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Rippetoe; Squat Alternative


After a month break from working out, I'm planning to start again. This time, with rippetoes. Problem is, the nearest gym in our place does not have a squat rack. So it seems squat is not possible in my case. Neither is transferring to another gym an option for some reason. So, is there an alternative to squat?

Am I in the right track if what i want is to bulk up in the soonest time possible? Thanks in advance


You could clean the barbell and front squat? This may be difficult once you get higher up in the weight though.


if you can't squat then do leg press, leg extension, ham raise.

More important than that, do deadlifts. If you can't work out your legs then it's a good opportunity to work out other things. Get a strong back so that when you start doing squats you'll be able to keep an arch easily.

There really isn't a good substitute for squats. Cleaning and front squatting won't really work. A) he very likely might get injured trying to clean heavy weight which leads to b)will have to use very low weights and would have to do like 20 reps in order for it to be a decent workout. Which can kind of work.


Do you have a way to do bottom up squats at that gym?


Somehow squat from the bench rack? Smith machine? Ideally, you really need a squat rack.
Maybe just do extra sets of deadlifts instead.


Also, CT has an article called dissecting the deadlift. If there really isn't a practical way to squat, then some of those variations may have to do.

Also, don't forget about goblet squats, split squats, pistols (support yourself and/or to them to high box at first), and some of the other exercises mentioned here among others.

Unfortunately for you at the present, the only thing like a back squat is a back squat. Also, Mark Ripptoes program will no longer be the one he wrote if you sub back squats for anything else because of the importance of the back squat in his programs. The back squat is the foundation of his programs.

So you might need to find another program in the meantime and like landstorm said, get everything else strong so when you can do back squats you'll have a strong P-chain and back.


Grow a set of balls and do a Steinborn lift. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUjT1-g5vPA

Or a Zercher Lift. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg6OxasEFbc

Actually I don't recommend either of those, but they are options.


I have become a big fan of the goblet squat with either kettlebells or dumbells, at the momenet i can get a decent workout with a set of db's (ok i am a beginner).

One way of increasing the load that i am just experimenting with at home is to hang some chain (i have some mooring chain) around my shoulders and then grab a kb as well, seems to increase load progressively.


You could try hack squats with a barbell...they're no back squats but they will give you a good quad workout :


lol steinborn lift - nice. Quick way to get injured.

OP I wouldn't worry extremely about it. Rippetoe's program is just basically a 3x5 of the basic exercizes. I personally would maybe do leg press(with as full range of motion as the machine allows) or just do everything else in the program.

Most likely though I would deadlift every workout, but I'd keep one workout day per week with the deadlifts kind of lighter. I'd also do back raises and plenty of abs exercizes. Get a strong core. It will help so much when you wanna do squats.

Also keep don't stop doing squats. Even if it's 95 lbs, put the bar on your back and do some reps(like 10 or something). Try to get the form as perfect as possible. No need to rush through the set. Keep back tight and arched and go up and down balanced on the heels and on both legs. This will also help make you more flexible(if you are not enough) or keep you flexible enough.


you could try pistols, split squats, step ups, bulgarian split squats, swiss ball split squats (with back leg on swiss ball), overhead squats (snatch the barbell overhead), lunges, etc.


pick up the bar and friggin squat. Any squatting is good. Just do it.


Leg Press is NOT an alternative to squatting guys. The thing that separates the squat from a leg press is the hip extension. You cannot get that on a leg press. I wrote a blog post 2-3 months ago you migth want to check out. Basically, breaking down different tools when squatting. A barbell is not the only tool to use.

If you go to a gym where you there is not rack then consider getting one of these. Looks candy ass, but once you try it you will see the difference. In the mean time I would work on goblet squats, front squats, split squats and high rep back squats (whatever you clean and press and lower to the back).


Dude, just get two (or more) of the guys in your gym to agree on a squat day. Two men pick the bar up and hold it while you get under it. They let go, you squat away. You get done squatting, they grab it and put it back on the floor.

I'm sure there are some others in your gym that want to squat, but can't.


For my two cents - Trap bar deads have worked out very well for me. Your gym should have one o'dem


dont do any leg extensions please..seems like people love em at the gyms...omg


I disagree. Cleans and front squats might not be easy at first, but you get better at it. I went from having real trouble front squatting 135 (pounds) to cleaning and front squatting 210 for a few reps. After that, one month with a squat rack got me to a 397 back squat and 308 front squat. Which isn't much, but it's sure as hell better than what would have happened had I only squatted 95 pounds as you suggested. And it's a lot more than the 242 pounds I back squatted before all those cleans and front squats.

Mastering good clean form is hard. Learning safe clean form isn't.


do your squats. even if you need to substitute front squats or something, you need to do your squats. it it important to get and keep the range of motion / movement. even if the weights are relatively light most people could profit from working on their form. build yourself a tower of reebok steppers or something. get the guys who work at the gym to help lift the weight on your back 'till they get tired of it and purchase a squat rack.

if you can't load them past a certain point then i guess i'd do lunges and / or leg press after squats at the end of the workout. as assistance exercises. do your leg press as much like a squat as possible (try and maintain your lumbar arch and keep full range of motion).

beg, grovel, plead, and inform your gym as much as you possibly can about why they need a squat rack.

take membership at the next closest gym to your home.

purchase your own squat rack / bar / weights for the start of a kick ass home gym.


p.s. if you don't do your squats then eventually I (a 63kg girl) will surely be out squatting you. heh.


Do the Steinborn lift and squat like lifters did before they had nice power racks. You won't be able to squat as much as with a nice, safe power rack but you'll look and feel crazier and more manly.