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Squats with Chains Over Deadlifts: Ben Patrick's Essential Exercises for Vertical and Speed

Udhay Chatha, [26/06/2023 03:14]

@Kneesovertoesguy where is Snatch Podium Deadlift in your exclusive short list of most fundamental basic exercises for freak vertical and speed like I know Squats with chains is pretty high up for you so would this be also? And would you put bands or chains with it to match the strength curve like the squats with chains?

Ben Patrick, [26/06/2023 04:24]

Udhay it’s not on my list of essentials. The reason is that full squats with chains so effectively allow leg strength gain, much better for most people than full range deadlifts because you can express your strength with more intent, without technique/bar getting in the way.

Meanwhile, ATG split squats and ATG-style Seated Goodmornings so effectively address mobility and lower back strength from a deep position.


I use split squat, seated GM, and squats with chains BECAUSE of so much experience coaching freak athletes.

Someone could absolutely still use full range deadlifts. In this case I would use them in ADDITION to the above list - not in place of.

Hopefully that gives more context.

Full range deadlift with bands works like full squats with chains - in THEORY - but is trickier to set up, and gets weird on the strength curve and the grip. Again, in theory it sounds great but in practice I see better results with full squat with chains. For that reason, if you add full deadlifts I think this is GREAT, just not in PLACE of squats, to ensure you’re really challenging your legs and not letting technique prevent a high-enough level of intent.

Last context… Some exercises more easily allow big INTENT and strength gain. Squat with chains is one of them. The trickier the lift… the more personal coaching affects the result. Example:

Full split squats CAN be a great strength exercise! But I prefer to use them for mobility purposes online (meaning focus on max mobility, not risking heavier loads), and MEANWHILE focus on squat w/ chains strength increase.

In each case the given intent is easy to apply. It’s trickier to apply max strength intent to split squats than to squats. And it’s trickier to apply max leg strength intent to full deadlifts than to squats. Easier to cheat with back. Easier to “workout” but not actually push near enough to your limit. But with a one-on-one coach watching each set, you might get 10X more out of it long-term than without.

So different lifts vary in how easy it is to get different gains. I like to “specialize” in mastering as few things as necessary, but this doesn’t mean I ever stop exploring. I did full deadlifts with bands 3 weeks ago. I could tell it was much trickier to apply intent than squats with chains. So I left it at that and we’ve seen amazing results lately at ATGHQ from a clear-as-day focus on squats with chains.

Hope that helps!

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