The basic form is the same as any regular squat, except that you’ll be holding a dumbbell up at chest height with your palms facing upward and elbows tucked in. ... the movement could do you more harm than good — and that’s why it’s good to have a few alternatives in your back pocket. But there are many different squatting variations that can relieve the strain on these vulnerable areas yet still provide a stimulus to the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and the rest of the body comparable to putting a barbell on your back and banging out reps. Below are six such exercises. But more important for those with lower-back issues, front squats force the torso to remain more upright than back squats do (otherwise the bar will fall forward and drop to the floor), thus relieving some of the strain on the spine.). Similar to front squats, Zercher squats require you to maintain a more upright torso, and they also allow you to achieve a greater depth at the bottom. Rather than placing the bar across your upper back as you would with a regular squat, what you’ll do instead is hold the bar in front of your body inside the crook of your elbows. If you are looking to develop your lower body but you find the hack squat dangerous, you can use the alternatives below: 1. Reverse the motion, letting your glutes track backward, to lower back down. in total). Reverse the direction, driving up forcefully through the forward heel to the start position, using the back foot for balance. Even if you don’t have a squat rack available, all it takes is a basic barbell or pair of dumbbells (or even just your body weight alone) and there are a variety of different squat alternatives you can make use of instead. LEAN: WHICH PHYSIQUE IS BETTER? (1). This makes them ideal for home leg workouts if you have no squat rack available, or if you’re traveling and don’t have access to heavier weights. That upright torso is the main reason people with bum lower backs prefer the Jefferson. Once you can perform pistol squats with proper form and have built up some decent strength on them, you can increase the resistance by holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Key Training Tips: Keeping your core tight, chest out, and back flat, stand up with the bar by forcefully extending your hips and knees, pressing through your heels. Front squats are a great alternative to regular barbell back squats and train the lower body very effectively with the added bonus of placing less stress on the lower back. Thanks for checking out my article! Once you’ve completed your desired number of reps, you can simply drop the bar back onto the floor. To perform pistol squats, stand with your feet about hip width apart and raise one foot very slightly off the floor. So, if power cleans are a new movement for you, just go with lighter weights and higher rep sets until you’ve built up your overall strength further. NO PROBLEM (7 BARBELL SQUAT ALTERNATIVES), 12 Common Bench Press Mistakes And How To Fix Them, The Best Bodybuilding Carbs Sources For Muscle Growth. Another standout among Squat variations is the Split-Squat, ideally loaded with dumbbells in each hand. Key Training Tips: Your palms can either be both facing forward or staggered so that one faces forward and the other back—whatever you prefer. Keep your back flat (not rounded) and your spine in a neutral position on both the positive and negative portions of each rep. For more training programs, as well as nutrition and supplement articles to complement them, check out Plug any one of these moves into your leg routine where "barbell squat" shows up, and you can reap (mostly) the same strength and muscle-building benefits offered by the "king.". Dumbbells, resistance bands and kettlebells offer a wide range of resistance options appropriate for all fitness levels. To perform them, hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and use a staggered stance with one foot up on the bench behind you (toe pointing down) and the other foot forward. Dumbbell squats are made up of some exercises that are designed to strengthen the lower body. The dumbbell squat is an alternative exercise to the traditional barbell squat. Keep your head up, and while maintaining a tight upper back and flat lower back, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then drive yourself back up. The best part about stiff-leg deadlifts is you can use either dumbbells or a barbell to perform them, and they force the hamstrings and glutes to do large amounts of work on both the eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) phases of the movement. . You can train this exercise for different purposes by varying the execution, but in the video I hold the dumbbells in the rack position. (BODYBUILDING & SPORTS). Descend down into a squatting position while extending your arms and opposite leg out in front of you until your butt is just short of touching the floor, and then drive yourself back up into the starting position. The side-lying dumbbell clamshell is performed lying sideways on the floor with your knees bent at 90-degrees. I know that there are alternatives out there (dumbbell/smith machine) and I seem to see most, females especially, doing their sumo squats with a dumbbell - a lot of the time on a raised platform. Explosively jump up, land soft, and lower your body back into a squat position, taking a full count of four to get there. Here are 9 alternatives to lat pulldowns to strengthen your back. When using an angled machine rather than one in which the bar strictly travels straight up and down, always stand inside the unit, and face outward to better match the natural arc of the bar. These are a fantastic squat alternative for people who have a lagging posterior chain (i.e., muscles of the back, glutes, and hamstrings). If back squats must be avoided due to low back pain, try bottom up squats. Key Training Tips: This is an especially good choice when you do squats later in your leg workout (which you might do when you want to go lighter, as the legs will already be prefatigued). It might look easy, but Zercher squats are actually quite a challenging exercise to perform. Why It's Sub Worthy: This exercise is often referred to as the Jefferson "deadlift," but the upright nature of the torso more resembles a squat than a traditional deadlift, where you're forced to lean further forward because the bar is in front of both legs. This will allow you to squat big, and squat deep, without placing stress on your back, shoulders, etc. Getty Images. Zercher squats are ideally done inside of a squat rack, but they can still be performed without one by sumo deadlifting the bar off the floor, resting it on your thighs and then hooking your arms underneath. All rights reserved. I know barbell squats can be tough on your lower back and knees—trust me, I've had back issues myself. Secondary muscle groups are the hamstrings and calves. The side-lying dumbbell clamshell is one of the best exercises to target the glute medius, which is a primary muscle group in the Cossack squat. I do strongly recommend, however, that you include some form of squatting motion in your training program on a regular (at least weekly) basis, as it's a fundamental movement not only in the realm of training and athletics, but in real life as well. This is basically a hexagon shaped bar that you stand inside of and then grip the handles on the sides as seen above. Can you imagine being the basketball player who replaced Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls? Yes, the barbell back squat is the "king of exercises," and I'm as big a fan of the move as anyone. 3 Back Friendly Barbell Squat Alternatives. It's this lunge orientation that allows you to keep your torso perpendicular with the floor and clear from the excessive forward lean that often causes lower-back strain. For example, placing your feet further forward (something you can't do with a barbell) targets the glutes for those who want to emphasize that area. Even though the post is a bit old it’s still very relevant, so I have a question on yet another alternative: The Front Squat, which is like the Goblet Squat, but where instead of a dumbbell you use a barbell and load it directly on your body instead of holding it in front. The dumbbell step-up is a classic single-leg exercise that can provide an effective alternative to the front squat. Hey! But if dumbbell curls with Campbell's aren't cutting it anymore, fitness pros say you don't have to shell out extra money to work out at home with dumbbell alternatives. A regular dose of this well-known exercise can help you build strength and add size to your entire lower body, especially your quads. All you really need is some sort of sturdy apparatus that lets you safely unrack and re-rack a loaded bar, and to where you can drop the bar off of your back if you were to get stuck during the exercise. Because of the bar position (held in front of your body rather than resting on your upper back) you won’t be able to handle as much weight and can overload your quads sufficiently while using lighter loads. Here are 4 “bulletproof” non-squat exercises that will help you build your legs! 2 Reasons Against Dumbbell Squats. 7 Best Hack Squat Alternatives And How To Do Them. There are two types of barbell back squats: High Bar Squat; Low Bar Squat; As the names suggest, the high bar squat is a back squat with the bar position higher up on the back and neck while the bar position for a low bar squat is much lower. 5777 N Meeker Ave, Boise, ID 83713-1520 USA, Single-Leg Barbell Squat (aka Bulgarian Split Squat). If you really have no way of doing this, then one of the 6 squat variations outlined below can be used instead. In any case, if you’re serious about fully optimizing your muscle building results, I’d suggest putting in some effort first to see if you can find a solution for performing barbell squats from home either by purchasing a rack or building one somehow. This exercise is not complicated to execute. who can crank out 5 reps of split squats on each leg with two 100-lb. Over a count of four, lower into a squat position. According to a 2009 study on front and back squats in trained individuals, front squats exert fewer compressive forces on the knee and “may be advantageous compared with back squats for individuals with knee problems such as meniscus tears, and for long-term joint health.” 1 Furthermore, front squatting less weight resulted in identical muscle activation as back squatting more weight. Or the quarterback who will replace Tom Brady when he hangs up his cleats? If you did enjoy this post, don\'t forget to sign up for my newsletter that delivers science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss tips, macro-friendly recipes, motivational strategies and more straight to your inbox every week: And if you\'re into social media, make sure to connect with me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and more for additional fitness tips and updates: on NO SQUAT RACK? From there, begin lowering yourself down by flexing the knee and hip of your front leg until your rear knee is just short of touching the ground. I have been doing sumo squats with a barbell continuously throughout my training. How Much Muscle Can You Gain Naturally, And How Fast? Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat These are performed with one foot elevated behind you on a bench and the other firmly planted out front. The hack squat only develops your glutes, thighs and front legs. Why it works: This squat alternative activates your hips and glutes and creates a … ). Once you reach the bottom position, press yourself back up until your front knee is just short of being locked out. But what if you have no squat rack available and aren’t able to do traditional barbell squats due to the lack of equipment? ), DOES PLAYING SPORTS HARM MUSCLE GROWTH? Before diving into the list of exercises below, one question to ask yourself first is whether or not you’ve truly exhausted your options when it comes to setting up your own squat rack. Though effective, you may grow weary of performing the same exercise all of the time. While we’re on the subject of deadlifts, another variation that places more emphasis on the lower body as opposed to the back and could technically be used as a squat alternative would be a trap bar deadlift. Perhaps you train from home, or at a very basic gym that doesn’t have one available. You’ve likely seen these being performed in the gym as they’re a fairly common squat variation. Proper power clean form involves many small technical details that are beyond the scope of this article, but for a very brief and simplified explanation you can check out this video. Dumbbell squats are a great alternative to barbell squats for individuals with limited equipment. Most of it is about it bulking you up (aimed at people trying to stay slim), but some of it is about the wear and tear it puts on your body. It lets you adjust your foot position to target different areas of your legs. You can also perform these with a kettlebell if you prefer. Bend at the knees and hips, letting your glutes track backward, to lower yourself into a squat. Avoiding squats because of lower-back pain? 1. When your quads reach parallel with the floor, drive up forcefully through your heels to the standing position. Traditional Squats. This is a key benefit for anyone with lower-back issues. But if you're concerned that squats will increase your risk of injury—or you just flat-out don't like doing them—then don't perform them in the traditional sense. Squeeze your glutes together at the end range of movement, while avoiding hyperextending the low back. The bar sits significantly lower on the body (at the midsection, not up high on the back), which reduces the compressive forces on the spine considerably. When your thighs reach parallel or the bar touches the floor, drive up to the standing position. Not to worry – in this post I’ll be going over 7 squat alternatives you can use instead that require nothing more than a basic barbell or set of dumbbells. Key Training Tips: Rack the bar well below shoulder height in a power rack. But with great reward comes great risk, and back squats are not always an option if someone is unable to perform them properly and safely. The Bulgarian split squat is a highly underrated lower body movement that will really fire up your quads when executed properly. Why It's Sub Worthy: This exercise goes by several different names, perhaps because it's something of a cross between a squat and a lunge—the feet are staggered, with one directly in front of the body and the other directly behind. For example, I’ve had athletes with a back squat 1-RM of 450 lbs. Instead, diversify your back program with the best lat pulldown alternatives you can do at home, with a barbell and with a dumbbell. by John Papp. Now squat, making sure to send your hips backward, knees outward as you descend. Once you’re in position, simply perform a regular squat as usual. Talk about big shoes to fill. Think of it the same way you would lunges, where taking a larger step forward keeps your knees from tracking over your toes. The main upside of pistol squats is that because they’re so challenging to perform, you really don’t need much resistance (if any) to train them with a high level of intensity. I even went as far as training outdoors and using two large rocks in my backyard as a makeshift squat rack when nothing else was available. Lower the bar slowly all the way to the pins with good form , and let the bar rest on the pins for 3 seconds. for 5 … Using a rack keeps the focus more on the upper body, specifically back, more so than the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Don’t just give up on it straight away; do some research first and see if it’s feasible for you to purchase a basic rack of some kind (you can go with something very simple and/or look for used options if cost is an issue) or even put together your own homemade squat rack. It’s significantly more likely that a person already has a dumbbell set at home (as opposed to a barbell and rack), making this the perfect exercise to perform in the comfort of your own home. Because of the bar position (held in front of your body rather than resting on your upper back) you won’t be able to handle as much weight and can overload your quads sufficiently while using lighter loads. IronMind sells the hip belt squat attachments. Depending on how strong you are and how much weight you have access to, you may need to go with higher rep sets to really overload your quads since you’ll only be using a single dumbbell. Once you’ve gotten the bar into position, simply perform a regular front squat by placing the bar across the front of your shoulders with your elbows positioned forward as high as possible and fingers under the bar on each side. Key Training Tips: Cross your arms over your chest to build a "shelf" for the bar to rest on. With this version, you're straddling the bar. Free Weight Lat Pulldown Alternatives . As you can see, an effective squatting workout is not limited strictly to the traditional barbell back squat. Why It's Sub Worthy: It's still a barbell squat, but the position of the bar on the front of the shoulders makes a huge difference. The squat is one of the most foundational exercises for building lower body strength. Whether you aren't yet comfortable with the hip hinge, can’t deadlift due to injury, or just want to switch things up, we’ve got 10 alternatives that hit those muscles without the back stress. It may be an oversimplification, sure, but the sum of the latter (500 lbs. At this particular angle, a greater amount of stress will be shifted onto your quads rather than your back, making them a good barbell squat alternative if you have no squat rack handy. weight vest (250 lbs. The amount of weight you can use on this squat variation will obviously be limited by how much you can clean off the floor. Technical focal points: © 2020 You are looking for dumbbell alternatives that will help you improve your fitness; If you are having any of the above problems, and would like to use the best alternatives to dumbbells, then here they are: Canned Goods with weights; Probably the best alternative to dumbbells can be the canned goods. “BEAR MODE” VS. Where squats are concerned, the Smith machine offers a couple of great benefits in particular: This forward foot position also reduces your shin angle, which takes pressure off your knees. You may feel that same sense of incredulity as I discuss leg exercises that are alternatives to squats. The barbell back squat is arguably the most effective movement for building a strong, muscular set of legs. With dumbbell squats, gaining strengths takes longer when compared with the barbell squats. If you don’t have the funds to invest in a full squat rack, purchasing a trap bar (also known as a hex bar) is another viable option. You simply need a box or step and a set of dumbbells. Use alternative forms of resistance to reap the functional and strength benefits of the barbell squat without the discomfort of holding a loaded bar across your upper back. This move is unique because the weight is behind you, and there's less strain placed on the lower back compared to a standard deadlift because you're not forced to lean so far forward. Set the pins in the squat cage around waist height and unrack the bar in a standard back squat fashion. Unlike regular barbell squats, hack squats are easy on your lower back, and for a lot of lifters, that’s a very welcome benefit. Why It's Sub Worthy: Anyone who bashes the Smith machine for not being "functional" hasn't opened up his or her mind to all the function this training tool has to offer. Position the bar in the crooks of your elbows with your arms bent at least 90 degrees. A back, knee, ankle, or hip injury often results in pain during the squat—even a shoulder injury makes holding the bar problematic for many. Barbell squats are a highly effective exercise, as the movement "activates the body’s biggest muscles" and is the best overall exercise, according to kinesiology professor Stuart Phillips, Ph.D. For one, front squats place a higher proportion of tension on the quads than the glutes compared to back squats, so it's a great exercise for anyone looking to bring up his or her frontal thighs. Or Tim Cook, the guy who followed Steve Jobs at Apple? Why It's Sub Worthy: At first glance, this exercise may look a bit odd, like you're doing a deadlift the wrong way, because the bar is behind your legs instead of in front. Feet should be spaced about shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing slightly outward. It is very heavily debated which bar position and thus which back squat is the most optimal. 5. I personally trained from home during my first couple years of lifting and ended up using several different “creative solutions” for squatting when I was quite young and didn’t have a rack available. Squat Alternative 3: Zercher Squat Why It's Sub Worthy: Zerchers are another great squat variation for taking stress off the lower back. Some data has even shown that split squats are equally as effective as barbell squats when it comes to lower body strength development. Start as you would an air squat, feet shoulder-width apart. Considered a compound exercise, the dumbbell squat primarily hits the lower back, front thighs, and gluteal muscle groups. 20 Cutting Diet Mistakes To Avoid, 7 Ways Supplement Companies Are Ripping You Off, How To Build Big Arms (The Simple Truth! Dumbbell Rows. First of all, thank you for your posts on squats and alternatives to the back squat. dumbbells and a 50-lb. 5 Squat Alternatives to Build Muscle. Also, keeping one foot behind allows you to plant the front foot as far forward as necessary to keep that front knee safe from undue stress. This places the line of resistance through the sides of your body rather than out in front, shifting more stress onto the quads and also producing less load on the lower back. Alternatives To Squats: Building Muscular Legs Without Squats There’s a lot of over cautious advice out there about squats. An alternative that you may wish to try are Hip Belt Squats. Do one of these worthy substitutes instead for comparable gains in strength and size. This variation of the standard hack squat is not just easy but you also do not need any expensive equipment.It is good for the beginners and helps you improve lower-body strength, specifically in your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. The content on our website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. Why: The dead-squat bar allows for a more natural, centered pulling position to prevent rounding in the lower back. For example, positioning two saw horses side by side and simply resting the bar across it. This is a squat variation you’ll almost never see being performed in the gym, but it’s actually quite effective at hitting the quads and glutes and can be used as a barbell squat alternative. For that reason, if you have the overall strength and technical skill to do so, one option for those who don’t have a squat rack available is to simply clean the bar straight off the floor and right into a front squat. This is more similar to a front squat and the benefit is that the upper back has to work a bit more. Aside from that one difference, simply perform these the same way you’d do a regular barbell deadlift. In other words, if you want to fully maximize your results and are physically capable of performing squats, you should probably be doing them. Jim Stoppani holds a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut and has been the personal nutrition and health consultant to numerous celebrity clients, including... Be the first to receive exciting news, features, and special offers from! Descend to a point at which your thighs are beyond parallel with the floor. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions and I\'ll get back to you as soon as I can. The hack squat machine is one of the most popular leg exercises around. Squats Without a Barbell. Alternative: Stiff-legged dumbbell deadlift, dumbbell sumo squat If you do not have the time to hit the gym, then you may do the dumbbell hack squat at home. Pistol squats involve a significant balance and coordination aspect, and just like the previous barbell squat alternatives we’ve covered, these will also require practice before they begin to feel more natural. Bend your forward knee and hip to lower your body until your same-side thigh is parallel with the floor. Free weights are any dumbbell, kettlebell or resistance device that can be moved through space freely. It allows you to safely overload the lower-body muscles with heavy weight to spark new gains in both size and strength, because you don't have to worry about keeping your balance. You can watch Brian demonstrate this and all of the above squat alternative movements in this video. Another very uncommon lift, a barbell hack squat is essentially just a regular barbell deadlift except that you’ll be holding the bar behind your body rather than out in front. This will also be an awkward movement at first, so make sure to practice with light weights to get the proper form down before increasing the load. The bar sits significantly lower on the body (at the midsection, not up high on the back), which reduces the compressive forces on the spine considerably. Front squats are a great alternative to regular barbell back squats and train the lower body very effectively with the added bonus of placing less stress on the lower back. In this case, the available options are to push through the pain which I certainly do not advise, or to seek alternative exercises. This type of training assists in strengthening the hamstrings, quads, and hips. This choice is a slam-dunk if you have back issues but still want to train hard. This version makes it much easier to keep your weight back over your heels, which is where you'd want it be when doing a regular barbell squat. Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides, back straight, head up, and lower your body until your front knee forms a … But the traditional squats develop the back, core and leg muscles as It’s a better alternative to dumbbell squats in my opinion. Why It's Sub Worthy: Zerchers are another great squat variation for taking stress off the lower back. Feel free to use a clean/rack grip if that's your preference. To perform a goblet squat, grab a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it snug to your chest, just under your chin. With this movement, you have the option of either putting a barbell on your back or holding dumbbells. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplement. How To Build Round "3D Delts" That Pop (4 Exercises), The 3 Best Chest Exercises For The Perfect Pec Workout, Not Losing Fat? But this is by design; in fact, the barbell hack squat has been around for many decades, a lot longer than the hack-squat machine you see at most commercial gyms today. It might feel a bit awkward at first and does require some practice, but if you have no squat rack available then this would probably be my top recommended barbell squat alternative. I hope you found the information useful. In any case, goblet squats are a viable barbell squat alternative either done on their own or in combination with the other exercises we’ve outlined so far. If you’ve never done these before, start off very light and practice them before adding more weight. Goblet squatting moves the load from the back of the body to the front, activating more of the anterior core muscles and reducing back stress. Split-Squat. TRAINING EACH MUSCLE ONCE PER WEEK (EFFECTIVE OR WASTE OF TIME? That’s because in addition to training your lower body, they also bring your upper back, biceps and shoulders into play since you’ll have to hold the weight in place throughout the entire set. Key Training Tips: If you're holding dumbbells, you may be limited by your grip strength; in that case, use the barbell version. How: Grab a relatively heavy dumbbell and pull from the floor, driving your elbow up and back. As such, you can use the side-lying dumbbell clamshell as a Cossack squat alternative.℠ and BodySpace® are trademarks of Although they aren’t a “must” in order to build your lower body effectively, squats are still the most productive exercise overall when it comes to building up your leg size and strength as efficiently as possible.

back squat dumbbell alternative

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