T Nation

Squat Alternatives

So basically I’m not trying to get out of squating. My problem is ever since I was young I’ve had very tight achilles tendons. This has forced me to walk on my toes and then heels… rather than heels to toes. When I bend down for squats, my heels can not stay on the ground, throwing my body forward and unable to squat even the lightest amount of weight.

I can only squat successfully in the smith rack. My gym unfortunately doesn’t have a Hack Squat either. So my question is… what to do??? Do I continue to squat in the smith machine??? or do you have any ideas for me.

Thanks in advance…

[quote]Dont Want None wrote:
So basically I’m not trying to get out of squating. My problem is ever since I was young I’ve had very tight achilles tendons. This has forced me to walk on my toes and then heels… rather than heels to toes. When I bend down for squats, my heels can not stay on the ground, throwing my body forward and unable to squat even the lightest amount of weight.

I can only squat successfully in the smith rack. My gym unfortunately doesn’t have a Hack Squat either. So my question is… what to do??? Do I continue to squat in the smith machine??? or do you have any ideas for me.

Thanks in advance…[/quote]

Try putting 2.5 lb. weights under your heels when you squat. If that doesn’t work, try 5 lb., etc.

-james

never thought of that… thanks. Will give it a try next time I squat.

You need to foam roll (self-myofascial release) your tibialis and calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius) and probably your vastus medialis organ too. See search function. I promise that, with some stretching, it will solve your problems.

Have you spent some serious time working on your ankle mobility / flexibility?

Here is a Bill Hartman video with some exercises / tips:

I would also include bodyweight squats in your warmup, then progress to the bar, etc.

thanks for the help. I will definitely have to give that tennis ball work a try. It’s really frustrating watching other people do countless ab exercises and wasting time, while I’m attempting to Squat and it just doesn’t work.

Thanks a lot.

When you squat, where are the knees relative to the toes?

If you squat down to the ground holding onto a rack or chair in front of you, can you rock back onto your heels and maintain that at all?

The reason I ask these things is that I wonder if you might also have tight hips and/or hamstrings that are exacerbating the ankle issue.

I’ve been doing stretches and using the tennis ball trick today as well as last night. I can already tell a difference. I’m really close to being able to body squat without leaving my heels. I only squat once a week (yeah give me a hard time :p) so I’m hoping by next week I’ll be able to do a good clean squat.