Replacement for squats

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2014 8:39 PM GMT
    So I hurt my back lower back and my Dr advises that I not squat anymore. Obviously nothing can completely replace the squat but I'm looking for some good replacements.
  • fitartistsf

    Posts: 638

    May 28, 2014 10:52 PM GMT
    Try the leg press machine... seated, at around 45 degrees, like an astronaut in a capsule, pushing up. Do not lock out, or bring legs in to the chest completely, use more of a shorter range of motion, which is actually better for you anyway, keeping emphasis on the body part being worked.... Also, hack squats. I recently hurt my back as well, and my trainer has me use these two machines, with the shorter range of motion. Much less wear I feel on my lower back... Also, try reducing the weight being used, until you are not straining your back to try lifting, which does make most people arch their back... Also, the seated leg extension/leg curl machine...
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    May 28, 2014 10:57 PM GMT
    ^^
    Yup!
    leg press machine
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 28, 2014 10:58 PM GMT
    I can't put any significant weight on my back so reducing the weight of the squat won't offer enough resistance to be of much use. I have been using leg press both laying and standing, extension. But I was hoping for something more free weight.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    May 28, 2014 11:11 PM GMT
    The only thing sort of free weight that comes to mind is leg curls ... other wise I think you are going to have to resort some yoga poses, such a crossing you leg over the other then get into a sitting position (sort of a one leg squat without the up and down) or tree pose
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2014 12:51 AM GMT
    dumbbell one-legged stationary "lunges"
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    May 29, 2014 2:32 AM GMT
    I had a slipped disc in my lower back years ago, the doctor wanted me to stop squats as well. However, i just took my time to recover - and I am still doing squats.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    May 29, 2014 2:59 AM GMT
    I would consult with a chiropractor.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2014 3:58 AM GMT
    OnceUponATime saidI can't put any significant weight on my back so reducing the weight of the squat won't offer enough resistance to be of much use. I have been using leg press both laying and standing, extension. But I was hoping for something more free weight.

    Not sure I really understand the extent of your injury. If you you're unable to put weight on your shoulders (back squats), then can you put weight in front of your body? If yes, then you can do:

    Front squats
    Zercher squats

    For front squats, instead of a barbell, hold a dumbbell in front of you. Start out light, then work your way up.

    Zercher squats, try starting with an unloaded barbell. Then work your way up.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2014 4:29 AM GMT
    OnceUponATime saidSo I hurt my back lower back and my Dr advises that I not squat anymore. Obviously nothing can completely replace the squat but I'm looking for some good replacements.


    bye, bye, firm tight ass. LOL icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif
  • Camz03

    Posts: 91

    May 29, 2014 9:29 AM GMT
    When I got my lower back injury and struggled with squats in general, I adopted the incline leg press as my primary quads exercise. Though, to be fair, I've always struggled with the squat because of my anatomy: my torso is very long relative to my femur so I have to compensate a lot and that's not good, so I decided to do them less frequently. I actually found it to be safer (incline leg presses) and actually managed to gain way more size by steadily increasing the weights week by week.

    Hack squats are awesome alternatives that are also safer and easier to execute with correct form. It also targets the rectus femoris better so it builds some nice size higher up the thigh.

    If you're determined to still squat, just without using your back, you can try front squats (as a previous poster already mentioned). You can also do squats while holding heavy DBs or KBs by leaning against a Stability Ball against a wall. Also, the closer your feet are together while executing the deadlift, the more the quads are targeted rather than the glutes and hammies, so close-stance deadlifts or using the duck stance (pointing your feet outwards at 45 degrees with only your heels touching) may be an alternative worth a shot just to get some extra quad work in.

    Finally, there's single leg squats and single leg exercises that are great bodyweight exercises for increasing stability, control, and strength. Muscle and Fitness has a few cool articles on this:

    http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/legs-exercises/change-your-leg-workouts-single-leg-training
    http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/legs-exercises/one-leg-leg-press
    http://www.muscleandfitness.com/news-and-features/galleries/training/5-single-leg-exercises-serious-mass

    At the end of the day, there is really plenty you can do without using a barbell over your back for legs, so I wouldn't stress icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 29, 2014 12:37 PM GMT
    For 45 leg press.... make sure you decline the seat back as far as possible for sore backs!!!!!!!!!!

    Don't have the seat too upright as it curls the lower spine too much. Even the 45 leg press can cause back issues if it's not set up correctly dude! ...just sayin'
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    May 29, 2014 5:42 PM GMT
    I love doing squats as part of my leg routine. I just don't/can't go ATG.
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    May 29, 2014 8:14 PM GMT
    Yeah I would like to seek out an expert's opinion on this area but I'm not really sure who that would be. I know its not Dr's - they just say stop squatting period and err on the side of caution. Personal trainers are often not experts at much of anything. Chiropractor isn't a bad idea so I'll have to research that more.

    I have been doing front squats with no pain so I was wondering if that was fine. Hack squats look like an option too but I don't understand why those are ok since my spine is still supporting all that weight unless its simply the angle - however doc said not to do those either. Thanks for all the suggestions though. Hopefully I find something.

    I'm just really bummed since I haven't missed a legs day at the gym in probably 5 years and I was really hoping to break 500 lbs on a deep squat but I guess that'll never happen now. My friends tell me to get over it, its just squats, but I had put a lot of work into it for a long time and it sucks. icon_cry.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 30, 2014 1:33 AM GMT
    This might help illustrate why front squats are more comfortable than back squats..

    QbEnD5m.jpg
  • tddpt

    Posts: 12

    May 30, 2014 12:36 PM GMT
    As a physical therapist, I recommend that you seek out advice and at least a consult from a fellow PT before seeing a Chiropractor. Physical therapists are the movement specialists and will be able to analyze any asymmetries in your body with functional movements.

    I do not know much about your injury, but look into core stabilization exercises. Focus less on the superficial core muscles such as rectus abdominus and more on the deep stabilizing muscles - transverse abdominus and quadratus lumborum. Also google lumbar multifidus muscle exercises as that muscle is shown to be the main spinal stabilizer and often weakens and turns off with bouts of back pain. Utilizing simple core and pelvic strengthening exercise and patterns can help re-train your muscles to fire properly and effectively in order to decrease your low back pain.

    Try taking an NSAID - if it is a disc problem, this can help alleviate some swelling that could be compressing nerve roots and increasing disc impingement.

    Also, do not settle for going to a healthcare practitioner that tells you that you won't be able to do or return to an activity that you enjoy. As a physical therapist, it is our job to restore and maximize each patient's function. With proper treatment and education, you should be able to return to full functioning- I've seen patient with significant back dysfunctions that were able to return to their full sport after appropriate treatments! Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 31, 2014 5:06 PM GMT
    What about hack squats? Bulg Leg presses with DBs are are killer on the legs too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 31, 2014 8:50 PM GMT
    Try a new squat technique: Count 4 seconds on the negative, hold for 4 seconds at parallel or slightly below parallel, then extend to an upright position. It requires a fraction of the weight and you may find you can use dumbbells instead of a straight bar, thus eliminating direct pressure on the spine. I use this technique due to bad knees, but why not try it for a bad back?
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    Jun 01, 2014 3:14 AM GMT
    Try using the Icarian squat machine (too lazy to imbed pic so):



    When I herniated my neck I couldn't do free weight or even smith squats so I switched to these because I could take my neck out of the equation, keeping it completely relaxed and neutral. While doing so, I noticed that the plane of movement was far less aggravating on my low back if at all (I have a herniated L5S1) too. With the Icarian I'm also easily able to squat low and have found that I personally get better results going light-to-no weight with a full range of motion and high reps.
  • Cuchullain

    Posts: 64

    Jun 01, 2014 9:31 AM GMT
    Just want to echo what tddpt suggested - don't give up on squats without consulting a pt.
  • Triggerman

    Posts: 528

    Jun 19, 2014 10:04 AM GMT
    Do split leg deadlifts. It keeps you upright and pressure of your back.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 19, 2014 10:04 PM GMT
    Leg press machine where you are sitting down is my replacement. Less stress on hip, knee and back areas. In 10 years you don't need to be squatting 300 lbs even.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 20, 2014 2:06 PM GMT
    Pre exhaust all the muscles involved with some isolation work first, then use a lighter weight leg press.

    Kai greene uses this method to protect his joints.