T Nation

Squat Comparison

Hi, after a few posts on here I have now started doing the routine from the starting strength book. I’ve never really liked doing regular barbell squats and instead done hip belt squats. I’ve read articles which state that doing regular squats cause overall growth due to the downward pressure of the weight. I have also read articles that say doing any sort of squat will cause growth.

I am soon to be joining a gym which has a leverage sqaut machine.
Is it ok to use any of the three options.
Cheers.

Barbell squats are great.

Belt squats are usefull, Louie Simmons recomends them for de-loading the spine and other conditions that prohibit bar squatting, but they do not replace bar squats.

Machine squats are poop.

Is there a reason why leverage squats are crap. The only reason I can think of is that the stabalizer muscles don’t really come into play.The squat path is not much different to barbell squats.
I would not ask questions about machines normally, but my mate has made great gains from the leverage squat.

Learn to love squatting brother.

Make your alpha goal over the next year to become a squat technician. You have no idea how well this will serve you.

And I don’t own Rippetoe’s book, but based on who has praised it, and what I know about the programming, you would be very well advised to just do exactly what the book tells you to do.

Bottom line: If you build a big squat (‘olympic’ style, butt-to-ankles), you will build a big, strong body.

Hi Ramo, I have’nt got the book either, I was told the routine from a member of this forum. I have a good idea of squating technique, but for some reason can’t get into the groove of it. I would never contemplate doing any other inferior ex for the legs (leg ext or lunges). The only reason I ask is because i’ve read positive things about them. I realise that a lot of people look for other easy ex rather than squat. I’m concerned as i’ve snapped my ACL in my right knee and I feel slightly unstable when squating using a barbell. If I thought I could use any of the other 2 types and still make good gains then that is the way I would go.

[quote]gav223 wrote:
I’m concerned as i’ve snapped my ACL in my right knee and I feel slightly unstable when squating using a barbell. [/quote]

I would really try putting info like this in your first post. If you simply ask a question without giving all the info, people will answer the question assuming that you’re in full health. This could be completely wrong advice for someone recovering from an injury like that.

Stay tight and spread the floor with your feet on the way down. Slowly down, fast up with your head up and back straight at all times. Lunges aren’t inferior btw. Squats just happen to be the King.

Sorry guys for not mentioning the injury sooner. I assumed that someone would explain the differences between the 3 types of squat. I would have then decided which one to go with.
If barbell squats were 100 % effective and the other 2 were 70% effective, I would have chose one of the others.

I would prefer to train safely with an ex that is 30% less effective over the long term, rather than going with barbell squats just because it’s the thing to do. I know it may take longer for similar results, but I think it’s worth it.
Thanks.

It looks like you’ve already made up your mind with which exercise to do, the machine. You could see that with your second and subsuquent posts.

So did you post to see if anyone could change your mind, or to argue your position to reinforce your decision?

Yeah, lunges are more like prince john…

with step-ups as robin hood

Arms afire, I had not made up my mind about anything. I was looking for some information on the 3 ex I stated. Just because squats are probably the hardest ex to do and the attitude seems to be, if you don’t squat your a pussy, i’m not going to just go ahead and do them. I’m not training for any sort of comp so why should I risk doing them just because in the bodybuilding and strength world it is the thing to do.

Yes I do wnat to make gains, but i’m sure I could still make them by using either of the other 2. I was really looking for some sort of technical answer to describe the pros and cons between the 3. After looking at the info I would have then made my mind up on wether or not they were worth doing.
Thanks.

as far as a technical comparison goes, the traditional barbell squat is the best. The hip belt squat is a good exercise, but moving the weight down to your hips takes a lot of the core work out of it. When you squat heavy with the bar on your back, you’ve really got to tighten up your core and lats to keep stable. The belt takes all this added stress off. I’m not sure what you mean by a “leverage squat machine” so I won’t address it, but basically, the barbell back squat will stress every muscle from neck to toe, hip belt squat is probably more like hips or low back to toe.

Hope that helps.

Cheers m0dd3r, that was similar to what I have read. I have read that due to the weight pushing down on your shoulders this creates you to grow all over. And like you said hip belt squats only have that pushing force from the middle of your body down.

The leverage machine would have similar forces to the barbell squat, but I would imagine no stabalizer muscles would be recruited due to it stabalizing itself.
So you know it is fixed at one end with a pin and you load the weights to the side of you.
Thanks.

You blew out your ACL…I’m assuming you had it repaired, and followed through with your rehab?

And now you are trying to choose between what is considered the King of exercises, one that probably uses half the muscles in your body, or a machine that takes out most if not all of your stabilizing muscles. Hmmm…

Learn to squat, it will save you from injury down the road. If you just rely on a machine, you will have strong quads glutes and hams, and everything else will be weak. The machine squat is fine for rehab or people who are too weak to perform a full squat, but even in rehab, the goal would be to get people to do a full squat.

ok, I think I know what you mean by leverage squat machine now. We’ve got one for deads/shrugs in my gym. I’d still say go with the traditional barbell squat. Modi makes a good point. Assuming you’ve healed and done your rehab you really want to strengthen that joint and provide as much stability as possible. There’s really nothing better than the squat in that regard. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you start out going full bore doing heavy singles or triples, but definitely work the barbell squat. If your main gripe is the comfort of the bar, try front squats or overhead squats. Can’t use as much weight, but they’re both great variations.

Cheers,
Jay

I snapped my ACL about 5 years ago and as of yet have not had surgery. I read up about the injury and spoke to a few people and was told that surgery should be the last resort. I’ve continued training over these years to try and strenthen the joint and although it seems to be more stable, it still is not fine.

I would partially dislocate my knee on a regular basis, but now I stay away fom things that could make this happen. While i’m doing thinks that have my full concentration I tend to be fine, it’s when i’m not concentrating that it happens (stepping down off something in an awkward position).

I now realise that the injury is that bad, so I will need surgery.
I will listen to you comments and continue with the barbell squat.
Thanks for all the replies.

[quote]gav223 wrote:
I snapped my ACL about 5 years ago and as of yet have not had surgery. I read up about the injury and spoke to a few people and was told that surgery should be the last resort. I’ve continued training over these years to try and strenthen the joint and although it seems to be more stable, it still is not fine.

I would partially dislocate my knee on a regular basis, but now I stay away fom things that could make this happen. While i’m doing thinks that have my full concentration I tend to be fine, it’s when i’m not concentrating that it happens (stepping down off something in an awkward position).

I now realise that the injury is that bad, so I will need surgery.
I will listen to you comments and continue with the barbell squat.
Thanks for all the replies.[/quote]

You definately need to get this repaired if you plan on doing anything athletic. The ACL prevents your tibia from sliding forward on the femur. If your knee joint is unstable, you can dislocate your knee (as you know).

In addition, everytime your tibia slides forward on your femur, you increase the likelyhood of tearing your meniscus as well as developing arthritis. Whoever gave you the advice that surgery was the last option was dead wrong. A full tear of the ACL needs to be repaired.