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Replacement for Deadlifts/Squats

Okay so I’m somewhat knew to lifting, but I know enough to understand that the title of this thread is impossible. There is no replacement for deadlifting and squatting for strength gains and overall muscle recruitment. However, I am undergoing surgery for a pilonidal sinus in 1 and a half weeks. I was told by my surgeon I couldn’t workout for 10 days after, which sucks but I figured I could use it as a rest period and come back stronger.

However I then asked him about squatting and deadlifting. He told me that he assumed I just “worked my chest and arms like most people” and then preceded to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to do these movements for at least 3 weeks. Im gonna not go into a rant about what he said, cause this post doesn’t need to be that long.

Anyways I fully understand the importance of the squat and deadlift. They are the 2 most important lifts in my program. I’m wondering if their is something I could do instead for this time to achieve 2 goals. 1) not lose any muscle mass and 2) maintain strength needed to be able to come back to my original squat and deadlift numbers.

This is really frustrating to me but I am willing to work through it, just need a little guidance. If it was just about pain I would just do them, pain isn’t an issue. Its about tearing the wound back open and having to get it redone.

I’m sure the reason he doesn’t want you to squat or deadlift is because of the damage the pressure could do to your sinuses. I would caution you not to be going for PRs in any lifts for a few weeks, as the pressure from benching or any other lift could cause the same effect.

My advice, lunges and romainian deadlifts with dbs. You could also squat and deadlift (light) to keep your form solid.

I’m sorry I should have explained exactly what a pilonidal sinus is. It’s not as in your sinuses, rather a hole about the size of a pencil tip in your body that leads to a pocket of nastiness that needs to be removed. In my case the hole is right at the tip of my tailbone, which is the most common place. The movements of the deadlift and especially the squat stretch that area and can tear it back open. So basically I’m having surgery by my tailbone.

He said there may be a possibility that he opens it up and feels it needs to heal from the inside out, and will leave the wound open and I will have to pack it. Not only will that hurt like a bitch and be nasty, it will def lead to a way longer recovery time. So he better not do that. Anyways I know thsi question is tough to answer, but if anyone has some ideas it would be great.

Also how much muscle mass would I lose by not squatting and deadlifting but maintaining my upper body routine? Thanks for the reply

It’s impossible to say how much mass you’ll lose in the interim. I know it’s just a little hole, but think about what you would do in the gym if you were in a cast?

Make your upper body as strong as it can possibly be. RDLs, Split squats, whatever leg stuff you can do to grease the groove, but it’s only a couple of weeks.

Keep your nutrition on point, focus on what you CAN do and do it hard. You might lose a bit on squat and DL, but it’s only 3 weeks, assuming you have a training history longer than that, you won’t shrivel up just cuz you couldn’t squat and pull for a few weeks.

Keep after it!

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I’m sorry I should have explained exactly what a pilonidal sinus is. It’s not as in your sinuses, rather a hole about the size of a pencil tip in your body that leads to a pocket of nastiness that needs to be removed. In my case the hole is right at the tip of my tailbone, which is the most common place. [/quote]
My uncle had this. It definitely sucks.

Yep, most of the “hinge” movements (deadlift variations) will be out for a while. Unilateral training might be an option, since the stretch is somewhat reduced, but err on the side of caution with any of it.

Another thing to consider avoiding is seated, or even some lying, exercises. Those would put direct compressing pressure on the tailbone. That might limit what you can do even more, but a little creativity and forethought and it shouldn’t be an issue.

The priority is going to be encouraging healing and muscle/strength preservation. So you can dial down the intensity a bit and possibly play with more volume and exercises you haven’t done in forever (which could serve as a good stimulus for growth). Also think about using some of this “down time” to maybe throw in more general mobility work than you usually do.

A few suggested exercises:

Back
Pull-ups/chin-ups (Perfect time to shoot for 20+ reps.)
Kneeling pulldown (both knees on the ground behind the seat)
Standing cable row (1-arm, 2-arm, varied angles)
Bent 1-arm dumbbell row (upper body more upright rather than parallel to the ground)
Straight arm pulldown

Chest
Standing 1-arm cable press
Cable crossovers (varied angles)
Push-up variations
Flat dumbbell press/flye (play by ear)

Legs
Low step-up
Lunge (Limit ROM to what’s comfortable)
Standing leg curl
Standing calf raise (1-leg, 2-leg)

Shoulders, bis, tris
Anything standing. Pretty much no limit.

But really, I wouldn’t do anything until the Doc gives you the all-clear to start training. Keep the big picture in mind. 3 or 4 weeks of adjusting, or minimized, training is small beans considering the decades of lifting ahead of you. Heal properly and fully, or else you’ll end up with a chronic issue.

There’s no way to know. Your body’s going to be in healing mode. So protein (of course) will be key. If your general activity’s getting reduced, you can scale back carbs a bit, but I wouldn’t drop them too drastically. Fats are important, as always.

I’d also recommend glutamine. 5-10 grams 2 or 3 times a day. It’s great for boosting recovery (with regard to the actual immune system, not so much “muscle recovery”).

Thanks Chris I appreciate the information. You’re right, this is a good opportunity to get creative with some upper body stuff. Legs are gonna be tough though. Its frustrating to lose progress on my squat and deadlift. I’ve just recently wrapped my stubborn head around their true importance and now can’t bear to see my progress go down.

Oh well. I’m def gonna throw in something to hit my lower back and traps, thats where I’ve seen some great gains from the deadlifts. Thanks to others for the replies as well, all were helpful. I wish I was able to get in some better quality training sessions before the surgery.

I’ve been having constant nausesa/ vomiting every morning for the past 2 months. I won’t get into that now but needless to say its hampered my gains a bit, still have been going to the gym steady though. Thanks again

Three weeks sucks but its really not that long. What would be worse is being out way more than three weeks because you did something stupid and ignored your doctors advice. Go BOF for a few weeks and then hit the lower body hard when you get the all clear.

I know I asked about loss of muscle mass before, and that was stupid because like you said there is no exact way to tell. But I’m curious if I can still make my upper body bigger and stronger during this time, even though I’m not squatting and deadlifting. I know you need those 2 lifts to gain serious mass, but in my mind I think I can still make the same gains in my upper body without them. I’ve been trying to develop my whole upper body, especially my chest. Thanks again for the replies

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
I’ve been having constant nausesa/ vomiting every morning for the past 2 months. I won’t get into that now but needless to say its hampered my gains a bit[/quote]
Um, yeah… that’s kinda a big issue. You should really try to take care of that.

It’s not that you “need” to squat and deadlift in order to progress. No single exercise will make or break results entirely. It’s just that those are two of the most efficient and effective exercises for size and strength.

You can still see plenty of progress without them, but you just have to be that much more on point with the rest of your training and eating.

These articles might have some useful info too:
http://www.t-nation.com/article/performance_training/the_proactive_patient
http://www.t-nation.com/article/most_recent/creating_a_training_effect_when_youre_injured

Follow the docs orders, you really don’t want the stiches/repaired tissue to tear.

Personally I’d leave alone all lower body work.

-Its only three weeks you’ll lose barely any mass just soften up a little, it will all come back after a week of decent workouts. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing.
Also get plenty of green veggies and fish oil to aid healing and if you can afford it Hydrolysed protein or Anaconda products

Thanks for answering all my questions. Yeah I have been going to the doctor for the past 2 months for the vomiting and they have tried a ton of different things.

I have an appointment with a GI specialist next week which should uncover some answers. Just recently got put on anit nausea meds but they aren’t really working. Thanks again though guys