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Questions: Squat Replacement, Shoulder Pain, Belt?

Hello everyone, my name is Francesco, I’m 18 and I’m from Italy.
I weigh 64kg (141 pounds) and I’m 171cm (5’6’’). I have been training for about a year and a half; since January I have been doing Stronglifts 5x5. I train at home and I haven’t a squat rack, so I have been doing deadlifts instead of squats in February and March, and from the beginning of April I have been doing bulgarian split squats and reverse lunges.

On Wednesday, I went to a gym with a friend of mine and I did this training (excluding warm-ups):
5x5 shoulder press machine with 65kg (143 pounds)
5x5 BB back squat with 90kg (198 pounds)
1x3 BB deadlift with 120kg (264 pounds)
3x5 and 1x10 weighted neutral (narrow grip) pull ups with 10/20/25/5kg (22/44/55/11 pounds)
1x3 BB flat bench press with 70kg (154 pounds)
4x5 dragon flags

I would like to ask 4 questions:

  • Do I lift enough weight? Should I lift more for my weight?

  • What can I do to replace squat? Are BSS or RL enough?

  • It seems that I have some problems with my left shoulder, since I feel pain when I do the eccentric movement of the overhead press; I stopped to do it because even if my muscles were able to lift the barbell, my joints weren’t. I started to do pike push ups, but I don’t think they are challenging enough; what do you recommend to do?

Should I learn to do handstand push ups? I tried to use DBs insteade of the BB but it wasn’t better. What confuses me is that I have absolutely no problem or pain at doing chin ups/pull ups/bench.

  • Should I start to use a weight belt from now on, as the weights increase? Until now I have had no problem, I deadlift and squat breathing diaphragmatically and pushing out the abs.

Thank you.

  1. Do I lift enough weight?
    Define “enough”.

  2. Should I lift more for my weight?
    That’s one reason why we lift, to get stronger. Don’t worry about what you “should” be lifting for your weight. Unless you’re competing in powerlifting, it’s irrelevant. Your numbers are low enough for your weight that I would expect you to be able to improve them fairly easily, especially if you eat enough to stimulate growth.

  3. What can I do to replace the squat?
    Lunges, split squats, deadlifts, RDL’s, hack squat are all good if you don’t have access to a squat stand. Leg presses also work but if you’re at home I doubt you have one of those.

  4. Are BSS and RDL enough?
    That wouldn’t be a “complete” leg workout generally, but those are good movements to have in a workout routine. You can certainly make progress with those, squats are not required to progress.

  5. Pike pushups
    I have no idea what these are honestly and don’t want to google them. Sorry. If you’re doing them for shoulder development because the overhead press hurts, they might work. Incline bench press would also work, using DB’s could work to help alleviate shoulder discomfort if you play around with hand position. Overhead pressing is not required either. Front raises also hit the front delts, but at your level I don’t know that they are a great option for you.

  6. Should I use a weight belt from now on?
    Probably not, I see no reason too. You’re not pushing very heavy weight yet, and while a belt is a great tool I don’t believe relative beginners should be using it. There is no reason to use it just to use it. Use it if you want once you get to the point where it would be beneficial.

I just googled pike push ups. Really, they look fairly easy. You don’t have much resistance, and don’t seem to be able to really add much resistance to them. So I wouldn’t really recommend them as a long term solution. Try using a neutral grip DB overhead press, with your elbows more in front of your body and see if that helps with the pain.

Otherwise, keep doing bench, pull ups/chin ups. Overhead work is not a necessity, especially if it causes pain.

1&2. I know that it’s irrelevant. I was simply asking if my progresses are good or not, at this point.

  1. Pike pushups

  1. I obviously don’t want to use it just to use it. I was asking what is that point.

What are your goals?

3- You could clean the bar and do front squats. Or you could get some boxes, put them on top of each othar to about nipple level and you would have a squat stand.

@dt79: I reached my previous goals on wednesday; now, they are: doing DB one-arm flat bench with 40kg (yesterday I used 30kg), doing weighted chin ups with 30kg, deadlifting 150kg, doing farmer’s walk with 30kg DB per hand (currently I use 20kg), holding front lever for at least 4-5 seconds (currently I can hold it just for 1 sec). I’m also trying to learn to do muscle ups, but I can’t bring both elbows over the bar.

@Martimroll94: I used to do it, but the problem is that my shoulders hurt when I clean more than 40kg (and I train at home, alone, so I’m not sure about the technique).
Do you mean something like this?
http://diygaragegym.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Fig_5-580x386.jpg

Exactly that, can you build something like that to do the squats? If you can you have the perfect solution.
Forza Lazio

  • You are not very strong yet but you will gain strength fast since you are a beginner. Don’t worry about it.

  • You should lift more AND gain weight.

  • Get a gym membership if you can.

  • Stop the exercises that give you shoulder pain for some time and rehab your shoulders. Do side, rear and front raises while rehabbing them. If you’re having shoulder pain at your current strength levels, you will be screwed when you get much stronger unless you deal with it.

  • Get a weight belt and learn how to use it properly. Then use it at your own discretion.

@Martimroll94: I will try. How do you know that expression?

@dt79: thanks for the advices. What can I do to rehab them?

[quote]FrankFante wrote:

@dt79: thanks for the advices. What can I do to rehab them?[/quote]

Rest them for a few weeks.

Do some front and side rises for high reps for bloodflow.

Google some stuff like this nd see wht works for you.

Work your rear delts and upper back hard in the meantime.

If the problem persists, see a health professional.

I have already been doing dislocations for a long time, but I will continue and do as you tell. Thank you.

While I wouldn’t recommend these as a long term solution, there’s also the Steinborn lift to get the bar up for back squats.

I used it for awhile before I bought a squat rack. My only recommendation is that you use at least two vice-style collars on the side that will be supporting the weight. You don’t want the plates to slip while getting the bar into position.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you can practice using the bar and just work up to it. Since you’re not currently doing squats, you’ll be starting light and just working into it.

One example; there seem to be many on youtube now.

Just an option. Building some sort of platform or stands is a better option.

Also, how are you getting the bar into position for bench pressing?

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Also, how are you getting the bar into position for bench pressing?[/quote]

I use one dumbbell, with a neutral grip. I used to do it with the barbell resting it on two sawhorses, but over just 40kg (88 lbs) they start to wobble and may tip over (so for 3 training session I tried to do 3 sets of 20 reps with 40kg, but it I thought it was senseless to do such a thing in a strength program, so I stopped).

[quote]FrankFante wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Also, how are you getting the bar into position for bench pressing?[/quote]

I use one dumbbell, with a neutral grip. I used to do it with the barbell resting it on two sawhorses, but over just 40kg (88 lbs) they start to wobble and may tip over (so for 3 training session I tried to do 3 sets of 20 reps with 40kg, but it I thought it was senseless to do such a thing in a strength program, so I stopped).[/quote]

I see.

Well, there’s a few options that I used. They’re all floor press variants.

There’s the “pullover and press”, where you literally lay on the ground, pull the bar over your head and into position, and press. This was pretty much impossible though. I know it can be done, I was just never able to do it.

There’s the hip bridge version. You roll the bar (or slide under it), so that your hands are in the right position and out from the body. Then you do a bridge and use your belly to lift the bar. Your elbows stay on the ground, and you just pivot the bar upwards and press.

And then there’s the jack stand version. This is what I eventuallyl moved to. I bought a pair of jack stands (they’re adjustable height, and designed for holding cars up… rated for 1 or 2 tons each). I just put the bar on those, loaded them up, and slid underneath it. This was by far the best option.

It would be better to use a bench than the floor though (because of the ROM), but I don’t really have any good suggestions.

Actually, you could screw eyebolts into the roof (in the joists) and hang two chains. Then put a heavy rated carabiner or snap ring on the end. And then just create a loop for the bar. That’s assuming you’re allowed to make those changes. However, that would also give you the ability to back squat (starting at the bottom.)

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]FrankFante wrote:

[quote]LoRez wrote:
Also, how are you getting the bar into position for bench pressing?[/quote]

I use one dumbbell, with a neutral grip. I used to do it with the barbell resting it on two sawhorses, but over just 40kg (88 lbs) they start to wobble and may tip over (so for 3 training session I tried to do 3 sets of 20 reps with 40kg, but it I thought it was senseless to do such a thing in a strength program, so I stopped).[/quote]

I see.

Well, there’s a few options that I used. They’re all floor press variants.

There’s the “pullover and press”, where you literally lay on the ground, pull the bar over your head and into position, and press. This was pretty much impossible though. I know it can be done, I was just never able to do it.

There’s the hip bridge version. You roll the bar (or slide under it), so that your hands are in the right position and out from the body. Then you do a bridge and use your belly to lift the bar. Your elbows stay on the ground, and you just pivot the bar upwards and press.

And then there’s the jack stand version. This is what I eventuallyl moved to. I bought a pair of jack stands (they’re adjustable height, and designed for holding cars up… rated for 1 or 2 tons each). I just put the bar on those, loaded them up, and slid underneath it. This was by far the best option.

It would be better to use a bench than the floor though (because of the ROM), but I don’t really have any good suggestions.

Actually, you could screw eyebolts into the roof (in the joists) and hang two chains. Then put a heavy rated carabiner or snap ring on the end. And then just create a loop for the bar. That’s assuming you’re allowed to make those changes. However, that would also give you the ability to back squat (starting at the bottom.)[/quote]

thank you for the advice, I will try something