Exercises to Pair with Deadlifts and Squats (Supersets)


A picture containing person, person, young, board  Description automatically generated

There are several exercises you can pair with deadlifts, squats or even the bench press to create a superset-based workout.

The best superset pairings are going to help you build muscle mass and strength, increase endurance, burn calories and fat, and potentially cut your workout time in half.  

The “key” to a great superset is to alternate different exercises with your deadlifts or squats, eliminating the resting period, allowing you to get a workout in as quick and efficiently as possible.

Before we go into what exercises are great to pair with deadlifts and squats, let’s get a little more into what a superset is.

Superset Definition with Examples

A superset is when you alternate two similar, opposite, or unrelated exercises with one another, and no rest in-between the pairing exercises.

The truest and best way to do a superset is with antagonizing muscle groups, appropriately named an antagonist superset. This could be something like a bicep curl and a triceps extension.

The next way to do a superset is by compound or agonist superset. This is where you do a major exercise that targets a certain muscle group and pair that with minor exercise using the same muscle group. It could be something like a bench press paired with chest flies. A bodybuilder might be more inclined to use this type of superset.

Last, another way to do a superset is to pair an exercise that uses one muscle group with a totally unrelated muscle group. This type or superset could be something like a shoulder press and a squat or a deadlift and barbell row. This method allows you to easily get a full body workout in a limited amount of time.  A beginner or general exerciser might be more inclined to use this style of superset.

Exercises to Pair with Deadlifts and Squats (Supersets)


Deadlift Superset

A deadlift superset is one of the best ways to strengthen the entire body in a short amount of time. Picking an exercise to pair with the deadlift will depend on what you want to accomplish that day. If you decide to do a sumo deadlift, you will be using your inner thighs, glutes, quads and back muscles. Have a set of dumbbells nearby so you can quickly pair it with some bicep curls, shoulder presses, or reverse flies.

If you want to use the barbell you are using for the deadlifts to do the superset, you could pair the deadlift with a barbell row. The only problem is you probably won’t be able to put as much weight on the bar to do your deadlifts. If you are focused on muscular endurance, the deadlift and barbell row superset is a great way to keep your muscles engaged for a long period of time.

Other exercises to pair with a deadlift as a superset include:

  1. Pistol squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Pullups
  4. Romanian split squats
  5. Mountain Climbers
  6. Push-up Jacks
  7. Planks
  8. Bench Press
  9. Bicep Curls
  10. Dips

Squat Deadlift Superset

A great agonist muscle pairing workout is the squat deadlift superset. This challenging superset will keep your leg and back muscles engaged for an extended period of time. Since you will be loading your body on a squat, this exercise should be done first so you have the most energy to keep the weight stable and secure. If you want to make this even more challenging, pair this superset up with a bench press or pushup, giving almost your entire body a workout with only 3 exercises. Just make sure you do these 3 exercises safely and with correct form, so you don’t injure yourself along the way.   


Deadlift Combination Exercise

One way to superset your deadlift is through a deadlift combination exercise. This is where you do one rep of the deadlift and immediately go into a rep of something else. This could be something like a deadlift, a slight pause, and a hang clean for one rep. A faster and more fluid version of this would be the power clean. Adding another layer would be the shoulder press after the hang clean. The faster version of this would be the clean and jerk.

Pairing the deadlift with a barbell row is also a great way to do a combination exercise with a deadlift. Like I said before, you probably won’t be maxing out your deadlift if you’re going to be adding a barbell row to the exercise.


Compound Superset

Another great way to scorch a certain muscle group is with a compound superset or agonist superset. A compound superset will work the same muscle group in a different way. Let’s say you wanted to focus on the upper and lower chest. A perfect compound superset for this muscle group would be the incline and decline bench press or decline chest press paired with chest flies.


Combination Exercises for Weight Loss

Some of the best combination exercises for weight loss are going to use major muscle groups and high intensity exercises. If you want to superset a deadlift or squat for weight loss, then you need to pair those exercises with a stationary bicycle sprint, intense rowing, jump rope or anything that you can put your entire effort into. In this way, you start turning your combination exercises into a fat scorching HIIT superset. Not only will this burn calories and fat in a short amount of time, but it will leave your body healthier and feeling great.

Don’t forget to check out my article: Are Push-Ups Good for Weight Loss?


Summary: Exercises to Pair with Deadlifts and Squats (Supersets)

When you’re looking for great exercises to pair with dumbbells and squats, make sure you assess your goals and what you want to accomplish that day. A deadlift superset with pullups or bench press might do the trick and save you tons of time trying to get your full body workout in. Just remember, if you want to build muscle, increase endurance, burn calories, and cut down on your workout time, the deadlift or squat superset is the way to go.

Romanian deadlifts are a great exercise to pair with deadlifts. Check out my article: How to PROPERLY Do a Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbells (RDL’s)

Also check out my article: 10 Exercises to Superset with Bench Press (Pairings)

Recent Posts