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Beginners Program Without Squatting


I'd like a beginners program that doesn't have squatting. I'm currently doing SL 5x5, but hurt myself doing squats due to bad form. I'd still like to continue doing the 5x5 format, because I'm progressing nicely on all my other lifts. Any advice on what a good beginners 5x5 program without squats would look like?

The only equipment I have at my disposal are a bench, olympic bar, plates, free bar bell stand (i.e. not attached to bench). Also, the bench has a leg curl and leg extension part attached to it. Apparently, it can only hold up to 100 lbs according to the manual. There's also a preacher curl attachement to the bench. Lastly, I also have a EZ Curl bar. I wouldn't mind getting more equipment as long as it's nothing too crazy...for instance, I'm not going to by a leg press machine or something major like that.


Anybody wanting to work out at home should invest in a power rack. This will allow you to safely do squats and bench.

As for this "no squat" thing: bad idea.

If you hurt yourself with bad form, FIX YOUR FORM. It wasn't squat that was the problem, it was DOING IT WRONG that was the problem. Learn how to do it right. Dig up a Rippetoe video or better yet, buy his book.

Anybody that is serious about getting muscle ought to be squatting.


I still plan to learn how to squat, but I need a good alternative program while I learn to squat on the side.

Besides, some people on here seem to suggest that squatting isn't for everyone and that some lifters use alternatives. That's why I wanted to get some advice on what an alternative 3x week workout would look like without squats.


You could replace squats with snatch grip deadlifts.


Hey man it's not that squatting isn't for everyone. Your individual goals determine whether or not you should squat and what type of squat you should be doing. The type of squat you should be doing is also dependent on your unique leverages.

I suggest that, while recovering, rather than find a squat alternative, do light leg exercises like lunges to get blood in them. Don't worry about progression. Do sets of 8-12 at the end of each training day. Go by feel. If there is pain or too much fatigue, skip a day.

Some examples would be:

Dumbbell Reverse Lunges
Bulgarian Squats with dumbbells
Dumbbell "Trap Bar Deadlifts" (squat down, hips low, deadlift stance, holding dumbbells at your sides)

How are your other lifts coming along?


More information on that please.


You could do Pavel Tsastouline's approach to the Delorme workout. It's just bench and deads.


Most beginner programs will feature squatting heavily. It's not an essential lift, but it's important enough that you should have a better reason to stop it than bad form.

I would suggest a combination of trap bar deadlifts for heavier 5x5 work once a week and then split squats or similar for the remaining two days, probably in a higher rep range but only as a last resort if you really can't solve your squatting issues.

I would be extremely worried about using a bench that can only hold 100lbs. I think you should invest in a new one or a gym membership.


I don't mean to hijack the thread, but can you elaborate on this, specifically the types of squats?


Olympic High Bar Squats/ Front Squats

  • upright torso
  • quad dominant
  • forward knee travel
  • shorter legged, longer torso individuals
  • used by bodybuilders for training quads

Low Bar Squat

  • foward lean of torso
  • more hip involvement
  • less forward knee travel
  • longer legged, shorter torso individuals, however,
  • can be used by most people to squat more weight due to the mechanical advantage created by the bar's distance from the hips

Then you have different stances. Wide, mid, close etc. Since everyone's proportions are different, you have to try them and see what suits you best. For example, if you have really long legs and a short torso, if you try to high bar squat with a narrow stance, your knees will end up way past your toes but your torso will still be bent over.

If your goal is squatting the most weight, you have to find the stance and bar placement that makes the lift most efficient for you.

For bodybuilding, some people half squat for high reps at narrow stance and build big quads. Some go to just parallel. Reed posted recently about wide stance squats for leg developement and I like them a lot after trying them. My old school bodybuilder friends all do hack squats on the smith machine followed by wide stance box squats (on the smith machine as well) lol. They are all still big in their late 30s and 40s.

It's hard to describe the different variances in physical structure so go google pictures of olympic lifters and compare them to longer legged guys such as Konstantin Konstantinov.

Then compare Konstantine's torso angle when he low bar squats to someone like Andrey Malanichev (also low bar).

Check out Tom Platz squatting as well.


Got me curious, here's what I found

Sounds decent w/ minimal equipment. I'd be wary of developing tendonitous w/ that DL volume, but it's only a 6 week routine.


Dear diddly

You injured your back squatting 75lbs

I highly suggest you get a coach

Because you don't have to tell me... I know your squat looks like horseshit


You seem to know more than I do... I'd like to know how. Also (OP!), I'd like to know what bodypart got injured. If it's the lower back, deadlifts are just as bad. If it's the knee, any type of heavy leg work might be tricky etc.


"Today was my first workout. These are the numbers I'm starting at:

Squat - 75 lbs
Bench - 75 lbs
Bent over Rows - 65 lbs"


My back is 100% fine. I hurt my left hip flexor. The right hip feels fine. At around 95 lbs I started to notice some pain the hip. I kept working out and did 100 lbs at my next workout. I did a close stance and notice that the pain didn't get worse, so I thought to myself maybe I just need to use a close stance in the future.

At that point I decided to take a week off squatting to get the pain to go away and then get back to squatting with a close stance. The thing is, it's been over a week and it still doesn't feel 100%. I thought by now it'd be fine. That's why I'm trying to create a program without squats until the pain goes away for good and then once it's fully recovered I'll learn how to squat properly. I just need to look into hiring someone who can help, etc.


All my other lifts are progressing normally. I keep adding 5lbs per workout.

As of today, these will be my numbers (keep in mind I've been doing SL for about a month):
Bench - 100 lbs
Rows - 85 lbs
Deadlifts - 155 lbs
Press - 85 lbs

Recently I added some accessory workouts, since I wasn't squatting. These were my latest numbers:
Pullups - 3x7
Curls - 60 lbs - 3x10
Skullcrushers - 45 lbs - 3x10

I don't feel like I'm about to stall or anything...then again, these aren't exactly high numbers either. Also, my weight is around 138 lbs.


Can you squat with just the barbell and/or do goblet squats without any pain?

Injuries like this -- to varying degrees of intensity -- are pretty common while lifting. Part of the learning process is learning to work with/around the pain and still continue progress. Certainly a good sports-oriented chiropractor can help with this, especially if combined with soft-tissue work and corrective rehab.

But in the meanwhile, I wouldn't completely avoid squats if you can. Find some way to squat that doesn't continue to aggravate the issue, figure out what the issue is, let it heal, and find a way to prevent re-injuring the area in the future.

I would imagine a fair amount of soft-tissue work with a tennis or lacrosse ball is in your future, at least for awhile. Don't let any of this replace further training, since your goal is to get back squatting ASAP, but sometimes you need to fix some things before moving forward.


I'm going to try out the Delmore Workout once I've really stalled doing SL. Has anyone else here done it before? How were your results?


Your lifts at the level you are have not stalled. You have stalled your calories. SL is not the be all end all program but, it is def going to produce more than a 100lbs Dead Lift.


I haven't stalled on SL yet. Just saying, once I do I plan to switch to Delmore.

Although, I feel like the lifts are starting to get a bit more challenging.