T Nation

Squat Alternate?

I do my training at home with free weights. I don’t have a squat rack and haven’t really found a safe way to do conventional squats. Would a hack squat be a good alternate? Or a sumo deadlift. How about a workout with hack squats ad sumo deadlifts?

Personally, I love squats and I would say that there is ALWAYS a way to do squats. If you don’t have a rack, and therefore can’t go heavy, I would suggest figuring out what weight you can clean, and then either jerking it and lowering it to your back and doing high rep sets of back squats, or just doing high rep sets of front squats. Is it ideal? No. But you can make a lottt of strength and size gains doing sets of 15, 20, 30 reps with lighter weights, and I think that is a better move than writing squats off all together.

That being said, if you don’t squat I would just do tons of heavy pulls. Heavy deadlifts, but also heavy clean pulls and snatch pulls, because they will use the quads a little more than regular deadlifts. Also, deadlifts from a deficit will force you to get your knees more forward and help you develop your quads along with your butt and hips.

Still, where there is a will there is a way to do squats haha… I’d figure one out. Good luck, and keep at it.

[quote]sokomatsumura wrote:
I do my training at home with free weights. I don’t have a squat rack and haven’t really found a safe way to do conventional squats. Would a hack squat be a good alternate? Or a sumo deadlift. How about a workout with hack squats ad sumo deadlifts?[/quote]

I’m in the same boat as you right now. I’ve been doing snatch grip deadlifts from the floor and from a deficit. I find that they torch my more split squats even. But if deadlifting twice a week isn’t for you, then I would agree with going for high reps with lighter weight.
You could also do split squats with lighter weight, but these are tricky to balance with a barbell as opposed to dumbells. If you have dumbells you can add a lot of weight to I would go for it. If you don’t, one thing I’ve found is that EZ curl bars can be used as dumbells for purposes like this. The one I have has hand-width straight section right in the middle of all the curves so its really easy to hold straight and its been really useful for a lot of things (suitcase deadlifts, farmer walks, dumbell rows); you could get a couple of these and load them up to do split squats if that option seems preferable.
I’m assuming you bench press at home. You might be able to tweak your bench setup so you can rack the weight there at the right height to do Zercher squats too, but depending on how much you squat this might be horribly painful.
Personally I really like the snatch grip deadlift option though.

Become really good at cleans so you can front squat heavier. If you have the flexibility, you can zercher lift it off the ground and squat like that. You could try the clean to jerking it, set the bar on your back and do split squats.

You could dig a hole deep enough so that when you place a loaded barbell over it your legs are around parallel. That would be kind of like pin squats. You could even do a ROM progression like that. Start with a deep hole that has you doing partials and fill the hole in a little each week for more ROM.

Steinborn squat.

[quote]sokomatsumura wrote:
I do my training at home with free weights. I don’t have a squat rack and haven’t really found a safe way to do conventional squats. Would a hack squat be a good alternate? Or a sumo deadlift. How about a workout with hack squats ad sumo deadlifts?[/quote]

there really is no replacement for squats. Sure, there’s plenty of other things you can do to grow each muscle used in the squat,and one should do those things, but the squat is the kind of all exercises for a reason.

The safest way to do them is in a power rack obviously. You can find many reasonably priced squat racks out there. I’ve even seen some pretty sweet homemade squat racks / power racks made from 2x6’s and stuff that look pretty decent and would also be cost effective, if pricing is an issue. You could get an EFS econo rack for $700 and it would last you forever. I’ve had mine for about 8 years, tht works out to $7.50 a month for me so far. That’s a combo meal at micky D’s lol.

I am curious if you had to be doing power cleans and then a front squat because you don’t have a powerack, and as part of SS you have a day of squats and powercleans, could you not do a combination of powerclean and front squat? That would be one rep, technically your doing both exercises simultaneously. That also leads into the idea that the same day also calls for overhead presses. So could you not do a large combination of powerclean, front squat, and overhead press? I guess if you did them all as one it may not be a good enough workout right? But 5 sets of 5 of that would probably kick your ass. But would it be a good enough workout by itself

[quote]sokomatsumura wrote:
I am curious if you had to be doing power cleans and then a front squat because you don’t have a powerack, and as part of SS you have a day of squats and powercleans, could you not do a combination of powerclean and front squat? That would be one rep, technically your doing both exercises simultaneously. That also leads into the idea that the same day also calls for overhead presses. So could you not do a large combination of powerclean, front squat, and overhead press? I guess if you did them all as one it may not be a good enough workout right? But 5 sets of 5 of that would probably kick your ass. But would it be a good enough workout by itself[/quote]

you could do that, but your limiting factor would be the weight that you can clean obviously. Yes, it would be a tough session but it would be reminiscent of a Crossfit WOD then “powerlifting”.

I’d look into getting some squat stands if I were you. They will allow you to squat and you can use them to hold the bar for pressing too. The caveat to squat stands is that one day you will have to ditch the bar. I ditched and the weight chipped up my garage floor and then rolled off and banged up the air dam on my car. I was lucky that the mistake didn’t cost me more than a power rack. So I bought a power rack. :slight_smile:

Do yourself a favor. Get or start planning to get a power rack if you are serious about lifting. You’ll lift more weight in it because you don’t have to worry about getting pinned under weights. the bar won’t drop and mess up your stuff. I lifted for years without a rack. I always held back by doing weights I knew I could do. How is that awesome? IT’S NOT…

If lifting is important to you why not buy squat stands or a used rack?

Build it if you can’t afford it.

[quote]aeyogi wrote:
If lifting is important to you why not buy squat stands or a used rack?

Build it if you can’t afford it.

[/quote]

That or Home-depot your self some blocks to squat/press/clean/snatch from.

Hell, I have a set of squat stands that I’m dying to get rid of, they’ve been on Craigslist for a month with no bites. $50+shipping and they’re yours.

I also have a Body Solid multi press that’ll be for sale in a week or so.
http://www.bodysolid.com/Home/GPR370/Body-Solid_Multi-Press_Rack
I picked it up on Craigslist for $200 a while ago, and it’s safer and more sturdy than the majority of squat stands out there.

Put some cash away here n’ there and jump on a good deal when you see it. That’s the key to the used equipment game.

Could you send me a pic? How much do you think shipping will be? I live all the way on the West Coast.

i used 2 builders trellises at first but had no saftey pins but is a good place to start and finish

then i built one in my garage if u have space i highly recommend it as it is used for so much more than just squats…bench,squat,dip,chins/pulls,i have a lat tower in it etc

all built for 150euro including the paint :smiley: its real sturdy fixed to floor and ceiling.

the diagrams are online if ur interested in making one.

[quote]sokomatsumura wrote:
Could you send me a pic? How much do you think shipping will be? I live all the way on the West Coast. [/quote]
This is my ad on craigslist:
http://longisland.craigslist.org/spo/3660159291.html
The squat stands are in there.

I also have a Body Solid Multi Press (http://www.bodysolid.com/Home/GPR370/Body-Solid_Multi-Press_Rack) that I’m looking to get rid of (haven’t posted it for sale yet).

I calculated for zip code 94102 (San Francisco, I just picked a random CA zip code) and it looks like shipping would be somewhere in the $50-100 range for UPS Ground. Apparently USPS won’t ship anything that large. If you wanna do your own calculations, I figure it’d be a 35lb box for the squat stands, 150lb for the multi press. I’m in zip code 11566.

So $100-$150 for the squat stands, and if you wanted the multi-press rack (which is a far better choice) it would be more. I’m looking for $200 for the multi press so probably $300ish when all is said and done with shipping. Although at 150lbs, shipping is going to be outrageously expensive. We might have to use freight, but I work for a distribution company with a warehouse in San Fernando so I mihg tbe able to save a bit on freight by having it shipped there. Not sure.
I’m actually planning on selling it for closer to $300 locally but I’ll drop the price a bit to compensate for shipping. The Multi Press would be tough to ship but if it’ll help you out, I’m game. Gotta help a fellow T-Nation’er.

BTW my avatar is me squatting a measley 295lb out of the multi press. I’ve failed 395 to the safeties and they held up pretty well. If you don’t have the skill to fabricate a rack and can’t find one for sale locally, this would be a good option (but not necessarily a cheap one).

If you can spare the cash get a trap bar.

You can do them from deficits or use a high deficit and do the first rep from the floor and the following reps no touch. It’ll build the muscles involved in the squat but you will still need train squat to be strong at the lift, trust me.

Also it’ll work for medium to narrow stance squatters but not for wide stance squatters.