T Nation

Alternative to Squats

My gym only has smith machines but looking through the site it seems you don’t like them very much! So I was wondering what you guys recommend as an alternative to squats, bearing in mind I am a complete beginner. Thanks in advance.

Single Leg Squats holding dumbbells.
Hack Squats.
If you have barbells at your gym, which I’m sure they do, you can always clean the weight up and do front squats.

Why do you need an alternative to squats?


Do they have a squat rack; you know the place where everyone does curls?

You can do Zercher squats and hack squats, and like someone else said clean the weight up and do front squats.

bulgarian split squats:

put one foot out in front like you would when doing a lunge, and put your back foot up on a weight bench, pound out some reps and switch legs.

also, check out “pistols” or whatever the hell they’re called. It’s squatting down on one leg with the other one suspended out in front of you, takes some practice to do properly.

Find a new gym.

Hold two dumbells at your sides squat. If you need help with grip use straps. Worst comes worst do squats in the smith machine. In my opinion it is better than doing no squats at all. The bad part is that you don’t have to stablize the weight. But when it comes down to it you are still squating. It’s just not the preferred method.

That is not a gym. Sounds like a fitness center to me.

Go to a GYM

If there is no squat rack or any safe way to do squats, do deadlifts.
While the other suggestions will help in some ways, one of the great benefits of squatting is using very heavy weights and challenging your system to accomodate to them.
I leg squats and dumbbell squats won’t get you there.
HEavy deadlifts will have the greatest carryover to heavy squatting.

You do need to find a better place to workout however. Without a rack it is hard to do good mornings and a host of other important lifts as well as the squats.

The reason I need an alernative is that I’m following the beginners blast off program which includes squats on the Quads and Hamstrings day. Can’t afford to switch gyms, it’s cheap at my Uni “gym”. Deadlifts wouldn’t be a straight swap though would it?

They’ve got to have a leg press if they have smith machines right? But like Maj Dan said, just go with deadlifts until you can afford a new gym. I used to have my own free weights in my room until I moved off-campus into a house. Then we had a decent set up with 2 benches and about 500 lbs in one of the rooms.


deadlifts for hamstrings

hack squats for quads