T Nation

Good Squat Alternatives?

Hi, unfortuantely I go to a crappy gym without a squat rack, only a smith machine (natch). Hopefully going there will only be a temporary arrangment, but I need to do something other than a leg press which I was doing before.

I have been doing deadlifts and calf raises as well, but really need something to hit my thighs and glutes more.

Would it be worth doing hack squats?


First, my condolences on the gym.

Does the smith machine have pins on the front? Do you have anything that you can use to safely get the weight to shoulder level? You can always clean the weight. Then you can do squats or front squats.

Otherwise, hack squats are a good alternative, as are trap bar deadlifts, dumbell lunges, and deadlift walks.

For the hams/glutes, stiff leg deadlifts and hyperextensions will work those well.

If none of those will work for you, then use the leg press first with your feet low and very close together, toes out at 45 deg, then do them high, wide, feet straight. That will help work the different areas. This isn’t a replacement, but it will help.

Good luck


All with dumbells: lunges, split squats, bulgarian squats?

bulgarian split squats

other one legged stuff

heed the advice of Robertson and Cressey … unilateral stuff promotes balance and health in addition to strength … a really smart guy has figured out that staying healthy is key to progress

other than that … learn these two:
(1) clean and front squat
(2) snatch and overhead squat


Clean a barbell and squat it, dumbbell thrusters, sandbag squats.

Clean it to the shoulder and front squat that bad boy.

Thanks a lot for all your advice. I tried the front squat before, but I didn’t really feel that it was doing much for me, and I felt that it was straining my wrists a bit, but I’ll give it another go.

I tried the overhead squat once, but didn’t find it very challenging, strange I know, as I’ve read that it’s one mutha of an exercise.

Anyway, I’ll try out your suggestions. Thanks a lot.

zerchers or goblet squats a la Dan John!

[quote]conorh wrote:
Clean it to the shoulder and front squat that bad boy.[/quote]