Squat alternatives?

  • socalisurfer

    Posts: 68

    Sep 15, 2012 2:54 AM GMT
    My right knees been bugging me, actually hurting a bit, when I do heavy squats 225lbs +. I'm gonna get it checked out soon and was wondering if there any guys out there with knee problems and what leg exercises do you do if you cant do squats. My leg routine is squats, stiff leg deadlift, leg press, hack squat machine, leg curls, leg extensions, and a variety of calf exercises.
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    Sep 15, 2012 4:29 AM GMT
    One-Leg pistols and sprints maybe? If you're injured it's best not to stress it though.
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    Sep 15, 2012 4:58 AM GMT
    Bulgarian split squats
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    Sep 15, 2012 6:14 AM GMT
    My knees crapped out due to juvenile arthritis. Mostly, I'm waiting to discover a magic solution. However:

    Building up the other leg muscles through bicycling and running seems to help keep pressure off the knee.

    For some reason, I've found that lifting barefoot (there is a foam mat under the squat cage) is better than squatting in shoes.

    If you can't squat big, do it anyway with girly-weights and excellent form.

    Let me know when you find the perfect formula.
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    Sep 15, 2012 6:22 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidBuilding up the other leg muscles through bicycling and running seems to help keep pressure off the knee.

    This is what a physio might recommend. Good advice.

    mindgarden saidFor some reason, I've found that lifting barefoot (there is a foam mat under the squat cage) is better than squatting in shoes.

    Potentially hazardous, but theoretically sound: lets you concentrate on maintaining the longitudinal arches of your feet (which, if compromised, leads to all kinds of BS within the knee joint).

    mindgarden saidIf you can't squat big, do it anyway with girly-weights and excellent form.

    Couldn't have said it better myself. I approve. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 15, 2012 8:00 AM GMT
    I agree. Unless you have a specific reason for going heavy, I say just remove a few plates. Most of my leg workout comes from running. I rarely go heavy in the gym for leg workouts. And I only have two basic routines that I alternate every week..

    back squats
    good mornings
    calf presses using the leg press machine
    a little plyometrics that involve jumping

    front squats
    stiff legged deadlifts
    calf presses
    plyometrics

    I can't use the leg curl or extension machines. Those things put a lot of pressure on my knees and it's really uncomfortable. I've been thinking about trying the Zercher squat, just for the sake of variety. But not really high on my priority list right now. On a related note, I saw an infomercial for furniture moving straps that kinda mimic the Zercher squat. I thought it was kinda neat.

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    Sep 15, 2012 1:56 PM GMT
    This step-up exercise is easy on knees. It works the same leg/glute muscles as squats. By adopting light-weight, slow movement principals of German Volume Training, you can further decrease abrasion on the joint.

    Set the step-up rack so that your knee is at a 90 degree angle. Holding dumbbells in each hand put one foot on the step, lean forward and lift yourself to a fully erect one-leg standing position, then slowly decent with a full 4-5 second count, gradually leaning forward as you return to starting position. 6 sets of 10 reps each. Try to use the same weight throughout all sets. If you have a lot of difficulty completing all sets in perfect form, decrease weight. Move up in weight when you can do all sets in perfect form.
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    Sep 16, 2012 8:18 AM GMT
    One squat alternative is the parallel grip deadlift, which requires a trap bar or equivalent.

    See discussion under the question Can I Substitute Deadlifts For Squats?
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hardgainer14.htm
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    Sep 16, 2012 9:22 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]trampolini said[/cite]
    mindgarden saidFor some reason, I've found that lifting barefoot (there is a foam mat under the squat cage) is better than squatting in shoes.

    Potentially hazardous, but theoretically sound: lets you concentrate on maintaining the longitudinal arches of your feet (which, if compromised, leads to all kinds of BS within the knee joint).

    Potentially hazardous? How? I mean if you drop 225lbs on your foot it's going to hurt no matter what.

    Anyway.
    Are you sure that you are activating your glutes and rotating out your femur? (pushes the knees apart)
    Here's a Rippetoe page of squat help http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/Squat_Videos
    And you might want to have a look at Kelly Starrett's tips for mobilising for squatting http://www.mobilitywod.com/tag/squatting

    And of course back off maybe 10-20% weight while you are trying out this stuff.
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    Sep 16, 2012 11:13 AM GMT
    Have you experimented with placing the squats near the end of your workout? Although it is typically done early in a workout and then other exercises are used as finishers, maybe you could try it at the end so your legs are already fatigued and you don't need to go as heavy with the weights? Just a thought.
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    Sep 16, 2012 11:44 AM GMT
    grofte said
    trampolini said
    mindgarden saidFor some reason, I've found that lifting barefoot (there is a foam mat under the squat cage) is better than squatting in shoes.

    Potentially hazardous, but theoretically sound: lets you concentrate on maintaining the longitudinal arches of your feet (which, if compromised, leads to all kinds of BS within the knee joint).


    Potentially hazardous? How? I mean if you drop 225lbs on your foot it's going to hurt no matter what.

    Precisely. OH&S is a big deal, regardless of where you are in the world. icon_wink.gif

    EDIT: i.e. management will tell you off.