T Nation

Training Legs Without Squats


#1

So I had a serious back injury while squatting earlier this year. I'm still not 100%. It tweaks every time I try to squat. What would you recommend for leg day if I can't squat?


#2

the most lower back friendly leg exercises that I’ve found are:

-Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats
-GHR
-Hip Thrusts

Hopefully that’ll give you some ideas


#3

Much appreciated!


#4

[quote]Caper_polack wrote:
So I had a serious back injury while squatting earlier this year. I’m still not 100%. It tweaks every time I try to squat. What would you recommend for leg day if I can’t squat?[/quote]

Leg press! Love me some leg presses


#5

Drag a sled. Zero eccentric/spinal loading, and it will nuke your quads, especially if you drag it backwards.

Also, this really hammers my legs


#6

Sled/Prowler and single leg work. Leg presses can aggravate bad backs in some cases so that one does not get my vote.


#7

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Drag a sled. Zero eccentric/spinal loading, and it will nuke your quads, especially if you drag it backwards.

Also, this really hammers my legs

I’ve been intending to steal this ever since I read about it on your log ages ago. I’m not sure if my christmas present to myself will be a second bar so I can do the car deadlift simulator or a sled.


#8

I have moved away from conventional squatting and loading my spine. Anything pressing related where you don’t have to load your spine or are supported in the lower back would benefit you.

And don’t worry, you can still have fucking impressive legs without the conventional squat.


#9

Look up articles from Ben Bruno. He’s an author on this site, and most of his leg work is back friendly.

Bulgarian split squats work well for me. They take a while to get the balance issues worked out, but they are pretty killer on your legs.


#10

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Drag a sled. Zero eccentric/spinal loading, and it will nuke your quads, especially if you drag it backwards.

Also, this really hammers my legs

[/quote]

I’ve been intending to steal this ever since I read about it on your log ages ago. I’m not sure if my christmas present to myself will be a second bar so I can do the car deadlift simulator or a sled.[/quote]

Nice thing about both of those choices is that they can be DIY’d pretty easily, so you can probably get them both with the right budget. If I wanted to build a super hardcore car deadlift simulator, I’d get some 1.5" ID pipe, cut it to about 8’ and make some collars with gorilla tape on one end. The other end just gets shoved in a corner with a dumbbell/weight over it anyway.

Nice thing about starting out with pipe is that you can build the proper handles onto it using a reducer. It’ll just screw right on.

Not too sure how much weight the pipes can handle without bending though.


#11

Zerchers!


#12

Belt squats and single leg squats put no load on your back.

You can also, do front or hack squats which significantly reduce spinal loading.


#13

Just my $.02: I had a period where I couldn’t squat heavily for reasons not worth going into, but I found that doing a “leg day” benefited from using squats as something of a “dynamic warmup,” even if I wasn’t “squatting heavy” as is typical. I just found that my overall body coordination, muscle activation, MCM in other exercises, etc all benefited just from engaging all the muscles used in the squat by doing the motion, even if it was only with ~225lbs.


#14

goblet squats load em up. weighted vest + heavy db