Many individuals involved in the sport of powerlifting believe that the squat and deadlift have such similar lifting characteristics that the lifts yield comparable training results. The aim of this study was to compare and contrast biomechanical parameters between the conventional style deadlift and the back squat performed by 25 lifters competing in regional powerlifting championship. The 3-dimensional analysis incorporated 4 60 Hz synchronized video cameras for collecting data from 25 participants. Parameters were quantified at the sticking point specific to each lift. Kinematic variables were calculated at the hip, knee, and ankle. Paired (samples) t-tests were used to detect significant differences in the kinematic mean scores for the different lift types. The statistical analysis revealed significant differences exist between the squat (0.09 m/s) and the deadlift (0.20 m/s) vertical bar velocities. Differences were found for angular position of the hip, knee, and ankle between lifts. The sticking point thigh angles were quantified as 32.54 +/- 3.02 and 57.42 +/- 4.57 for the squat and deadlift, respectively. Trunk angles were 40.58 +/- 6.29 (squat) and 58.30 +/- 7.15 (deadlift). The results indicate the back squat represents a synergistic or simultaneous movement, whereas the deadlift demonstrates a sequential or segmented movement. The kinematic analysis of the squat and the conventional deadlift indicate that the individual lifts are markedly different (p < 0.01), implying that no direct or specific cross-over effect exists between the individual lifts.