T Nation

Ditching Squats and Deadlifts

I have come to the conclusion that I will never be a powerlifter. So what is the point of doing the big 3 lifts anymore.
My lower back, knees, wrists, and elbows always feels like crap. My body just doesn’t feel like it was built for big heavy weights. (I have a light bone structure too)

Long story short, I know nothing about training this way. I want to train smarter. But still get jacked, because I enjoy bodybuilding. I have been searching online for days now I can’t find a decent routine that is kind of safe… Any suggestions or experience?

Ultimately, I need to be in shape for my job as well. I am coming to realise, if I screw up my back or shoulders I could loose my career and money.

I also know compound lifts are safe when done right, but it doesn’t matter how great your form is, it just takes one time to f yourself up. This is not a chance I am willing to take anymore as I get older.

What’s the best move???

Another side note I’m not afraid of busting my ass and putting in work. I just want to limit dangerous movements… I have also heard of professional athletes training this way. For example; there coach doesn’t want them getting hurt because there is to much risk to benefit and millions of dollars on the line.

Just substitute in alternatives that will grow the target muscles.


I believe low reps, (to maintain safe technique and do only great reps), for many sets(to accumulate work) is safe and effective.

You could check out Chad Waterbury for more info on using the 10 sets of 3 style.

If you want big muscles, do stuff like front squat for thighs or T-Bar rows for back.

If you’re still concerned with strength, do a few singles with 90% in the “Regular Lifts” every 8 or 10 weeks, to see how the special lifts you picked effect? (affect?) or “impact” the Classic lifts. You might even pull off the triple whammy, and get bigger, stronger and feel better.


there’re oodles of ways you can make your training easier on your joints.

-Dumbbells instead of barbells for pressing.
-Single leg stuff instead of bilateral barbell stuff for legs.
-Instead of trying to pile a ton of weight on the bar, go for higher reps with shorter rest periods (decreasing rest periods is a massively underrated tool for progressing).
-You could even use machines. The horror.