigger issue with women who have fewer calories to play with. Your average woman. Is probably eating about 13 to 1500 calories per day. If she’s active, quite active when she’s cutting with a maintenance of, 1800, maybe 2000 calories per day. And so let’s say it’s 2000 calories and she wants to maintain.
A 10% calorie deficit. Now it’s only 200 calories beneath her maintenance. If she just misuses food a couple of times per day. For example, let’s say she likes to eat oatmeal in the morning and she accidentally, she goes with. The cup, and that’s in her meal plan, a cup of oats. And if she knows what she’s doing, she’s going to also put the weight in there.
Because 50 grams of oats in a cup is a lot fewer calories than 80 grams. And you can fit 80 grams of oats in a cup, if she’s in a rush or just not quite paying attention, and it’s supposed to be 50 grams and maybe it’s 65 grams and. With the nut butter, the tablespoon is a bit too big, and maybe she takes a couple of extra bites of her starchy carbs at dinner that she made for her family.
I’ve heard from many women who cook for their families and run into these issues, right? Even just finding recipes that work for everyone that they can take what they want out of and that their kids will eat and their husbands will eat and whatever, but my point is it only takes a few of those minor.
Errors to go from a 200 calorie deficit to maybe nothing or even a slight calorie surplus. One other thing that’s worth noting is the larger deficit that I recommend in the range of 20 to 25% works just as well as a smaller deficit for the purpose of retaining muscle. If you do the other things I already mentioned, right?
If you are eating enough protein and training your muscles not doing too much cardio, I’d probably add in there getting enough sleep as well. The basics. If you’re doing those things correctly, then you can expect to minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss. With a calorie deficit of about 20 to 25%, and that’s been show in research as well.
A good example is a study that was conducted by scientists at the University of Uos, and what they did is they split their subjects who were 22, 35 year old, national and international. Level track and field jumpers and sprinters, and these were men by the way, but high level athletes with low levels of body fat.
So at or below 10%, they took these guys and they split ’em into two groups. So one group was maintaining a daily calorie deficit of about 300 calories, and this was about 12% below their. Total daily energy expenditure, so a 12% calorie deficit. And then the other group was maintaining a much larger calorie deficit of about 750 calories, and that was about 24% below their tde.
At least the average TDE for that second group of athletes, and both groups followed a high protein diet. So that’s good as far as design goes, because this is very, To what I’m talking about and what we like to do to improve our body composition. And what the scientists found is after four weeks, the athletes who were using the smaller calorie deficit, the 300 calorie deficit, lost very little fat and very little muscle, so there wasn’t much change in their body composition.
While the group that was using the larger calorie deficit, the 750 calorie deficit, they lost an average about four pounds of fat and. Very little muscle. And so anyway, the key takeaway here is you don’t have to use a 20 or 25% calorie deficit, but it does work best for most people who are just trying to get fit or even really fit.
Now, if someone were a natural bodybuilder, Prepping for a competition that would be different. It actually would make sense to use a smaller deficit, at least in the later stages of the cut. And that cut though might last five, six months, maybe even longer. And so it might start with a higher deficit. And because of how lean.
You have to get to step on stage as a body builder, like you have to get down to a true 5% or so, four or 5% body fat. And I’ve said this in a previous podcast, but to put a simple benchmark to it, you need to have striated glutes. You need to be able to see the muscle striations in your glutes. That’s when you know you are stage lean and to get there, you can’t just maintain a 20 to 25% calorie deficit straight from the beginning of, let’s say you’re a guy at 15% and just ride it straight down to four or 5%.
That’s not gonna work. Probably around, I would say the. 8% range. So you are almost certainly going to have to use a smaller calorie deficit. And some people would argue that you should use a smaller calorie deficit from the beginning, that you shouldn’t ever be at a 20 or 25% deficit. You should just give yourself a lot of time at a smaller deficit so you can retain as much muscle and workout performance as possible because of how lean.
To get, and I understand that. I don’t even necessarily disagree with that, but my guess is you are not a natural bodybuilder trying to get str glutes. You’re just more or less like me, you’re a guy or you’re a gal who just wants to be lean. Maybe you want, if you’re a guy, you want to be in the range of eight to maybe 13% body fat.
If you’re a woman, maybe you want to be in the range of 18, 17, 18, 22, 20 3%, and you just wanna stay there and to do that, to get to that level of leanness, you really don’t need to get fancy. Yeah, you might need to take some diet breaks, and I understand that, especially as you get leaner, as you reach as a guy, maybe that 15%.
Level, and as a woman, 25 or so, it’s probably smart at that point. If you are at 15% body fat as a guy, or 25% as a woman or lower to take a diet break maybe every six to eight weeks and you just raise your calories back up to maintenance for five days or so, you don’t really need to do it until that point.
But if you combine again, Aggressive but not reckless calorie deficit of 20 to 25%. With periodic diet breaks as needed. You can get quite lean and not suffer for it. Okay, let’s move on to the next topic here, which is cheat meals. And according to Kohler, Roman on Instagram, I’m just reading his handle, maybe his name is Roman Kohler, but Kohler Roman is his handle.
Cheap meals are a bad idea. Just use flexible dieting. I actually don’t entirely disagree with this, but I think it depends on you and your psychology and your relationship with food and how you define cheat meals. So to be clear, I definitely don’t support the Tim Ferris for our body style of. Cheat meal where you just stuff yourself with as many calories as possible.
And I don’t remember, he may even talk about a cheat day. I don’t advocate anything in that book. If you’ve read that book and if you’ve retained any of it, just delete it out of your memory. There’s nothing of any use in that book. And having the blowout meals, and even worse, the blowout days will. Get in the way.
If not, just ruin your progress all together. That’s dumb. And I’ve done it myself in the past. Just for fun. Go to a restaurant and eat an absurd amount of food just cause. And if you want to do that and you know that it’s not going to completely derail you, I wouldn’t recommend it when. Cutting because you can do quite a bit of damage if you’re like me and you can sit down and eat three to 5,000 calories with a lot of fat, you might undo quite a bit of the previous week’s, fat loss, maybe even all of it, if you eat enough and if you maybe combine some alcohol with the meal as well to really ramp up fat storage.
And so yeah, to be clear, that is counterproductive. But what I do generally recommend is just letting yourself indulge in an untracked higher calorie, maybe wonky macro, like lower protein than usual. For example, higher carbon fat meal, maybe once a week if you need that, or maybe less frequently if that works for you.
And if nothing else, it’s just nice to get a break from your meal plan. There’s the variety of just eating something that isn’t the same stuff that you’re used to eating every day. And then there’s the mental break and there’s a physiological satisfaction that comes with that as well. Even if it’s not boosting your metabolism or enhancing your hormone profile, you’re not gonna accomplish that with one meal.
Now, if you raise your calories to maintenance for five to seven days, you actually can cause some. Positive physiological changes that will make your next bout of cutting your next bout of a calorie deficit. Easier. One meal’s not gonna do that, but you can feel really good after the larger meal. That again, includes stuff you’re not normally eating.
And for me, when I’m cutting, especially as I get deeper into a. I find that I look forward to that cheat meal, if you want to call it that, or free meal as some people like to say, Some people avoid the word cheat in cheat meal because they think that carries a negative connotation, right? That almost ascribes morality to the meal, and I get that argument, but I’ve yet to find anyone in all these years and the tens of thousands of people I’ve spoken to.
That found that word triggering or that they found that when they called it a cheat meal, they were more likely to binge or fall off the wagon together. That has never happened, and so I say call it whatever you want to call it, but it really is just a meal where you’re probably gonna go to a restaurant and order an appetizer that you like and order an entree that you like and order a dessert that you like as.
You’re not gonna gorge yourself, but you’re gonna eat a lot more for dinner, let’s say, than you normally would. And if you make room for that meal by eating less earlier in the day, that’s fine. I think it’s generally a good idea because you still will get the satisfaction of eating the way that you want to eat for that meal without having to even be concerned.
Really at all about the calories that it contains. Because if you create a large enough buffer, and for me, for example, I’ve done this enough to know that about 1500 to max 2000 calories at a restaurant. That I like is a sweet spot, let’s say. Yeah, 1500 or so is a sweet spot where I can eat a good appetizer, entree and have some dessert.
Maybe if it’s a bigger dessert, I might split it with my wife or whoever I’m eating with, but I can enjoy a variety of foods and eat. To complete satisfaction. And I can eat a lot more than that too, but that’s where I’m just doing it because I want to eat a lot. I don’t have to I’m definitely surpassing the point of the feeling where I’m like, eh, I could be done now, I could put the fork down, if something is super delicious, for example, yeah, maybe I’m gonna eat a lot more of it just because.
And so when I’m cutting the cheat meal works well because I know that if I leave myself 1500 to 2000 calories, I can eat to complete satisfaction and maybe I’m erasing my deficit for the day, but that’s fine. I know that my calories are around maintenance for the day. Big deal. Another reason I’ve seen cheap meals work well for people is some people have trouble working smaller amounts of non-nutritious foods into their meal plan.
Some people have trouble allowing themselves just to. Small amount of food that they shouldn’t be eating too much of every day, and especially people who have been following wacky diets for a long time. And that also includes obsessive clean eaters, right? People who have obsessively avoided sugar and highly processed foods, and in some cases even natural sugars, right?
I’ve come across people. Over the years who thought they couldn’t eat fruit because the fructose in fruit is gonna mess up your liver and it’s gonna make you fatter and so forth. And so when you take somebody from that abyss and you try to bring them into the flexible dieting light immediately, it can almost be like, Too much freedom too quickly with their diet.
I’ve seen it many times where these people, they’ll go completely off the rails because they have exerted themselves so strenuous for so long to not eat certain foods, and now they’re told that they can eat them. Yeah they’re supposed to pay attention to their numbers, but really nothing.
Limits, and they just can’t help themselves. It’s like a prisoner of war who’s then brought from the camp into the delicious Las Vegas buffet and told to try not to overeat, dude. And so then what happens with these people is the flexible dieting experiment goes horribly wrong, and the only thing they know is what they were doing previously.
And so then they revert. To their old hyper rigid habits, and then that can even turn into the binge and purge cycle, yoyo dieting and other problems. And so a good compromise in between those extremes. Again, this is specifically with people who are not confident yet in their ability to control what. Eat is really what we’re talking about.
A good compromise is the cheat meal concept, right? So where they’re following a meal plan. So they have that structure that they used to have. And when I’ve worked with people, of course their meal plans are now more enjoyable because I’m gonna let them eat the banana like I’m not. Too concerned that, they once thought that the banana is gonna make them fat.
Okay? Now they know they can eat bananas. I’m not too concerned with them going on a banana binge. And so we put together a meal plan that they like, and it often does contain some nutritious foods that they weren’t eating before because they thought that gluten was bad and that. The root of all of their body composition and their health problems was this relatively harmless little protein in the oatmeal that they like to eat or whatever, right?
So we’ll give ’em the oatmeal and the non-nutritious foods though is what we pay a little bit more attention to. And maybe they’re not gonna be eating those every day. Maybe we do save those for just one meal a week. And I’ve found that with many people, they get into a workable rhythm where they’re eating and they’re looking forward to.
Cheat meal, for lack of a better term. They pick out recipes and they try different things, and then when they are comfortable with that routine, we can move them to the daily indulgence approach if they want to. And I’ve seen that with many people again, where they were able to consistently follow their meal plan and they were able to consistently enjoy their cheat meals without turning them into disasters.
And then from there, Were able to go back to their meal plan and shave out some calories for some daily treats. Again, it’s totally cool if you want to use up to, let’s say, 20% of your daily calories for non-nutritious foods, if the remaining calories are nutritious, and of course nutritious means you still have to eat a lot of good things, but it should be things like lean protein and fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes, And so that’s my current position on cheat meals.
For most people, they are a useful tool when cutting. Even if they are also using a portion of their daily calories for treats, it still can be nice to look forward to that restaurant meal, for example, and you might save up some calories for it and not worry about it too much. Again, even if you overread a little bit one day a week, it’s really not a big deal.
And I would say that cheat mails are also the same, would apply to maintaining as well. Really, And as for lean bulking, you can do that, but I would recommend ensuring that you create enough of a buffer. Try not to end that day in a large surplus, because when you are in a calorie surplus every day, you will be steadily gaining fat.
And if you throw, let’s say, one big cheat meal per week into the mix, and you look at the accelerated. Fat gain that comes with that, that can actually cut into your lean bulking phase quite a bit. It can force you to stop quite a bit earlier if you look at it over the course of several months. Like ideally when you’re lean bulking.
I would say the bare minimum, I would lean bulk would be three months, but I ideally, I’d be looking to go probably at least six months. And if you. Were to have a big cheat meal every week, which let’s say in that meal you are gaining from that meal, you are gaining about a half a pound of fat, maybe a quarter to a half a pound of fat, which you can do if you eat a lot of food.
And again, if it’s a very fatty meal and you throw an alcohol, you can certainly do that. Then you might be doubling your rate of fat gain for the week just by doing the cheat meals, which of course then would force you to cut your lean bulk short. Because as a guy, you really don’t wanna be going past 16, 17% body fat.
And as a woman, maybe 26, 20 7%.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world, Bigger, leaner, Stronger, and Thinni Leaner, Stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.
Okay. That’s enough for that one. Let’s move on to the final challenge, which is regarding deadlifts. He’s challenging my claim that deadlifts are a back exercise, and he’s saying that they are mainly a leg exercise, and the deadlift is a difficult exercise to classify in terms of one major muscle group.
It is not just a back exercise, it is not just a. Exercise. It’s really a posterior chain exercise, meaning that it trains most of the major muscle groups on the backside of your body. And so the deadlift is really a back and. A leg exercise. And to be specific, if you look at EMG studies on the deadlift to see which muscle groups it most activates, and I understand that doesn’t necessarily translate into muscle and strength gain, but it still just gives you a good idea of whether or not an exercise.
Is effective at all for training a muscle group. What you find is that the deadlift certainly causes quite a bit of muscle activation in the lower body. So for example, a study conducted by scientists at Texas State University found that the deadlift caused greater hamstring activation than the squat, which is not surprising per se, because contrary to what many people.
Believe the squat is primarily a quadriceps exercise. It is not very good for training the hamstrings and the deadlift is the other way around. It’s great for training the hamstrings, not so much for the. Quads, the quads are involved and maybe you could count deadlift volume towards your quads, but I wouldn’t count it at a ratio of one to one.
Meaning I wouldn’t count one set of deadlifts as one set for my quads. I’d probably discount that by 50% maybe. I’d say it’s a one set of deadlifts is like a half of a set of volume for the quads. There was another study that was recently published in. Journal, p o s one, I’m not sure of, is it pronounced plus?
I always just say the acronym, but anyway, what they found is that the muscle activity in the deadlift was from the highest to lowest, the spinal rectors, the glutes, and the hamstrings, and then the quads. So again, those are the main muscles. It’s training are on the back side of the body and. The lower back, of course, the spinal rectors and they run up your back, but you’re gonna feel it a lot in your lower back and you’re gonna feel a lot in your glutes.
You’re gonna feel it a lot in your hamstrings. And then there’s the upper body component of the deadlift though, because it trains your. Upper back, it trains your core, it trains your biceps to a lesser degree, and as far as the upper back goes, it trains your traps particularly well. Again, if you look at EMG studies on trap activation during the deadlift, you’ll find that it is very high.
It is in the top three or top four. It is about as high as these spinal rectors and the glutes, for example. And so what do we have then? We have, again, this is like a whole. Body exercise, a posterior chain exercise that is great for developing your back because the traps are big muscles. If you’re not sure what those muscles look like, I mean everybody knows, Oh yeah, they’re the neck muscles that come up, but they also run down your back.
So if you just head over to Google or duck dot go. If you’re like me, because you try to stay away from Google as much as possible, do an image search for traps and you’ll see what I mean. So these are. One of the major visual components of your back and the deadlift is a great way to train your traps.
And of course you can do shrugs. That’s another great way to train your traps. And you can do other pulling exercises. That works too. But the deadlift is definitely a good trap exercise. Now many people think the deadlift is a great lat exercise as well, and it’s not really because the primary role of the lats in the deadlift is stabilization to stabilize your arms and your upper back.
And while there’s definitely some isometric tension, you are not activating your lat nearly as much as your traps, For example, in the dead. Or nearly as much as a pull up or a lat pull down. Those are much more effective exercises for the lats than the deadlift. And so then where does all of this leave us?
Is the deadlift a lower body exercise? Is it a leg exercise more than an upper body or a back exercise? As you can guess, based on everything I’ve just explained, I think it’s pretty balanced. Your glutes obviously are big muscles, heavily involved in the deadlift. Your hamstrings are not so big muscles, but still a fairly big muscle group that is not involved as much as the glutes, but is definitely involved.
Your quads are very big muscles that are also involved to some degree, and then on the upper body, you. Big traps. Those are involved. You have the spinal rectors as well. Those are very heavily involved. So all told, again, I would just say it’s a posterior chain exercise. The upper and the lower half. And as far as programming goes, I prefer deadlifting on a pole day, so I prefer deadlifting and then doing more back work as opposed to deadlifting and then doing more lower body work.
So I would prefer to deadlift and then barbell row and maybe seated cable row or chin up or pull up over. Deadlift squat, leg extension, leg curl, for example, because squatting after heavy deadlifts is very difficult and might even be a little bit dangerous if you are squatting heavy weight because your back muscles in your spinal rectors in particular are going to be.
Fatigued from the deadlift, and you need your back muscles when you squat. You need them to help keep your spine in a neutral position. You need them to ensure that your hips and your shoulders are rising at the same rate. So if you don’t have enough back strength, either just in general or because you just blasted your back with some heavy deadlifts, what you can find is you.
Go to squat a weight that, let’s say you normally handle first thing in a workout and the squat is the first exercise and your back muscles are fresh. If you’re used to that, and then you were to change your programming to start with some heavy dead lifting and then try to do what you normally do on the squat, what you might find is that as you are rising, your hips are outpacing your shoulders.
You’re unable to keep your shoulders and your hips rising. Same level pace, which of course is important for your form because what you don’t want to do is have your hips shoot up and your shoulders stay down, and then use your back like a lever to raise the. The weight, almost like a good morning.
That’s how you get hurt. And so that’s one of the reasons why I like to deadlift first thing in a workout, and I like to combine it with other back work as opposed to lower body work. Now, if I were to combine it with lower body stuff, it would be. Isolation exercises are just less difficult, lower body exercises, so I might deadlift and then do some leg extensions or leg curls.
That would be totally fine. Lunges would be fine. Bulgarian split squat would be fine. Not that those are easy exercises, but they don’t require the back strength that the barbell squat. Requires, and particularly the back squat, the front squat, a little bit less but still probably enough that I would prefer not to front squat after a few sets of heavy dead lifting.
All right, that’s it for this episode of Says You. I hope you liked it. I hope you found it informative. I hope it helps you reach your fitness goals faster. And if you want me to address something that you disagree with me on, I’d love to hear from you and the best way. Reach out to me as email. Just send me an email, mike muscle for life.com or follow me on Instagram, Muscle Life Fitness and send me a dm.
I do post in my stories once or twice a month, just asking people to give me material for these says You episodes. So you can wait until you see that, or you can just send me a DM and say, Hey Mike, I disagree with you regarding. Blah. And if it’s something that just strikes my fancy or if it’s something that I get asked about fairly often or I have to address fairly often, then chances are I will pick it for one of these episodes.
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That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at multiple life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.