Squat Alternatives

  • thebigtwist

    Posts: 102

    Oct 20, 2011 11:58 AM GMT
    Here's my beef with squats: the bar hurts my shoulders and I can never find that little cushion-pad to wrap around it. My old gym was very small, and I used to just go to the locker room, get my towel and wrap that around the bar. But now I'm at a big, public gym and I feel rather silly doing that.

    Yes, I'm sensitive to what strangers think of me. That's why I go to the gym. That's why you go to the gym. It's why we're on this website. Fitness is 10% health, 90% getting laid.

    So.....I'm looking for either:

    1) A solution to the squats-hurting-my-shoulders problem (am I just holding the bar wrong, or what?)
    2) A good alternative exercise


    If you're tempted to say "Learn to love the pain icon_biggrin.gif", don't. (Seriously, emoticons? It's 2011.) If you're tempted to say that exact phrase anyway, be advised that in addition to building muscle, I'm also interested in freelance stalking and contract killing.
  • honestsweat

    Posts: 182

    Oct 20, 2011 12:48 PM GMT
    Altus Athletic Nylon Barbell Pad

    $9.95

    http://www.amazon.com/Altus-Athletic-Nylon-Barbell-Pad/dp/B001FB5UL2
  • ryno

    Posts: 105

    Oct 20, 2011 1:02 PM GMT
    You can use use a pad as mentioned above, but comfort with the bar on your back typically comes with time in developing the trapezius for a natural cushion.
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    Oct 20, 2011 1:05 PM GMT
    _40829730_lunge.gif
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    Oct 20, 2011 1:17 PM GMT
    You can use a towel for the exact same purpose if you can't find the pad... or invest in one like someone else said icon_razz.gif
  • jim_sf

    Posts: 2094

    Oct 20, 2011 2:28 PM GMT
    ryno saidYou can use use a pad as mentioned above, but comfort with the bar on your back typically comes with time in developing the trapezius for a natural cushion.


    This.
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    Oct 20, 2011 3:44 PM GMT
    Are you serious? Ditch the pad. You're probably holding the bar too high up. My T1 protrudes out like no one's business and I still can do back squats no problem. It should be resting where your T2 vertebra is:

    squat-back.jpg

    Activate your shoulders to allow the bar to rest across as much of your shoulders and back as possible. Shrug the shit out of the shoulders. You can also try a front squat, but these are usually limited by poor shoulder/wrist mobility:

    difrontsquatcompromise.jpg

    THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT TO ANY SQUAT
    is depth! Make sure your thighs go past parallel. If you can't get that low, you need to work on flexibility.
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    Oct 20, 2011 3:47 PM GMT
    Who the f*** cares if you need the padding. Seriously, get over yourself.

    Get a pad if it is going to help you squat with good form and at a challenging weight for you.

    I see 90% of guys at the gym doing squats wrong either because A) they don't know what the hell they are doing, or B) they are trying to compensate for the bar hurting thier shoulders/back. It cracks me up when i see guys hyper-extending their knees in a squat, and then later complain about how painful legs days are and why they don't have good leg definition.
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    Oct 20, 2011 3:49 PM GMT
    To continue on bostonxfit's great post on form, also make sure your knees stay over your ankles as much as possible. Your ass goes BACK, NOT straight down. Pretend you are squatting over the nastiest port-o-pot and you don't want your ass to touch the toilet rim. If you cannot do this, lower the weight to where you can, and work on flexibility. Otherwise you are compremising you knees and they are REALLY expensive to replace.
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    Oct 20, 2011 4:02 PM GMT
    You need to keep your weight on the heels and outsides of your feet. At the bottom of the squat, you should be able to lift your toes off the ground and still be stable. If your heels come off, even a bit, you're leaning too far forward. Track your knees over your feet and never let your knees go past your toes in front. You can also try a goblet squat. The goblet squat is great to get the feeling of stability down:

    goblet-squat.jpg
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    Oct 20, 2011 4:13 PM GMT
    A trainer had me doing cable squats. Haven't gone back.

    Here's one variation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB4oK5ak9iI

    This is what I usually do. Arms extended.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUFtF48RJ2w&feature=related

    "90% getting laid". Heh. High-five!

  • camfer

    Posts: 891

    Oct 20, 2011 4:17 PM GMT
    I used to have pain from the bar during squats, too. And I don't squat with a lot of weight. For me I figured out that it was all in the bar placement. When I put the bar a little lower across the shoulders, all the pain was gone. If you're feeling pain, it's possible your bar placement is too high.
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    Oct 20, 2011 4:29 PM GMT
    Some have been mentioned already but I suggest trying front squats. Also goblet squats either with a kettlebell or dumbbell and lunges and reverse lunges with dumbbells. Also, although not exactly the same, you could incorporate deadlifts into your routine.
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    Oct 20, 2011 4:33 PM GMT
    Also there's this thing:
    31LLpbfmp0L._SS400_.jpg
    much more stable than a towel or a foam pad. Slips easily into a gym bag.

    e.g.: http://www.amazon.com/Manta-Ray-Squat-Pad/dp/B001QSZ078/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319128155&sr=8-2

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    Oct 20, 2011 5:26 PM GMT
    sunjockbill saidLunges do the trick for me....not being huge, I don't have to lift heavy to get results in my legs and glutes, just look online for articles on how to keep perfect form and you can ditch the squats if you're worried about getting hurt and you're on your way!


    Lunges work your hip flexors and the arches of your feet. Squats are quad and glut dominant. They are two different exercises.
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    Oct 20, 2011 8:00 PM GMT
    I believe your form is causing the pain. You're probably not squeezing your shoulder blades together enough. Better back posture made all the difference to me. I hated the feel of the diamond cut bar shredding my back before this adjustment. I also reckon I was placing the bar more on my neck than on the shelf that the trapezius creates.

    I suggest you check out your form and trooper along without padding. The padding just gets in the way. It doesnt feel the greatest but is definitely bearable.
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Oct 20, 2011 8:12 PM GMT
    thebigtwist saidHere's my beef with squats: the bar hurts my shoulders and I can never find that little cushion-pad to wrap around it. My old gym was very small, and I used to just go to the locker room, get my towel and wrap that around the bar. But now I'm at a big, public gym and I feel rather silly doing that.

    Yes, I'm sensitive to what strangers think of me. That's why I go to the gym. That's why you go to the gym. It's why we're on this website. Fitness is 10% health, 90% getting laid.

    So.....I'm looking for either:

    1) A solution to the squats-hurting-my-shoulders problem (am I just holding the bar wrong, or what?)
    2) A good alternative exercise


    If you're tempted to say "Learn to love the pain icon_biggrin.gif", don't. (Seriously, emoticons? It's 2011.) If you're tempted to say that exact phrase anyway, be advised that in addition to building muscle, I'm also interested in freelance stalking and contract killing.
    ok you big ole wuss. jeeze, do you need a sippy cup for your protein shake. ha ha ha just joking. somewhat. anyhow, the bar isn't supposed to be directly on our shoulders. secondly, you can try using the smith machine and you can do front squats. if that bothers you. then try using dumbbell squats.
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    Oct 20, 2011 8:12 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidAlso there's this thing:
    31LLpbfmp0L._SS400_.jpg
    much more stable than a towel or a foam pad. Slips easily into a gym bag.

    e.g.: http://www.amazon.com/Manta-Ray-Squat-Pad/dp/B001QSZ078/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319128155&sr=8-2



    I've got a manta for squats and have come to the conclusion that it's a mixed bag. It forces the weight of the bar over the correct area (like when you shrug to create a platform) which is great, but the front of it occasionally leaves the fronts of my traps bloodshot. It also changes the center of gravity somewhat and inhibits the natural hand roll of the bar on the way down. Without a doubt though, I can do more weight with good form while using it.
  • LaxJock16

    Posts: 784

    Oct 20, 2011 8:16 PM GMT
    Stop complaining and just do the squat... use proper form and who cares if the bar on your traps is a little uncomfortable... they will adapt to the bar and you won't even know the bar is there in time.
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    Oct 20, 2011 8:28 PM GMT
    You're probably doing a high bar back squat. Try low bar. For the difference, check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV3UdvXzSfY&feature=related
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    Oct 21, 2011 2:19 AM GMT
    You've gotten some good advice. Another thing - if your gym has or you can get a cambered bar, it might be easier on you. I've seen some curved, but this is an alternative http://www.newyorkbarbells.com/im-0200.html

    Compared to a straight bar, some find the cambered bar to sit better on the upper back and easier to hold in position. They're kind of expensive, so maybe you could talk the management into getting one. Maybe google and do some research to show them.

  • thebigtwist

    Posts: 102

    Oct 21, 2011 5:35 AM GMT
    19 great answers and 1 cunty answer. We are officially beating the Internet Average!

    Seriously though, thank you everybody for your advice. I had the suspicion that I was just doing it wrong and had underdeveloped muscles. (My personal trainer and I didn't get to squats by the time I ran out of money.) And then someone told me a horror story of some bodybuilder that got a pinched nerve from the squat bar, so I wanted to be sure.
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    Nov 12, 2011 7:58 PM GMT
    Trail_Runner saidWho the f*** cares if you need the padding. Seriously, get over yourself.

    Get a pad if it is going to help you squat with good form and at a challenging weight for you.

    I see 90% of guys at the gym doing squats wrong either because A) they don't know what the hell they are doing, or B) they are trying to compensate for the bar hurting thier shoulders/back. It cracks me up when i see guys hyper-extending their knees in a squat, and then later complain about how painful legs days are and why they don't have good leg definition.


    Talk about someone needing to get over themselves. Someone asked for advice, and you're being kind of a douche. Just saying.
  • DSM27

    Posts: 12

    Nov 29, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    I have a torn Thoracic Vertebrae, so I can not do much weight with squat bar, but there are plenty of Leg and core exercises to make up the difference. May take a little more work; but well woth it!
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    Dec 01, 2011 6:28 AM GMT
    It could be the way your holding the bar. Try keeping your hands close to your shoulders with your elbows pointed behind you. It'll add more stability and allow you to balance the weight of the bar a bit better. Kinda like what the guy in the pic's doing. Also, keep your back arched.. feet flat on the ground at all times.. and don't step too far away from the rack.. it's better to be close if you gotta put the weight down in a hurry.

    squat-back.jpg