Would step ups be better than back/front squats for somebody with long legs trying to work his quads?
To be blunt…no.
The best way to hit the entire leg is to perform heavy back and front squats. I have long legs as well and the best thing I ever did was suck it up and get serious about squatting. Improving form and technique will go a long way to making the lift easier, as will gaining some weight.
Squatting may always be harder for you than pulling, but the benefits you’ll receive will be second to none.
Mike, very well stated!
According to Charles Staley, yes it would be. According to him, those with long legs respond better to step ups, lunges, extensions, etc.
Mikerob022: What do you suggest to us long-legged lifters who have been trying to suck it up and improve our squatting form and technique for a while now?
I’ve tried quite a few variations of the squat during my quest to get serious about squatting this year, and I haven’t made much improvement.
Thunder: Has Staley contributed an article on this subject? The only article I have found that addresses the subject of long-limbed lifters is “Body Type and Training Strategy.” He doesn’t talk specifically about squatting in this article.
Taranenko dropped squats in favor of high step ups…food for thought.
I’d still work on the squat for though.
MD - Where do you miss your squats at? Or, what problems are you currently having? If you would like more help, feel free to PM me.
I am aware of Staley’s recommendations, but I personally don’t agree with that statement. True, you can get great unilateral development from lunges, step-ups, etc., but the total body effect you get from squats, IMO, are second to none. Think about it like this: If squatting is the most difficult lift for you, wouldn’t you want to correct that issue? It would make sense that if you pushed up your squat (e.g. your weakest lift), your other lifts would go up as well. I have seen this time and time again with athletes I’ve worked with.
Finally, I think for some reason we are taught that if something is hard or difficult, we should find ways around it or avoid it versus confronting it head on. We all know of the benefits of squatting, but sometimes I think people expect it to come too easily. Great squatters in powerlifting have been at it for 20+ years and they will tell you that they can still improve on their form and technique. Most great coaches will tell you that technique is a dynamic process, and something that is always changing dependent upon body leverages, strength levels, etc. Not only do you need to improve strength levels to squat more, but you must improve your form and technique as well. My first PL coach once told me that the best thing to do was to keeping getting under the bar, and eventually things would improve. He was right.
It may not be as hard as the Olympic lifts to master, but why not invest some time in your squat and make your weakness a strength? Hopefully, it’s something that you will be using throughout your training life, so it’s well worth the effort. The choice is yours, but in the long-term heavy squats will build the legs like no other.
No he made this comment on the forum. The thread was one I started called, if I remember correctly - POLL: FULL SQUATTING.
Search for that.
Well, as a long legged squatter as well, I also can’t say that I agree 100% with Staley’s comments, as I am pretty much a full squatter. I don’t typically do much else.
But in general though, it probably holds true. There are always exceptions.
Someone recommended step ups to me because I was having problems holding the weight on my back and if I decreased the load my reps would shot way up. Is my instability a form issue? Or are my other body parts weaker than my legs???
Sully - Read this link regarding Taranenko; he specifically states that the squat is the best strength exercise. This may be at a different time in his training than what you were refering to, but when he dropped the squats he had probably developed more than enough strength for Olympic lifting.
Keep in mind that a lot of Olympic lifters will at some point reduce or cut-off increases in their back squat poundages, simply because they don’t need any more strength. At the USAW coaching certification course I attended, the coaches stated that Shane Hamman wasn’t going to back squat over 300 kilos (660 pounds) in training anymore because he simply didn’t need so much excess strength in the back squat. The front squat, for Olympic lifters, is a more functional (I hate that word) lift because it directly translates to the catching of the clean. There are also several articles on that same web page that discuss the role of the back squat in training Olympic lifters, so be sure to check that out if you are interested.
Talky, talky, so much talky…
Why don’t you just TRY DOING step-ups for three or four weeks in place of your squats and find out for yourself?
Thank you, Thunder. I will check out the thread.
Why not use…BOTH!!!
Here’s a great routine Charles Poliquin designed for long-legged ectomorphs:
Step-Ups: 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Split Squats: 3 sets x 15-20 reps