A Biomechanical Comparison of the Back Squat and Hexagonal Barbell Deadlift

Cody A. Stahl, Giancarlo Regni, Jonathan Tanguay, Maddie McElfresh, Eoghan Trihy, David Diggin, Deborah L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A biomechanical comparison of the back squat and hexagonal barbell deadlift. J Strength Cond Res 38(5): 815-824, 2024 - Coaches often use different exercises to encourage similar strength adaptations and limit monotony. Anecdotally, the hexagonal barbell deadlift (HBD) exhibits similarities to the back squat (BS). To date, research has not examined the empirical differences between these exercises. This study examined kinematic and kinetic differences between the BS and the HBD across different loads. Sixteen resistance-trained individuals (6 men and 10 women) volunteered to participate. Subjects performed 1-repetition maximum (1RM) testing under BS and HBD conditions. Kinematic and kinetic data were collected during performance of both exercises at submaximal (warm-up sets) and maximal (1RM) loads using a 3D motion capture and force-plate system. Results showed that subjects lifted greater 1RM loads in the HBD relative to the BS (p < 0.05; d = -1.75). Kinematic data indicated that subjects exhibited greater maximum forward lean of the trunk and decreased maximum knee flexion while performing the HBD compared with the BS. The BS resulted in higher maximum extension moments at the hip joint than the HBD. Maximum extension moments at the knee joint showed no difference between the exercises. Data suggest that bar design and position facilitate balanced moment arm length at hip and knee joints during performance of the HBD. By contrast, bar position during performance of the BS increases moment arm length at the hip joint, making it a hip-dominant exercise. The present data have implications for the programming of both exercises. Future research should examine differences in muscle-activation strategies between the 2 exercises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-824
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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