T Nation

Alternative to Squatting?

Yeah I know back squats are considered by some (all?) to be the best exercise that you can do, but my situation just doesn’t allow me to do them. I work out at my university’s gym and they don’t have a squat rack or a power rack.

I tried doing dumbbell front squats but they really fuck up my wrists, which then negatively affects my performance on other lifts (specifically overhead press)
Is this due to incorrect form?

The way I am doing them now is by cleaning up to my shoulders then performing a front squat keeping my back as vertical as possible. Is this the right way to do them? Because it’s still a bitch on my wrists.

Is there some other exercise I could do, or should I stick with the DB squats?
Thanks for the help in advance, it’s my first post here :slight_smile:

Go to a gym with a squat rack. It’s the only sensible solution. :slight_smile:

I sure as hell hope you can at the very least rip out some barbell deadlifts at your gym… That would make up for the lack of a squat rack somewhat.

You could either tough it out and eventually your wrists will (usually) get accommodated to the load (remember that you don’t need your hand wrapped around the bar. A couple of fingertips will do for most)

Or you could clean the weight up to your shoulders and switch to an x-grip, I suppose? Not sure how well that would work with a lot of weight on your delts though…

bob: The thing is I’m a poor college student and there really isn’t any way for me to get to a gym from my dorm. I do deadlift twice a week though (thank god they allow that).

Zund: I think I might just tough it out for a few weeks to build up grip strength. Maybe start low weight, high reps and build up to higher intensity sets with less volume.

And by the way I think you might have misunderstood. I’ve been doing dumbbell squats so I can’t use just fingers or a cross grip, unless I’m missing something.

[quote]tenken wrote:
bob: The thing is I’m a poor college student and there really isn’t any way for me to get to a gym from my dorm. I do deadlift twice a week though (thank god they allow that).

Zund: I think I might just tough it out for a few weeks to build up grip strength. Maybe start low weight, high reps and build up to higher intensity sets with less volume. And by the way I think you might have misunderstood. I’ve been doing dumbbell squats so I can’t use just fingers or a cross grip, unless I’m missing something.[/quote]

Oh ok then… Deadlifting certainly doesn’t replace squatting altogether, but you should be able to manage. Just keep up the heavy pulling and replace squats with lots of heavy leg pressing/lunges etc… This should keep your lower body in check.

Your gym doesn’t even have a Smith machine?? Man sounds pretty lame if you ask me. My college gym had everything I needed haha

Try the hack squat maybe?

Clean a barbell and front squat.

Do hack squats with a barbell.

Lunges, bulgarian squats, and step-ups can all be done with dumbbells or barbells.

The above exercises done along with the basic deadlift and its variants will give your lower body plenty of stimulation and development until you get access to a squat rack.

You can still hammer your legs if you only have DBs

  • Bulgarian split squats for quads
  • lunge variations including walking lunges (short lunge for quads, long lunges for hamstring emphasis)
  • Romanian deadlifts for hams, lower back

What is the heaviest DB weight in the gym?

edit: Ajax beat me to it. Step ups are great too.

[quote]tenken wrote:
bob: The thing is I’m a poor college student and there really isn’t any way for me to get to a gym from my dorm. I do deadlift twice a week though (thank god they allow that).

Zund: I think I might just tough it out for a few weeks to build up grip strength. Maybe start low weight, high reps and build up to higher intensity sets with less volume.

And by the way I think you might have misunderstood. I’ve been doing dumbbell squats so I can’t use just fingers or a cross grip, unless I’m missing something.[/quote]

how about snatch grip deads, move your grip very wide, almost as wide as you can go and deadlift like that, you have to get so low it could parallel over to a squat, or zercher squats, barbell hack squats a good option as well

tenken,

What is your goal? Strength, size in the quads, or to get better/stronger at squatting?

If it’s the third option, get to a gym where you can squat. If the goal is to have strong legs that can straighten out with a heavy load, keep deadlifting. If you want big quads, you can use machines or keep doing high volume work with the DBs.

Front squatting is an excellent exercise for quads, and in your circumstances you have a reason to get your Clean weight up there to be able to keep progressing with front squats.

Good luck figuring it all out.

Thanks a lot for all the input, it’s been really helpful.

Yeah I know it’s lame. Last year I had access to a power rack which was great. Then this year they basically said we need a weight room only for athletes, so they are completely renovating the basement weight room for that purpose and moved all the equip that was down there to the 3rd floor weight room which was only machines before that.

Basically I have access to dumbbells (weights from about 10 to 90 but with very big gaps in some places) a flat bench, incline bench, pull up bar and dip bar-plus a lot of machines which I tend to stay away from.

My main workouts consist of squats, overhead press, deadlifts, dips, pull/chin ups, and push ups atm.

My goal is mainly strength and size at this point. I think I’ll try DB lunges as bars are always in high demand.

choices are limited only by the imagination-suit case squats,hack squats,one legged squats(ouch),sumo squats and of course lunges and step ups -that should carry you over for a while.
happy squatting

Hmm that’s another thing I could try, working on pistols.

If you can only deadlift in your uni gym and cant get to a gym with a power rack then give CT’s Dissecting the Deadlift a read it’s got plenty of variations of deadlift’s so that should help out.

I think if I couldnt squat for reasons such as what you listed I would certainly opt for more deadlifting. Two tips perhaps to offer you some additional variation.

Try T-Bar deadlifting with your barbell. To activate the legs more you can walk your hands further down the bar away from the weight (To a balance point of course) so that you have to reach lower to start the movement. Reach lower by lowering your torso from the legs not by leaning further over at the waist.

Perform your standard BB deadlifts from a block. Again this will increase the range of motion and you will need to go deeper at the low end. So do so by lowering your self more from the legs.